Reading Prior to Kindergarten - Yes/No?

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by heathernd, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. heathernd

    heathernd Well-Known Member

    I am sorry if I am asking a question that has been addressed in the past. I am visiting from the 1-5 board.

    I seem to be reading more and more about kids reading prior to entering kindergarten. When I was in school you learned the alphabet in kindergarten and learned to read in 1st grade. Surely the expectation can't be that children start school already knowing how to read, or am I mistaken? How do teachers juggle between those that can read versus those who can't without the readers getting bored and the non-readers getting lost?

    Right now my boys are in K-4 where they learn (if they don't already know) the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, etc. but there is no emphasis on learning to read. Does this mean they will be at a disadvantage when they do enter kindergarten? Since my kids will be among the oldest in their classes (October b-day), holding them back isn't an option (they would be 19 as hs seniors if we did that). Should I have them tutored this summer to "catch up" before their kindergarten year begins?
  2. Mama_Kim

    Mama_Kim Well-Known Member

    Hi Heather! You're always welcome here. [​IMG]

    Well, my boys are a few years post-kindergarten, lol, but answering from my own experience, no there is not an expectation that children be able to read by the time they enter kindergarten. My own boys varied quite a bit here actually. Sean started reading right after he turned 4, mostly self-taught. We read every day together and he knew his letters and their sounds, but I never actively "taught" him to read. He taught himself. Brian and Craig were not really reading yet when they entered kindergarten (they knew their alphabet and some words), but quickly learned that year. By spring of their kindergarten year, they were reading quite well. The curriculum at their school is such that kindergartners learn their alphabet, colors, shapes, numbers, etc. and if they are more advanced already, they read easy readers, etc. 1st grade is where the major emphasis in reading is placed. So, no I do not think your children are at a disadvantage if they are not reading by the time they enter kindergarten. Of course, things may have changed. My boys are now in 6th grade.

    Perhaps someone else with more "current" information can help out here.
  3. JenJefLog

    JenJefLog Well-Known Member

    My kids weren't really reading before kindergarten and I found that the children that could read were more the exception than the norm. We even had a boy in the girls' class that had a birthday ON the cutoff date and that had never been to preschool--now that was a disadvantage. My friend's daughter could read very well before kindergarten and she was pretty bored as far as classwork when it came to reading, but she needed the socialization so it was still better for her to be there. I don't think you should push them to learn to read before kindergarten. If they're already exposed to books and are learning their letters and letter sounds, they should be fine.
  4. Lisadgogo

    Lisadgogo Well-Known Member

    My 5 year olds started to read this summer. They too were mostly self taught. We read to them each day and they seem to be quick learners.

    I do not see reading prior to school as a "must". The expectations of what they should have prior to K in my district are simliar to those listed is the previous posts.

    I would not think of tutoring your children to get them to that point. Your children will learn to read at their own pace in the classroom along with many others. I agree with you in the fact that the kids seem to be learning to read at an earlier age.. I remember 1st grade being the reading year...
  5. momotwinsmom

    momotwinsmom Well-Known Member

    Down here, they emphasize learning to read IN kindergarten, but my two already knew how to before entering. As was mentioned above, mine were slef taught as we read often. I reallt had no idea Morgan knew how to read, when she opened a book one day and read it to me. I was floored. I remember it was this past February, and Brooke was soon to follow. Every child is different, and learn at different ages. In school, the girls bring home 'sight words' every week that they need to learn. Of course, the words are pretty much a joke to them as they are the basic (he, she it they...), so homework is super fast so far for us.
  6. JohnnieKay

    JohnnieKay Active Member

    The girls had strong phonics skills prior to starting Kinder this year. They could figure out 2-3 letter words like cat etc. They have amazed me at how much they have progressed in just a couple of months of school. They are reading at a very nice flow. I don't think thats the norm. I think only 3-5 kids in each class are at that level. Some can't even recognize all their letters. What a challenge for the teachers eh?
  7. mommyto3girls

    mommyto3girls Well-Known Member

    My oldest is in 1st grade. Most of the kids are learning to read now her included. There are only 1 or 2 in her class that can read. In K there were 2 kids that could read. There was no emphasis on reading in K.
  8. jxnsmama

    jxnsmama Well-Known Member

    All three of my boys started reading on their own at age 4, mostly recognizing words but also doing some sounding out. We didn't work at it -- they just picked it up. None of their preschools taught reading, just letter recognition and phonics.

    In my oldest son's kindergarten class, they did some reading and had a list of sight words to know by the end of the year.
  9. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    My boys will start K next fall, and Jon is already a fluent reader. Marc is picking out words, and starting to sound them out. That said, my friends' son who is in K right now is only 1 of 2 children in the class of 18 that can read.
  10. heathernd

    heathernd Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies everyone. I have started working with the boys on sight words 3 days a week since I posted this thread. I am not trying to push them by any means, but I also don't want to look back when they are older and say "I should have done......".
  11. momotwinsmom

    momotwinsmom Well-Known Member

    That said, my friends' son who is in K right now is only 1 of 2 children in the class of 18 that can read.

