Anyone Have Experience with Having a Child Repeat 1St Grade?

Updated on August 08, 2010
M.G. asks from Fort Collins, CO
48 answers

My son has an August birthday and just barely made the cut-off to enter kindergarten last year. He seemed ready so we sent him, knowing he was going to be the youngest in his class, and ready to repeat kindergarten if need be. He did great, and when we requested an extra meeting with his kindergarten teacher towards the end of the school year to make sure he was ready for first grade, she said she had no concerns whatsoever.
We are now half way through first grade, and his teacher has asked us to consider having him repeat this year. He is doing great socially, behaviorally, and academically with the exception of reading. He is really struggling there, and is slightly below grade level. At his school, kids are expected to be very good readers entering second grade as reading is required to complete many of the assignments.
My head is spinning as I try to determine the best thing for him at this point- and it would really help to hear of others' experiences. For those who may have repeated first grade, how did you explain the need to repeat to your child? How did it impact your child emotionally to see friends and peers move on to second grade while your child stayed behind? Any advice on how to minimize any negative impact it might have on self esteem, etc?
Thanks SO much!

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L.C.

answers from Denver on

I have a 8 year old daughter.
I was concerned to have her reading good before she started 1-st grade.
Since English is not my native Language, I looked for some tutoring program to make it happen.
I heard from my friend about kids which managed to skip grade after being attending Kumon center.
This program exists all over US and has a really good core method.
Kids are reading as young as 4 years old.
My daughter is really excelled in reading and I really think that this is because of Kumon.

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B.S.

answers from Missoula on

There is nothing wrong with a child repeating 1st grade. Both my husband and myself repeated it. To a kid there are no emotional issues. It's as if you are the new kid. Everybody wants to talk to you. But it's perfectly normal. My sister-in-law is a teacher and even held a student back in kindergarden, becuase the child simply wasn't ready as she put it.
Hope this helps!
~B.

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C.M.

answers from Grand Junction on

Hello,

When I was in first grade, my teacher told my mom the same thing. My mom choose not to hold me back especially since it is just the one subject. Mine was also reading. I am dyslexic. This is what my mom did; every night read for 30 minutes. Even through the summer. He may just need that little extra. I disliked doing this as a kid because I would rather be playing. When I went to second grade I was where I was suppose to be.

Hope this helps. C.

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N.P.

answers from Salt Lake City on

That's really interesting. My parents got custody of my cousin who was hardley ever sent to school. He was way behind on everything -reading, spelling, math, etc. He was also an August b-day and the youngest in his grade. My parents tried everything to have him repeat a grade, but since he was emotionally and socially okay, they would not allow it. They told my parents just to get him a lot of tutoring. He's now out of research classes, in 8th grade and only going to reading tutoring. So who knows! That's what happened to us!

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S.M.

answers from Fort Collins on

That sounds like my brothers. I would say first things first get his eyes checked. and try to find a dr who does vision therapy to do the check. As it turns out my brothers needed glasses but we didn't find out until they were having such a hard time reading!

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M.H.

answers from Grand Junction on

I don't have any education to back up my opinion but I do have experience. I too was a child who had problems reading in first grade and my school had a first and second split in math and reading. Basically if you did poorly in a subject you repeted that subject but not the entire grade. So when I was in second grade I went into first grade reading. Kids aren't dumb they are very perceptive and emotional. I knew I was a poor reader when I got sent to this class and it did hurt my self esteem. However it was better than being seperated from my friends and I felt good that I didn't get held back. Kids know when a child is held back and there is often negativity that comes with that. I feel fortunate that my parents really worked with me on my homework and reading so that I could stay caught up as I got older. I also got a tudor which really helped too. I think as time goes on your child will catch up too, especially with your help. I also think talking with your child about how they feel in a subject is impotant. I know as I aged I learned I was a little dislexic and had a hard time comprehending what I read. Just like anything though you learn to cope and to work harder in certain areas. I don't know if holding your child back would help. I think it is important to concentrate on what he is good at too, we all have talents and I think those should often be infacised. I think back and I don't think I would have been much more confident with my reading with another year under my belt it simply was more difficult for me and frankly I didn't feel confident about reading until I was in College. What ever you choose talk with your child and let him know it is normal to struggle and that others do to in different ways. Good luck with your choice.

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J.R.

answers from Grand Junction on

Hello,

My daughter has a late August birthday. Same thing, her preschool teacher said she was ready, she wasn't, they passed her on to first grade anyway, where she became lost in a large class. Then they passed her on to second grade, we moved in the summer to a new state and thanks to a teacher who was apathetic because she was nearing retirement, My daughter fell even further behind. So we found ourselves with a daughter in third grade, who was really on a first grade level in everything.
Long story short, she never should have started as early as she did. If I would have followed my gut and not been "she's my child and she can handle it, she is mature enough"..I was delusional. To catch her up it has taken years, she is now in 7th grade, in special ed in math, and she really is not very mature at all. If I could go back, I would have had her repeat a grade, just so she could catch up in some things and be ahead in other things. Because of this experience, we decided to not start my son on time. We waited an extra year to start him. He is seven and in 1st grade and doing so well. For little boys especially, I would swallow any pride I might have and give the kid a break, hold him back, he is young, he'll be ok. Good luck.

