Is Your Kindergartner Struggling…

…With Reading?

Many parents find that their five or even six-year-old child experiences difficulty in learning to read.  After exhausting multiple educational approaches and curricula without success, they may worry they aren’t capable of homeschooling effectively, or wonder why their child isn’t progressing “normally.” What’s a parent to do? 

Parent and child may not be the problem—the expectation that children should learn to read proficiently by age six is.

As recently as the 1980’s, reading was not regularly taught in WV kindergartens.  Kindergarten was an entry-level program, a mere half day of school, that served to transition students into the classroom and help them to love being at school.  Several veteran kindergarten teachers share that their goal was for their students to love learning and feel successful in their progress.  Although early concepts were introduced, basic reading skills weren’t taught, or expected, until first grade.  Further, proficient reading wasn’t expected until second grade.

A piano teacher with over 40 years of experience reports that while only a handful of students are visually ready to distinguish written symbols before age 7, nearly all children benefit from waiting until that process is no longer tedious.  While a younger child may be able to progress before age 7, it’s only after age 7 that their progress becomes faster and much more enjoyable.  

As reported in this article, the left brain, whose functions include language, numeracy and literacy, doesn’t fully come online until seven years of age.  While society is left-brain dominant, children at young ages are not.

Experts agree that pushing children to read early often causes long-lasting feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, and confusion.  Merely waiting until they are more ready can provide them with confidence for a lifetime!  

So why do we push our children when they are only four or five?  We have bought into the lie that if our children aren’t good readers by age 6, they are somehow deficient.  This just isn’t true.  

In addition, we have devalued the many things that children usually learn at ages four, five and six. Many foundational experiences that we lump under the label “play” are actually essential learning opportunities.  We educationally deprive our children when we reduce their creative play time and instead sit them in front of screens or at desks, thinking that we’re helping them by providing computer games and early academics.

Early academics can and are beneficial—if we define ‘academics’ very differently.  What if, instead of early reading expectations, we focused on developmentally appropriate, and equally essential, academics instead?  For a list of possibilities, click here.

Assessment Considerations

Assessment Considerations

Hmm...portfolio review or standardized testing? While a homeschool assessment must be done EVERY YEAR for students of compulsory age, which assessment option is best?  The portfolio review option was hard-won back in 1994 to help special needs students and others for...

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