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Do most kids start kindergarten knowing how to read now?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I'm so confused. I don't know a lot of other kids DD's age, so I have a hard time knowing what's middle of the road.

When DD was starting preschool (3yo -- just barely, she just made the cutoff date), on several occasions I mentioned to her teachers she could read. They totally brushed me off, making it very clear that their emphasis was on social skills and not academics. I thought it was strange that they weren't interested at all, but figured it wasn't a big deal -- I had her in preschool for socialization anyway.

When she started 4yo preschool, I didn't say a word about her reading skills. About a month into school, her teachers cornered me, laughing that I'd been "holding out on them" -- they'd discovered that she could read, and wanted to know why I hadn't told them. They've told me several times to make sure I point this out to her future kindergarten teacher.

I went to the pre-registration night for kindergarten last week... I met the teachers, and I spoke with the head of the PTO, as well as some parents of previous kindergarten students. And every time I mentioned my daughter's reading, I was met with "oh, my kids were reading when they started kindergarten" as if I was making an obvious statement. Like I was bringing up the fact that my daughter was potty trained or something.

It's not like I was trying to brag, I was trying to frame questions within a specific context [e.g. "are there any gifted programs at this school? I'm not sure if my daughter is gifted or not, but she is already reading."] but maybe that's how it came off, and people wanted to just say oh yeah lady my kid too? Or maybe every kid really can read by kindergarten now?

I know I was the only child reading in my kindergarten class, but perhaps things have changed. Or, could it be that people consider "reading" to be sounding out cat and rat? Because I'm talking chapter books.
post #2 of 27
I think there is a difference in what is considered reading to different people.

I wondered with almost all kids going to preschool and working on alot of pre-reading skills if most kids had a firm grasp on reading concepts going in. And since my son doesn't seem that extraordinary to me I assumed that other kids could read prior to kindergarten. When I went to his kindergarten evaluation I though they would test the kids reading ability. All they checked was how high the kids could count, what letters they recognized, and if they could write their own names or not. I pointed out to the evaluator that my son could read an she wrote a note in his file.

After his first week of school his teacher called all the parents to let them know how their kids first week went. I mentioned him reading to her then. She said that they don't even normally evaluate reading until after the first quarter but that she intended to evaluate our son and two others who's parents said they were already reading early.

So, No most kids are not reading prior to kindergarten. In my son's class of 22 only 3 were reading. Of those three only one (my son) was reading fluently. I know that my son's teacher had significant challenges in providing him with challenging reading materials due to this fact (can't even get his reading level evaluated and have been figuring it out through trial and error. Hard time getting him enrolled in the advanced reader program as kindergartners don't normally participate at his school, ect.).

But I think that some parents consider recognition of a few site words or memorization of favorite books reading. And while I do also consider that reading. There is a world of difference between that and reading fluently.
post #3 of 27
I don't think it's typical.

In my son's KG class, 2 out 25 were reading when KG started.

Some things that helped us...

Rather than just sharing that your child can read, it might help if you share "she has been reading since she was 3."

Bring in some of the chapter books she's was reading, just to help make it clear you aren't talking about sounding out words in phonic readers.

Also, if there's more than one section of KG, request that they cluster her with other kids who've been reading for awhile, so differentiating isn't as difficult for her teacher as it would be if your child is the only one at her ability level.

We still hear "they all catch up by third grade" pretty regularly. So NOT true. Grrrrr.... And even if it was, kids like ours shouldn't be spinning their heels for the next 4 years waiting for third grade to work it's supposed "magic."

Good luck!
post #4 of 27
I am a kindergarten teacher and no, it is not typical.

I had one student last year who was a fluent reader at the beginning of K and had been since the age of 3. Interestingly enough, his parents didn't mention this fact at our first interview. I was the one who brought it up and they seemed genuinely surprised to learn that their son was the only reader in my class of 18 students.
post #5 of 27
It might also be helpful to be able to say what her current reading level is. I recently discovered that there are a number of online tests. I'm not sure how accurate they are, but they _might_ give you an idea of where your daughter is compared to where kids are expected to be at each grade level.

If anyone knows, I'd be interested to hear whether the online tests are at all accurate. I'm a bit shocked about my DD's results.
post #6 of 27
I don't think so. Two of my three kids who have been or are in K started K not knowing how to read (both of whom have 2E issues). The one who did start K knowing how to read now is supposedly "at the top of the class" re: language, according to his report card (he's still in K).

Indeed, one of the ones who started K not knowing how to read basically finished K not knowing how to read. In spite of this, her teacher always said she was doing fine/average/nothing to worry about (this was the regular public school K at a well respected school). That is what led us to private testing, therapies and changing schools. The other one who started K not knowing how to read is now reading about grade level, according to the teacher (e.g. he can read your basic Go Dog Go type of book, though it's hard to say, he seems to improve dramatically every single day ; he's also still in K. All three are now in a montessori public charter, which goes by the district's reading levels).