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S.L.

answers from Pueblo on

Dear Mom of three,

I would not send him to another year to repeat first grade. You can work with him at home to catch up. Some teachers just don't want to look bad that one is behind. Has he had his eyes tested. My son had the same problem and we found out the he had astigmatism.

Studies have said that students who repeat a grade don't do any better the second time around. Go on your own mamma's feelings.

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S.B.

answers from Denver on

If your child is doing well in every area except for reading, I would not consider holding him back. Instead, I would provide extra support for reading, perhaps tutoring over the summer and into the fall. Perhaps one of the teachers at the school would be interested or can recommend someone. Repeating a grade should only be a consideration if there are significant concerns about a child's ability in multiple domains, especially social and behavior. If there are multiple academic concerns, an evaluation for learning difficulties would be the appropriate response.
given that this is only January, how in the world does this teacher know that your child will not achieve an appropriate reading level by the end of the school year? I would ask for a meeting immediately to clarify the concerns and to ask for an evaluation if the teacher has actual concerns about your child's learning issues. If, as you say, your child is doing well in all other areas, you really need to know why exactly the teacher is recommending this. It seems an inappropriate first response to the situation.

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H.H.

answers from Denver on

I am a kindergarten teacher, so let me see if I can help. Like many others said, if reading is truly the only thing where he is falling behind, it seems a little drastic that his teacher would want to hold him back. You need to make sure you are asking his teacher what they are doing to try and improve his reading, and what you can do to try and improve his reading at home. Also ask about if it's his reading that he's struggling with or comprehension, or both (that will help you to help him at home). Make sure you ask the teacher to show you some assessments that they've done and how he has scored. If he's young, he might just need a little extra support and maybe an ILP (Individual Learning Plan). Plus, you'll have all summer to get his reading up to par. Just take all things into consideration before making a decision.

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C.M.

answers from Provo on

Our oldest has a birthday in the middle of August and we struggled with wether to send him to kindergarten. We had him all registered and then really started feeling like we should wait so we did. His birthday would be only 3 days before school started. My thoughts were that because we don't allow dating until 16 that it would be hard for him because his friends would be dating and driving sometime during the school year and he would have to go a whole summer with his friends being able to date and drive that we decided to wait. He is very short as well like me so I thought it would be good for him to wait. He is very smart and socially he was ready at 3!! to start school. He is now 13 and I have never regretted waiting. My husband did kindergarten twice and said he never felt bad. It is better to repeat in these first few years than to wait until he is older and kids remember that he repeated. If you hold him back he will still be the same age as that next group because the rest of the kids are turning his age throughout that year. For example, my son turned 13 3 days before school started and even within the first few weeks of school some of his classmates turned 13 and some barely turned 13 at the end of the school year. I do have some advice though, wait and see where he is at the end of the year before you make your final decision because our 7 year old did the same thing. He cried when we said he would have to do kindergarten again and he begged to go to first grade and do first twice. We agreed that he could do first twice and he was REALLY behind in reading but around the middle of first he took off with reading. It was amazing and he did not have to take first twice and he is doing great in 2nd. He has a July birthday so he is a younger member of his class. Sorry this is so long. Good luck!!

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C.G.

answers from Denver on

My son had to repeat 1st grade, however I took him out of public school and put him into private school to repeat 1st grade and do 2nd grade. I returned him to the public school for 4th grade and up.

I have heard good things about that Sylvian place. You might check them out, they maybe able to help get your son up to grade level before the next school year begins. Therefore, he wouldn't have to repeat the 1st grade.

Good luck.

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C.H.

answers from Denver on

Hi there! If he's only behind in reading, and doing great in all the other areas, I'd suggest sending him to a reading tutor, such as Sylvan. I would NEVER have him repeat the grade without trying tutoring first, because he might repeat first grade, and then you discover that he STILL HAS A READING PROBLEM.

Reading problems are common, solvable, and just a little bump in the road at this young age, but you want to check it out before he gets much older.

p.s. Everyone I know who's ever used Sylvan has been THRILLED at their child's progress. You might have to skip this year's family vacation, manicures and restaurant meals in order to pay for Sylvan, but your child's education is more important than 12-months of luxuries.