    That being said, I think M&B might be the only ones in their classes who read. It definitely is not the norm to read prior to K. I know my DH was reading at 4, so that is probably where M&B got that from.
  12. mandmtwinmommy

    mandmtwinmommy Well-Known Member

    I was in the early education field for ten years before deciding to stay at home with our twins.

    I always told parents that there are a lot of ways to prepare their children for kindergarten and reading, but that deliberatly working on reading was not reccomended.

    Laying the ground work through play is the most important part of reading and only that can be done before school. Take the time to enjoy life with them before they have the pressures of school.
  13. momofangels

    momofangels Well-Known Member

    Learning to read is only one of the things kids get from Kindergarten. My sons could read, and wrote little comic books (they hope to be cartoonists, and one wants to be a director) before they started school, but they both needed the socialization skills. We held them back, since we felt that they weren't mature enough at 5 to be anything but a "problem" in school -- that both they and the teacher would have a bad year. We had a lot of pressure from grandparents to send them to kindergarten when they were 5, regardless of their emotional maturity b/c they could read and would "be bored". Fortunately, our decision was final (as the parents) and I feel we made a good one.
    I really think they enjoyed kindergarten, and they might not have if they had gone a year earlier. I asked that they be in sep. classes. They both made friends, adjusted to the routine, etc. very smoothly. All this happened without any fuss; when if I had to guess, I would've guessed that they'd have a hard time b/c that was the first year they were seperated.
    When the love of reading starts is such a subjective thing- so much depends on the child. My other son could do all the phonics and letters, but sitting and reading didn't attract him at all until the end of 1st grade. My other sons -- 18 months younger -- love to read now, not even halfway through the 1st grade. You can't teach that love; only encourage it. (Sometimes it takes a lot of encouragement!)
    The teachers will tell you, and the kids' attitude towards school will also tell you if they're in need of tutoring. But no, every kindergartener seemed to be at a slightly diff. reading level last year! And the teachers could handle that -- it seems very challenging to me.
  14. heathernd

    heathernd Well-Known Member

    I just want to say thank you for all of the replies. You have definitely put my mind at ease about the whole reading issue.
  15. Armleylass

    Armleylass New Member

    We have 10 year old triplets who fell in love with my computer when they were very young. Figuring it couldn't do any harm, I got them some cute little alphabet programs with bright pictures, and they adored them. It should have ended there, but they were all in love with the alphabet, and at about age 3 they were singing the alphabet song, and pointing to the letters as they sang. The 3 of them at age 3, going on 4, started playing a game together by saying words that started with the same sound (bat, ball, balloon, cat, cake, car, etc), and they would fall about laughing! Then at age 4 they started playing "Go Fish" with cards containing pictures and the accompanying words. By about 4 1/2, they were reading little stories to each other, and really liked to do that, though I read bedtime stories to them every night. Their birthday fell after the Dec 15 cut off, so by the time they started school they were reading well and already knew their numbers and how to add and subtract. The school tested them when they started school at 5 years and 8 months, and they were reading, spelling, and doing math at a late 3rd grade level, but needed to get the hang of school, and needed socializing with other kids. The school, a charter school, started them in second grade, and they really, totally loved it. They didn't mind being younger since they have always been very tall for their age, and were not the smallest in class by a long way, and they loved the art lessons, PE, and science, but found the math and reading easy. I explained that there was nothing wrong with easy, and they relaxed and simply had a great time, and stayed a couple of grades ahead all the way through to grade 6, when we all moved to the Republic of China. Their Chinese language wasn't good enough for middle school, so they went into grade 4 with kids their own age at the local Chinese speaking elementary school, and they didn't mind moving back a couple of grades, and again, they love school. I don't think kids have to start reading before school, but it's fine if they do. In retrospect, I don't think I could have stopped them, and they all still love to read, and devour books, though they are not really studious kids, and are very fond of sports, and very competitive at that. They love to go hiking in the mountains near here, and love to run track too!
  16. Katherine M.

    Katherine M. Well-Known Member

    None of my kids learned to read before kindergarden nevermind during it. Jill is learning how to read now, she knows the sounds of the letters and how to sound out words, but she is nowhere near really reading. Jacqui, Shannon, Michelle, and Renee didn't learn until 1st grade.
  17. twinbears

    twinbears Well-Known Member

    My sons kinderagretn teacher recomended sight word flash cards. You said you were working on sight words I bought mine at Barnes and Nobles and there is a whole buch of words.
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