See this thread that raises basically the same question
http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1038215
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by no5no5 View Post
It might also be helpful to be able to say what her current reading level is. I recently discovered that there are a number of online tests. I'm not sure how accurate they are, but they _might_ give you an idea of where your daughter is compared to where kids are expected to be at each grade level.

If anyone knows, I'd be interested to hear whether the online tests are at all accurate. I'm a bit shocked about my DD's results.
I would also be interested in some good online tests to determine reading level. This has been a constant challenge this year with my 5yo kindergartner. The only way they have been determining my son's reading level is basically by giving him a book. If he does fine with it he's given a harder book. He was supposed to get an evaluation so he could start the Advanced Reader program but as there is a waiting list for the test and as he is in kindergarten and therefore not part of a grade that normally participates in the program he has not received the test. Additionally the school is planning to switch to a different software program for the evaluation next year and so don't want to pour any more resources into getting students off of the current waiting list. So the librarian and his teacher started him in the AR program and just started him reading mid second grade level and advanced him as he seems to do well on the comprehension quizzes. He's just now doing late third grade / early fourth grade reading. His teacher admitted at the last parent teacher conference that she doesn't think we have yet reached his true reading level. But at least now he is being challenged slightly more in his reading (now I just need to stop him from being intimidated by the increasing numbers on the spine of the book)
post #8 of 27
It's not typical, but if you live in an affluent neighborhood, you'll likely see more kids reading when they start kindergarten (either because they're bright, or because they were in an academic preschool, or because their parents held them back a year).

I agree that there are different definitions of reading, ranging from "can identify their name and a handful of words" to "can fluently read and comprehend a book", so who knows what the people you met were actually describing.

I would probably tell the teacher what books she's reading independently-- that will let them know what level she's at without their having to wonder about how you assessed her reading.

ZM
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post
I would also be interested in some good online tests to determine reading level. This has been a constant challenge this year with my 5yo kindergartner. The only way they have been determining my son's reading level is basically by giving him a book. If he does fine with it he's given a harder book. He was supposed to get an evaluation so he could start the Advanced Reader program but as there is a waiting list for the test and as he is in kindergarten and therefore not part of a grade that normally participates in the program he has not received the test. Additionally the school is planning to switch to a different software program for the evaluation next year and so don't want to pour any more resources into getting students off of the current waiting list. So the librarian and his teacher started him in the AR program and just started him reading mid second grade level and advanced him as he seems to do well on the comprehension quizzes. He's just now doing late third grade / early fourth grade reading. His teacher admitted at the last parent teacher conference that she doesn't think we have yet reached his true reading level. But at least now he is being challenged slightly more in his reading (now I just need to stop him from being intimidated by the increasing numbers on the spine of the book)
Here's a link to a couple assessment tools:
http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/articles/060899.htm
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post
I would also be interested in some good online tests to determine reading level. This has been a constant challenge this year with my 5yo kindergartner. The only way they have been determining my son's reading level is basically by giving him a book. If he does fine with it he's given a harder book. He was supposed to get an evaluation so he could start the Advanced Reader program but as there is a waiting list for the test and as he is in kindergarten and therefore not part of a grade that normally participates in the program he has not received the test. Additionally the school is planning to switch to a different software program for the evaluation next year and so don't want to pour any more resources into getting students off of the current waiting list. So the librarian and his teacher started him in the AR program and just started him reading mid second grade level and advanced him as he seems to do well on the comprehension quizzes. He's just now doing late third grade / early fourth grade reading. His teacher admitted at the last parent teacher conference that she doesn't think we have yet reached his true reading level. But at least now he is being challenged slightly more in his reading (now I just need to stop him from being intimidated by the increasing numbers on the spine of the book)
Genuine question - why? He's clearly a competent reader, why all the worry/work around it?

(there's no way on line to make it really clear that my quesion isn't confrontational, but rather due to my desire to understand your/the teachers' perspectives)
post #11 of 27
We homeschool but I was recently talking to a friend who has a daughter in kindergarten (which technically my daughter would be in due to where her birthday falls) and the woman said that out of a class of 23 only 4 kids came into the class with reading skills. Her daughter was one of them and her daughter is at the level of bat, sat, cat, fall, tall, etc. So maybe that helps?

My daughter has been reading chapter books since she turned 4 and is currently reading the Harry Potter series herself. I shudder to think of what she would do all day in kindergarten. Our town does not have pullout for gifted/talented.
post #12 of 27
Based on my experiences of having two kids go through kindergarten, no I would not say it's typical at all.
post #13 of 27
I agree that is also depends on the area where you live. The vast majority of my friends have kids who go into kindy reading. Not all are reading chapter books, but almost all can sound out and read basic words (not sight reading). That being said, I was a teacher and most of my friends are teachers turned SAHM. I also live in an affluent area with wonderful preschools and school. However, none of the kids learned to read in preschool - it was all at home.