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R.M.

answers from Denver on

My oldest daughter was held back for a little more than reading and she did very well for the next few years, but as the work got harder and the words got bigger it all came back to being behind. By the time they are in middle school they stop doing the vocabulary so the kids don't learn what words mean and then they comprehension is misunderstood. So then they still fall behind. I know how busy you are and it is not easy to find the time to help him yourself but if you can afford it to use a tutoring center or even hire someone to come to your house. It is only the halfway point this year and so that means that thereis still time to tutor [email protected]____.com is something that you need to talk to the faculty. Do to the board if they don't listen and if at all take him out to a different school. You are going to have to go with you gut instincts and i personally don;'t think that holding them back will help. Good luck and god bless

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J.N.

answers from Salt Lake City on

He's doing well socially, behaviorally, and academically except he's a bit below grade level with reading - I don't think that warrents holding him back. When I was teaching we had to show sufficient reason why a child should repeat, backed up by evidence of our interventions and the child's lack of progression, or being quite a bit behind. It sounds like it may be a developmental hurdle, or it may be a reading disability (don't freak out, it's a broad spectrum over-simplified by a single label). Basically, it means that a child's reading ability is behind their general intelligence, which can be gauged in part by overall academic performance. I would ask the teacher what interventions she has already done, and ask for an assessment by the special ed department. (They require the classroom teacher to try several interventions first). If he does have a reading disability, he will need some extra help, and holding him back won't give him what he needs. The school will provide some, but you may also want to check out tutoring for a short time. This can also help him move past a developmental delay in his reading.

My brother repeated 2nd grade, but there were a number of factors involved. He was extremely small for his age, quite immature, and although he was very smart he wasn't doing well in school - later diagnosed with ADHD. The second year in 2nd grade was in a new school so there was no stigma involved. He still struggled through school (because of his ADHD) but agrees that repeating was better for him. But the circumstances seem a bit different with your son. Make the decision carefully, because it's not easy to un-make it.

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M.G.

answers from Denver on

I had the same experience with my daughter. She also is an Aug bday and we put her in school as you did. During kindergarten we noticed that she was having trouble with learning her letters and was not even close to reading. Her teacher did not seem to worry about it and explained that this was normal and that we would just have to wait it out. She okayed her to pass and move onto 1st grade. She continued to have trouble so we had her work with a tutor once a week and continued until we had to move states and she had to start a new school here in CO. She continued to have trouble and we held her back. She has excelled!!! She is now in the Gifted and Talented program at her school and helps the other students with their work. Her teacher cannot believe she ever had trouble. I just explained to her how I too had been held back but not until 4th grade. Kids are much crueler later on and I struggled and my self esteem was terrible. I am so glad that I was put back and my daughter is very glad that she got held back as well. Her confidence is soooo much better and she even tells people it was her decision to repeat the grade. Do it now before the kids even can tell the difference.

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H.H.

answers from Great Falls on

Oh boy - you do have a lot of advice to try to weed through. I will offer my two cents, for what it is worth. I am a third grade teacher in a district that is not favorable to retention. That being said, it does happen on a rare occassion. If your son is only behind in reading, and not in any other academic area or socially, retaining him is NOT the answer. I have heard other people say that retention does not bother their social development. I am here to say bunk to that! I teach 3rd grade and I have a kiddo in my room who was held back in K. He definitely feels strange and has since the moment he was held back. Even now in 3rd grade he is still behind and his parents and the teachers don't feel the retention helped at all, only hurt him. He also has an August birthday so that was the tipping point on keeping him back. His self esteem is in the toilet and his attitude toward learning is terrible. I know this will be a hard decision for you and your husband to make. Please make an appt. with the teacher and principal to see what other options there are to helping your son rather than holding him back. People have suggested tutoring outside of the school day - that would be a great option and much less detrimental to your son's self esteem. Best of luck to you and bless your son for being all that he can be!

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B.R.

answers from Denver on

I know that it is difficult to accept your child being held back, but as young as he is, it probably will not affect him as much as you think. Just consider the frustration and embarrassment of reading below the level of most of his peers. I think at that age, kids tend to be friends with kids that are in their own class so he will make new friends. Also, as he gets older it will probably be more fun to be one of the oldest in the class instead of one of the youngest.

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T.C.

answers from Provo on

Hi, I didn't have time to read all the other posts so I don't know what has been said. I volunteered in my daughter's first grade class last year and there was a boy in her class that had reading problems. His problems with reading went into all other aspects of his learning. It took him longer to do his math because he was a slower reader and had to read it a couple times to understand. I ended up working a lot with him one on one when I volunteered because, unlike you, his parents weren't helping him at home. The teacher was wonderful but she couldn't get him on the same level as the other kids. As the year progressed, the discrepancy increased. The teacher suggested holding him back but his parents wouldn't allow it. He is now in 2nd grade and even further behind and extremely frustrated and doesn't like school.

