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Should a Child Exit Kindergarten Reading?

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Common Core Answer: YES! Otherwise he or she is a failure and needs “intervention.”

Common Sense Answer: Maybe. It depends on the child and his or her readiness for reading.

jumping-girl-mdTo most teachers, the common sense answer seems like a no-brainer. The creators and enthusiasts of Common Core State Standards are either ignorant of the concept of “readiness” or have chosen to ignore it.

As a reading specialist with thirty-four years of teaching with a focus on literacy, I will gladly proclaim what most teachers know. There is such a thing as readiness for various academic, physical, and social skills. Readiness for those apparently disparate skills are often tied together. You can teach children who are not ready for a certain activity how to do it, but until they are actually ready to learn it they will not master the skill. Mastery means being able to apply it in new situations and store it in long term memory. Additionally the learning process for that skill is much harder than it needs to be. Depending on the teacher and the process, it may result in negative views on learning that skill and subject, on school in general, and even on his or her own self-worth.

Reading instruction is very important in Kindergarten and the other Early Childhood grades (1-3), but it should not look like or feel like reading instruction in the upper elementary grades (4-6). Literacy activities should be so much fun that children are begging for reading time. Students should be immersed in stories, rhythm, and rhyme. They should read chorally and use predictable texts. They should have read alouds and silent reading, time to devour books in groups, in pairs, and by themselves. They should express their ideas in art, drama, music, movement, and writing. Students should learn thematically so that science and social studies are an integral part of the day with exciting projects. Reading should be taught all day in whatever students are engaged in. It should be as natural as breathing.

Surrounding students with these opportunities is giving them the gift of reading. They will learn how to read when they are ready and they will love to read.

The following posts are recommended reading for those who are looking for the best in education. Decide for yourself which is right for your classroom or your child. According to one grandparent speaking of her previously happy grandchild when subjected to the Common Core: “On the fifth day of kindergarten he refused to go to school, locked himself in his bedroom, and hid under his bed!” Perhaps you would rather be the parent who said to me: “Thank you so much for being our child’s teacher. Because of you, she loves to read.” Believe me, that did not happen under Common Core State Standards.

Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose

Report: Requiring kindergartners to read — as Common Core does — may harm some


1 Comment

  1. This makes me so sad. The love for learning is being ripped away from our children. The current system is frustrating both children and teachers….too much testing. The materials are not age appropriate and are causing children to shut down.


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