My DS is almost 3.5. He can sound out basic words, knows all phonemes, etc. I would guess he will be a fairly fluent reader by kindy. I have never really thought of this as out of the ordinary. I would assume that he is high average to low/gifted range as both of his parents were in gifted programs as children. However, he would generally much rather play baseball and soccer then read.
post #14 of 27
In the school DS went to for kindergarten (well, his class specifically) it definately wasn't unusual to be reading upon entrance. When I have said this before on MDC, though, it has been treated as unusual.
post #15 of 27
It isn't at all typical here.
post #16 of 27
I don't think any of the K kids at the school I teach at were reading when they started. There are a few that are reading now, though. My school uses the DIBELS assessment and for those of you that are interested in doing assessments at home, this one is pretty easy to do and all the materials are available online. You can download the measures here and see the benchmark chart here (you'll notice on the chart it refers to "at risk", "some risk", and "low risk"--I've never liked those categories, but is basically means needs help, doing ok, and above average).
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
Here's a link to a couple assessment tools:
http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/articles/060899.htm
LOL. I just had DD do that first assessment, with the list of words. I always have to trick her into reading for me, she HATES being asked to read aloud... so I have a tough time figuring out where she's at.

I was all "oh let's play a little game on the computer, I'll point with the cursor and you say it"... I was kind of surprised that she played along and read off some of the columns. Then she balked. I thought she didn't want to read anymore because it was getting too hard.. then all of a sudden, she gave this big theatrical sigh and rattled off the next grade and a half's worth of words in one breath. Too funny.

Anyway, based on that test, I guess she's "decoding" at fifth grade level, but I'll wager her comprehension isn't at that level yet.
post #18 of 27
There was a thread on this in the Learning at School forum, and it got a lot of responses. http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1038215

I am not sure whether it is typical around here or not. DS has not entered K yet, and I have not asked many of my friends whether their children can read -- probably b/c of my fear that it would seem like I was asking them just so I could inform them that ds can read... He is not what I would call a super fluent reader yet, but I suspect that his skills are a lot more advanced than many his age (4).
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post
Genuine question - why? He's clearly a competent reader, why all the worry/work around it?

(there's no way on line to make it really clear that my quesion isn't confrontational, but rather due to my desire to understand your/the teachers' perspectives)
Simple - so that I can help him find reading level appropriate books he would enjoy.

I know I wouldn't enjoy reading if all anyone handed me was Dick and Jane books. But I also wouldn't enjoy it if all I was given was advanced math theory books either.

I want to be able to help him find books that are age appropriate as well as reading level appropriate and his teacher wants him doing the same.

Additionally I would like to steer him towards an occasional book that is a little bit challenging and a bit of a stretch but still within his ability level. Plus I don't even think he realizes what he can read so I want to help give him the confidence to read more and more. He occasionally gets intimidated when he realizes he's moved to the next grade level of reading, or if the book seems long before he starts. I want him to realize he is capable of reading those stories and shouldn't be scared of trying if he thinks he would enjoy it.
post #20 of 27
Yes, it's not common for kindergartners to be able to read. Our school evaluates using DRA reading level. It goes from 1-44, I think. They don't expect them to come in reading and they want kindergarteners to leave kindergarten at a level 4. Dds last assessment was the third quarter at a level 18 (which was the max allowed for K), but she was given books at a level 22-23 at the end of K anyway. Fortunately, dd's school did have the accelerated reader program instituted for K last year, so she also gets to do that.

Scholastic has a nice way to gauge reading levels of a lot of books using their Book Wizard.

for instance, my first grade daughter is currently reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:

http://bookwizard.scholastic.com/tbw...o?workId=2744&

There's a column on the left that details some of the more common reading level information based on different scales (DRA, Lexile Measures and a general grade level).

you can search other books here (and look for books of similar reading levels too):

http://bookwizard.scholastic.com/tbw...o?workId=2744&

Oh, and one thing to keep in mind. You don't have to look for chapter books to get good vocabulary exposure. One thing I've found is that chapter books may have more words, but not necessarily better vocabulary. I was really surprised to find out some of dd's thin books were rated higher than some chapter books. And that's all due to vocabulary usage.

In fact, some of the best vocabulary comes from "picture books". Many of them are designed for parents to read to children, so the words are often more complex.

Chapter books like Junie B Jones is atrocious for grammer even (but it's designed to keep the average reader engaged). Even though Magic Treehouse introduces some neat concepts and historical facts, most of the text is pretty low end (but that was okay, DDs love of reading was ignited from that series of books).

Here's another popular site for getting appropriately leveled books

http://www.lexile.com/DesktopDefault...&tabpageid=545e
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