My cousin is 6 months younger than me, with an October 8th birthday. My aunt sent him because she thought he was ready. I have heard her say over and over that if she did it over again she wouldn't have sent him or held him back after Kindergarten or 1st grade. He struggled until he graduated high school. She feels bad that she didn't hold him back and let him catch up and not struggle so much.

Either decision is hard but I would think about the rest of her schooling as you make a decision. There also should be some special reading programs thru the school to help her.

Good luck!

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K.K.

answers from Denver on

Hi,

Our middle daughter started early and did not learn to read. It just was not there for her. As you said a few months in and the teacher was beginning to give her easier work than the others were doing. That is how she finished the school year, she was just too young. We told her one time that she was going to go back to the same teacher because she did not learn to read. That was it, we never talked about it again or made anything of it. I think she was 10 or 11 when she asked me if she repeated that grade. And was a little surprized when I said "yes". Then I said you were just too young and the curriculum was very advanced. I don't think we have ever spoke of it more than once or twice in her entire life and she is 32 now. The same children in her class moved on, but still nothing was said and she did not change schools the entire school was 72 children K-12. No one cared, and little kids do not care like adults do. If I could tell parents any mistakes I made rearing my children I would say it was making too big of a deal about nothing. Good luck, K. K.

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D.K.

answers from Denver on

Kids have areas in all academics where they excel or lag behind. My daughter was a very young Kindergartener and is in second grade and a good reader but struggles with math a lot. The teacher said it would get harder in third grade so I really sat her down and worked with her every night. I work with her at home and she is improving greatly. It just had to click in a way she got it.

The fact your son is doing well otherwise, consider enrolling him in a reading program of some sorts outside of school. The school may even offer it. Having him repeat all of that he is doing (the other subjects) on top of being left behind with his friends I think is asking too much. I think kids have strong points and weak points and as long as he is doing well otherwise, why put him through that?
There are many programs out there to find out why he is struggling with reading and focus in on that and help him catch up.
Being a good reader may be important but I think it is more important to find out where he is struggling. Dyslexia is often overlooked, ear issues young can cause problems with learning. Have him evaluated, find out where he is at and where he needs to be. Ask the school for tools to help him at home. If he truly needs to go back, I have no idea how to best approach it. The school year has not ended yet and I just think the school owes it to your family to try harder, get him in a special reading program. At my daughters school they mesh kids that are great readers with ones that aren't. It helps the ones that aren't learn from their peers. They also have aides that come in and work with the ones that are lagging to help them out where they need it!
Talk to your district if the teacher isn't helping you!

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D.W.

answers from Boise on

I wouldn't hold him back either. First, I'd have his eyes checked. Then I would work with him on reading. My daughter was "behind" in Kindergarten in reading. Our school district provided a special reading class and it was the BEST thing ever. She's an excellent reader now in 2nd grade and above average -- don't get A+ very often in grade school. Maybe there is something in the community or I would see if you school has something, or maybe something online??? Best wishes!

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M.R.

answers from Boise on

I have 2 youngest in the class.
My 2nd has a Sept 10th birthday and started kindergarten at 4. He has done really well. 6th grade was difficult but once he got through it he's doing really well again. He was reading when he started kindergarten but after 1st grade he did struggle compared to his older peers. The next year he got extra tutoring after school. It helped alot and he didn't have to leave his friends behind.
My 3rd son also started kindergarten at 4 and has a August 27th birthday. He is also already reading but I couldn't see holding him back. The school he goes to has mixed grade classrooms so if he only needed help in one subject I would move him on but maybe consider tutoring and maybe summer school. Boys learn to read a bit later in general anyway until one day they just get it. It would be too bad to hold him back unless he is struggling in all areas.

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M.B.

answers from Pueblo on

My youngest of 3 boys repeated 1st grade. He is now in 3rd grade and doing really well. He has a May birthday and was also the youngest in his class. His kindergarten teacher did not see any issues or recommend he be held back although I personally thought it would be beneficial. He did ok in 1st grade but struggled to keep up and seemed immature compared to his classmates. I pushed to have him repeat 1st grade because he didn't get all he could have from the year. It was very good for him because now he doesn't struggle with his work and he doesn't feel like the dumb one any more. He is an older 3rd grader and a leader. His teacher was very helpful because in the beginning she made a point of letting him be her helper because he had been through it and knew the routine of 1st grade. We made a point of telling him that he got to redo 1st grade because he was younger and still needed to learn more, not because he wasn't capable, and that it was my choice, not the school's. He and his friends didn't make a big deal about it - didn't hardly seem to notice. He quickly made friends in the new class and hasn't had any issues at all with classmates comments. You may have to fight the school system, but it was worth it. Teachers and the principal said it doesn't help in the long run and wouldn't recommend it, but so far it has been good for him.

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M.W.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Just one request...
Get this book Called
"Teaching your child to read in 100 lessons"
The best book that I have for my kids right now.
I promise that he will be reading above grade level.
get it on Amazon.com
It will really help the younger kids too...
Good luck and let me know how it works out
M.

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K.R.

answers from Denver on

I have had a daughter repeat a grade. She was not a border line birthday, February, and it put her in the same grade as her younger brother. I approached it with the equivalent of needing glasses. People would notice and some would comment, just as if you had a pair of new glasses. She had nothing to be embarassed about, or uncomfortable with it. I explained it to all of my children that if any of them needed some sort of extra help, be it glasses, braces, school help we would always get them that extra help and it would be a good thing. I then started mentioning it to the parents of her friends and talking about it freely in front of her friends as a really positive thing. I explained that next year, she would be in the same grade as this year, instead of moving up with them because we felt like it would be the best thing for her. I can't tell you how enthusiastic and kind everyone was. Kids will usually mirror how we feel about a situation. Once I had made the agonizing decision, I was going to put it in the best possible light. I never let her know that it was a hard decision. We did not ask for her input, we made the decision. Her first reaction was a little confused and sad and we explained that we felt like it was the best decision, I was sad that she would not be in the same classes as her friends, but she would still see them and she would become friends with the kids in her new class as well. To my knowledge, she was never teased. Seeing her now, three years out, I am so thankful that we held her back. Good Luck.

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S.W.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Hi--
Sorry your head is spinning with all the variables to consider. Here's my two cents.
I skipped kindergarten because I could read well, but then ended up repeating fourth grade because I was socially immature and also because I was struggling with math. My birthday is Oct 1, the day after the age cutoff deadline in the state I grew up in. So I was doomed to be either the oldest in the class or the youngest. The whole experience was hard, but I do credit the teacher who taught me "fourth grade, second round" with saving my attitude toward education. She was (and still is) an amazing teacher and made what could have been a horibly awkward year into a very positive and successful one. The first teacher was not particularly warm or responsive and dismissed much of my struggling to "immaturity," when I'm sure some of it could have been helped. A teacher counts for a LOT when dealing with this kind of situation. Socially, I was still a bit embarrassed to repeat a grade and kind of still am. . . funny how these experiences stay with us forever. No one was particularly mean and it was good I excelled in other areas besides math, but in retrospect, I wish I had either never skipped kindergarten or repeated a grade long before fourth. The older a child is, the more potentially awkward it is.
I agree with the other posts to consider getting your child's vision checked my someone experienced in doing pediatric assessments, and also to get a second opinion in general, perhaps from a school counselor. If this were a medical diagnosis, you'd definitely seek a second or even third opinion, right?
Something else to consider would be choosing a mixed-age classroom for next year, such as is often found at Montessori schools. Their classrooms are typically divided into ages 3 to 6 and then ages 6 to 9 and are not necessarily labeled by grade. If your son went to a mixed-age group at a different school for a year, there would be no awkwardness or explaining, but he would still be challenged on a second grade level in most areas while catching up with reading skills at a first grade level. Then, if you wanted to return to his current school the following year, it would still seem like a logical flow--he went to first grade, then another shool, then second grade. Perhaps that's overly complicated, but it is another option. It's vital to preserve a positive attitue towards school no matter what you decide to do.
I highly recommend the book "The Read-Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease and the Bob Books (cute leveled readers) for working on reading at home. My first grader learned to read at home this past summer using them.
Best wishes!

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T.H.

answers from Denver on

I held my oldest out (he had a late July Birthday). It's been studied through the years that boys do much better if they are older in the class. (My son is now on his way to law school)
What's the rush? If he is struggling with reading it will effect his school work in all areas. Maybe you have a meeting with his teacher and the principal??
Peace, T.

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B.D.

answers from Boise on

Iagree with everyone that you should do more to improve his reading thatn hold him back. But I home schooled my son and then put him in school. Decided that his reading was lacking before I ever put him in so hired a tutor as we live in a very small area and no Sylvan or anything. Got him going and then put him in but held him back a year also. He is doing fine with it. Now in high school and likes it because he is the oldest in his class and can get his take drivers ed and everyone else has to wait. There are perks. But he still struggles a bit and I really have to stay on him...boys are just differednt than girls also. They do mature and "get it" a bit slower in my opinion. It all evens out in the end but I see a difference.

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S.W.

answers from Denver on

There was a question recently about waiting to enter kindergarten. Here is the response I gave:
We were faced with this same decision many years ago. We had a son 11, a daughter 8, and a son just turning 5 in August. The two older ones really enjoyed school in Adams District 50. The oldest was so excited about going to school that he actually went to kindergarten two times. He was too young to enroll in our district but his (9 month older) cousin's teacher allowed him to attend private kindergarten with his cousin. He then enrolled in kindergarten in our district when he was old enough. He graduated and went to college. Our daughter loved preschool through college. The youngest was a pre-school dropout at 3 and it was downhill from there. He was OK for the first few months and then started to refuse to go. He just did not enjoy the experience and to this day we do not know what triggered it and neither does he. I was pregnant with him when my father died. I spent a lot of time helping my mother after that. When it was time to enroll the youngest in kindergarten, we told the school we did not think he was ready. He was a late bloomer and did not start talking consistently until he was 3. They reassured us that he would be just fine and insisted we enroll him against our better judgment. He had a loving and supporting teacher. He seemed to be OK at first although a little reluctant. He was learning and doing the work expected of him. He started having "stomach aches" and wanting to stay home. It usually happened on a Wednesday - the day my mother was off work. We realized that he wanted to be with her on those days. He started to be "sick" more often and wanted to stay home. We thought he would outgrow it. We encouraged him and helped all we could. His anxiety continued to get worse. We moved to CA for a couple of years. The problems escalated. The school sent him to a counselor who could find nothing wrong with him. He had a 2nd grade teacher who decided she should make a spectacle of him. She would force him to stand in front of the class and repeat everything she said and do other things to "straighten him out". She ridiculed him the entire time. We changed schools. By 3rd grade he was throwing tantrums even though he liked his teacher. I had to force him to get dressed. I had to carry him to the car and force him in. We would play the locked door game. By the time I could get it unlocked he would lock it again. Once we finally got to the school he would grab the steering wheel and hold on for dear life. After prying his fingers off the wheel, I had to carry him crying and screaming into the school. He would wrap his legs around the center door post. When we got to the class room, the teacher and I would have to push him through the doorway. She would block the door while I ran around to the exterior exit and watch so he wouldn't try to sneak out. Once he was in the classroom about 30 minutes he would settle down and stay. We had many consultations with the school officials. We were very concerned but they kept insisting that we had to do this. We moved back to CO and a new school in Arvada when he was entering 4th grade. We begged the school to let him enroll in 3rd grade. We felt he would be better off. No one would know that he was repeating a grade and it would give him a chance to be the oldest kid in the class instead of the youngest. We felt he would have an opportunity to mature and get caught up. They absolutely refused. Of course, you can imagine what happened. He struggled to keep up. They started to keep him after school and send special assignments home. We had many consultations. By the time he reached 7th grade they wanted to hold him back. We felt that would be a horrible time and would affect him even worse. He was allowed to go on to 7th. He struggled each year, ditched classes, did his homework but wouldn't turn it in, and generally hated school. By the time he was a senior with sophomore credits he decided that he would never graduate. He took it upon himself to go to the community college and make arrangements to take his GED. He went back the next day, took the test, and passed with flying colors. We were very proud of him. It was never a question of his intelligence or his ability to learn. He was a loving child and cooperative in every other way. He got along well with his family, siblings, and friends. He was dependable in all other aspects. School was just not his thing. He is now 39 and happily married with 2 daughters who love school. After being in management with other companies, he in the owner of his own successful business. He is intelligent, outgoing, and loving life. Each child and each circumstance is different. Looking back I would have allowed him to mature another year before entering kindergarten.

Best regards,
S. W.

P.S. You are getting excellent advice from the others. Good luck in your decision. Perhaps some tutoring in reading will be the answer.

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M.G.

answers from Denver on

As was already mentioned, if reading is his only difficulty, don't hold him back. Denver schools have a program called Linda Mood-Bell, which is focused on students who are falling behind in reading, but I'm not sure Ft. Collins has the same program. Maybe have him evaluated at Sullivan Learning Centers?!? It is only half way through the year, and I can't believe his teacher is so willing to throw in the towel already, especially if it is just one subject that he is struggling in. You also may want to check out some leap frog learning toys, that are reading based, and work with him at home for an hour a night doing reading activities.

Good luck and don't give up yet!!!

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J.S.

answers from Provo on

I would never hold my kid back due only to reading below grade level.

My oldest is in 6th grade and has been below grade level from the beginning. In 5th grade her teacher taught her the love of reading...and now I can't get her to put her book down for anything!

My 3rd grader is following the same example...but her teacher turns to her when the class is not getting the math she is trying to teach and has my daughter come up and teach the class the concept. I hope that she will get the same 5th grade teacher to help her gain that love of reading.

My Kindergartner is also struggling, but I don't worry about it because his two older siblings are coming along just find, they don't mind being a bit slower and the teacher does not let on to the rest of the class. So I work with all 3 in reading at home and the teacher works at school.

As a mid year assessment, I wonder what the teacher is thinking about suggesting it now. It almost seems like she is giving up a bit prematurely. I would ask what she is doing to help him get up to par.

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P.G.

answers from Salt Lake City on

My children did not have to repeat any grades, but my mother-in-law says she wishes she had held my husband back a year. He had an older brother and begged to start school with him so she worked it out. Boys generally mature a little slower than girls so this might be a good idea. I think that rather than having your child have to repeat a grade later, doing it now would help in the long run when he is younger and he may not get teased as much. This is a hard decision to make. Good luck.

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B.S.

answers from Salt Lake City on

I was going to write a response and then I read Susan's, and it is basically what I was going to say. I won't write it again, I just want you to know there is another mother who feels the same way.
Good Luck!

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M.H.

answers from Boise on

Hello,
Mentally and self esteem wise it is easier on a child to repeat a grade at a younger level then it is at a higher level. Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd I would not worry about holding your son back, it does not impact them much at all.

My question to you is that you have half of the year left and your son can make huge progress in that half year. Have you asked your son's teacher for extra handouts or advice on you helping him to progress? Did she tell you what he is struggling with specifically in reading? (sounding out words, fluency, etc.) You might not have to hold him back if she can give you things to do to work with your son to help him to be a better reader.

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S.L.

answers from Salt Lake City on

My daughter had a really hard time in First Grade. The teacher even tried to tell me she had ADD (which she didn't). Reading was hard for her, then one day it just clicked. I think a lot of times it is a maturity thing. Your son just might not have "clicked" yet. I would at least wait until the end of the year to make this decision. Definately work with him at home and see if he can improve. My daughter is now in 3rd grade and LOVING the Harry Potter books. I would also try to find a series of books that he totally loves to get him motivated to read.

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L.M.

answers from Billings on

I would recommend hiring a tutor or taking your child to Sylvan to get extra help in reading. Or, does your school offer aides for tutoring outside the classroom? It could be the teacher is overwhelmed and does not have the time to offer extra help. You have 9 months to gently get him up to speed.

If your son is socially, behaviorally and academically doing well, I advise not to hold him back. Our daughter has a late August birthday. Because of her struggles with fine motor skills and social maturity, we moved her to a new school to repeat first grade. Now her teachers work to accommodate her being academically ahead of the class and to keep her from being bored. It is a tough call.

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S.S.

answers from Denver on

Hello! I am a kindergarten teacher and have had experiences with retaining children. If your child is only below grade level in reading I am not so sure that that is a good enough reason to repeat a grade. If he is mature socially, emotianally, and behaviorally it may be had for him to handly not moving on with his peers. Do what you feel will be best for your child and continue working with him throught the summer. You may want to talk to the school psychologist or councelor and see what they suggest. Stefani in Arvada

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L.C.

answers from Denver on

My own experience was that in first grade my teacher and mother wanted me to repeat first grade because I was immature (I'm a September birthday). I was the youngest of six children which probably allowed me to be very babyish. I got straight A's on my year-end report card so I went on to second grade. The same thing happened then, I had good grades but far to immature compared to my peers. My mother then forced me to repeat 2nd grade. I had an advantage because two other kids in my class stayed behind so I had some moral support. In hindsight, it was the best decision my mother made. I continued through all my education the top in my class with little to no academic struggles. It also helped my socially because I was no longer the youngest in my class which definately would have been an issue during the adolescence age. As a parent, I held back my preschooler from entering kindergarten because she too is immature and I could just tell she wasn't ready. Now I can see her love of learning blossom and I know kindergarten will be easy for her. Hope this helps.

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R.A.

answers from Provo on

If the only area that he needs help in is reading, don't hold him back next year. He still has half a year to improve reading skills and all summer before entering second grade. You personally need to sit down with him and work on reading every day to help him get it and improve. :)

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M.C.

answers from Pocatello on

I just wanted to share a personal story. My brother(now grown) has a late August birthday my parents put him in school at 5. His teacher's recommended he be held back in 1st grade like your son but my parents didn't heed the advice and sent him on. Unfortunately by junior high he was so far behind due to the fact that reading is a major part of every subject that he dropped out of high school and has never been able to even get his GED without going back to take more classes. I do believe their is more help available now than 30 years ago but If you decide not to hold him back or even if you do make sure you get all the help available to you for his reading.

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N.S.

answers from Great Falls on

"He is doing great socially, behaviorally, and academically with the exception of reading." So why aren't you insisting he move into second grade and go to Title One, or find out if he is possibly dyslexic??If he is Emotionally and socially up with his peers ther is no reason for your son to be held back. Believe me....I am a mother of 3, of which is a set of twins who are now 14, one of whom has Cerebral Palsy. Interestingly enough it is his brother who has the emotional immaturity. I ended up holding the twins to being 6 before they started kindergarten, and up until junior high, they did fine. It sounds like your baby might have some sort of reading issues...Find out..if he is dyslexic...the SOONER you get him help the better he will do in school.maybe he just needs glasses....you're not doing him, you or the school any favors by holding him back without pinpointing the issue. See if you can get a hold of your local PLUK (Parents Let's Unite for Kids) office..and ask if they can evaluate (or help you find someone who can) your child for what may be causing he low reading skills. Also, find out if they can advocate for you (if you do end up needing it) Pluk has helped me alot, with just the information they have access to.
Good Luck.and remember, YOU are the mom....you know your child best. Do what feels best AND comfortable to YOU...NEVER let the school intimidate you into making a choice the feels WRONG....NEVER.

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A.B.

answers from Denver on

Hi!

As a mom of an 18 year old with an August birthday, If the teacher has suggested keeping him back, I would do it! My daughter's birthday is August 8. She was one of the youngest in her class and she graduated at age 17. She struggled through out her school carreer. She definately would have benefitted from repeating kindergarten or first grade. In fact her kindy teacher and my mother in law who is a retired kindy teacher both said she needed to stay behind. She is my first and I thought she would be fine. If I had known then what I know now, I so would have kept her back. She is smart, she is a great reader. great in science. But math was a struggle for her.

So, I think if you hold him back now, it would be better than what could be later. If you think he will suffer because of the friends he will be staying behind, switch schools.

So that is my humble opinion. It is really a hard decision to make. But it is really so very important. I wish so badly that I could go back in time and keep my Laura back. She would still be in school this year and it would be so much better for her.

I wish you the strength to make the right decision.

A.

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S.B.

answers from Salt Lake City on

Maybe reading is something you can help him with at home. Those commercials for reading with your child for 20 minutes a day aren't kidding. I was reading at the age of 2 because my mom spent half an hour with us after lunch every day reading Dr. Seuss. She taught us how to read, and we enjoyed that special time. You could make that your bedtime routine. Don't leave it up to the school system to make sure he's reading well, he might enjoy it more if he can learn from you. As far as repeating a year, I would work with him for awhile and see if he really does need to repeat a year. Because of my reading ability, I skipped kindergarten. In a lot of ways, I wish I hadn't been skipped, because every report card I ever had told how I was not as mature as the other children. Duh, I was over a year younger than most of the kids. Of course I wasn't as mature! But that really effected the way I felt about school - most days I hated it. I really did not enjoy it and wished I could be with the friends that were my age. I would think staying behind while your friends move up would have a similar impact. I know my parents had/have no idea how much I really didn't like going to school, because I was embarrassed about it and didn't talk to them. But if I had to do it over again, I would have preferred to not skip. If there's any way you could avoid him being left behind by working with him yourself, I would say that's your best choice. Good luck!

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J.W.

answers from Denver on

My son repeated the second grade. His teacher called me in for a meeting and asked me to bring him with me. When we went in she had already talked to me about his reading and writing level. She asked him if he could do her a favor and come back to her class next year to be a helper. She told him that there were going to be a lot of new kids and she really needed his help because he already new what went on in the class and he could help her show the other kids what to do.

You may want to talk to his teacher and see if she would be willing to do something like that where he could have special things that he could show the "new" kids next year.

It did help my son to stay in the second grade an extra year and he made new friends that he is still in school with.

Good Luck.

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E.B.

answers from Provo on

Hello! I didn't have time to read everyone else's response, so if I'm repeating someone, forgive me. Just a little on my background... My Dad is one the foremost Elementary School Principals in Utah Valley, My Husband and Sister are both Special Ed teachers, one in Elementary and the Other in Secondary. If I am understanding you correctly, the ONLY problem your son seems to be having is reading. Before you consider holding him back, Talk to his teacher, pricipal, and resource teacher at the school to see if there are other options. Holding someone back on the basis of a reading problem is, in my opinion the last option. TONS of kids have a "disability" in one area or another. Your school should provide a way to have someone test him to see if he qualifies for help through the school (in class tutor, he could also be taken to a resource classroom to work on his reading while the other kids in his class do theirs). He could have something as simple as dyslexia which is more common than one might think. THERE ARE A LOT OF OPTIONS. Talk it out and see what your options are in your school. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me! Good Luck, and hope this helped!

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T.G.

answers from Reno on

I have just struggled with the same issue. My son has had developmental delays in the past and a late birthday. I had him tested at a differnet school (he had attended for special ed preschool there, so they knew him) and they told me they recommended retention, due to his phonics and poor writing skills. They also thought he had another possible delay going on that would make 2nd grade difficult. Unfortuanetly they did not have room in 1st grade. I took him back to the school he attended for first grade, and they were very much pushing me to move him on to second. Hmm--could there be a conflict of interest going on? I finally decided to homeschool him to repeat first grade this year, so I could focus with him on his weaker areas, and also to ease any discomfort of seeing his friends move on. It is my hope that after a year of homeschooling, I will be comfortable putting him in 2nd at a public school. I hope this helps!

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M.M.

answers from Pocatello on

Take it from a mother of a 9th grade girl that decided not to hold her child back and has regretted it ever since....HAVE YOUR BABY REPEAT FIRST GRADE! It is easier to do it now than to watch them struggle the rest of thier school years.

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