Put 1St Grader Back in Kindergarten at Almost 7 Years Old?

Updated on October 06, 2011
S.W. asks from Phoenix, AZ
25 answers

Last year, my son was in Kindergarten at a particular charter school. The charter school, last year, did not take the time to educate him in the reading. This year, he is in a different charter school due to the previous one changing over to a private school. My son is excellent in math, but with only being in First Grade for 2 months, can only ready short vowel, one syllable words. The rest of the 1st grade class can read easy paragraphs (long vowels, two syllables, etc.). His is currently getting tutoring by the Kindergarten teach to catch him up and he is also going to the Kindergarten class during the language time, but returns to the 1st grade class afterwards. After meeting with the teacher and principle today, they highly recommended my son return to Kindergarten now (next week) and begin 1st grade next year.

He will be 7 years old in one month and I feel that he is just too old to be in Kindergarten. I also took a look at the material that is taught during Kindergarten and he has already surpassed their fundamentals (tracing letters and numbers, counting, etc.). He is well advanced in math, for sure. He also is doing quite well in social studies and science now. I understand the school is stating that reading is important because soon, if he can't read the math problems, he will begin to score poorly as the time goes on.

Should I put my son back in Kindergarten now? Or should I keep him in 1st Grade and continue the reading tutoring and pickup a 1st grade reading curriculum for the summer?

What do you all recommend?

Thank you all so very much!

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So What Happened?

I decided to keep my son in 1st grade, initiated tutoring twice a week, picked up those reading workbooks (6 total) that we work on every single day after his homework (except the weekends). In addition, he works on the Hooked on Phonics that his tutor let us borrow. Just last week, he scored 110% on his spelling test (yes, he got extra credit). He is now reading the beginning 1st grade books and on his way. I received a personal email from the president of the school, stating that she was really proud of me and all my hard work because most parents don't have the motivation and stamina like I do... to keep working with my child. I look at it like this.... Last year, no one had the time to teach my son how to read, so this year, we are all making up for lost time, therefore putting in extra time. Thank goodness I graduated nursing school now, before it was too late for my son. I am SO proud of him and his excellence in reading now! Thank you to everyone with your support and I am SO glad I stuck with my "mother's intuition" by keeping him in first grade.

Featured Answers



answers from Madison on

Since this is the only area he is having trouble with it does not make sense to move him back. I think he is too old for kindergarten. Keep the tutor and work with him at home as well.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would not put him back at 7 into kindergarten but I would look into putting him in a sylvan or huntington learning center for some tutoring after school. something that does not constantly pull him out of class. also are you reading with him each night for twenty minutes? it should be him reading to you. get level 1 books and just perservere with it. he will get it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

I would not send my child back to kindergarten in this situation...if reading is the only thing he needs help in...then start working with him at night...get some material from the kindergarten teacher and spend 15 minutes or so each evening...more if he is really enjoying it...and get him up to speed. The one on one tutoring from you will really speed things up. Why put him back into a situation where everything else is going to be so boring for him...and the social awkwardness of the situation would be rough for him to deal with too. Let him stay where he is!!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Redding on

If reading is the only thing he's having difficulty in, I can't imagine putting him back in kindergarten.
That's just my opinion.
I would continue with his first grade classes and letting him get the support for reading.
Lots of kids go to remedial reading programs and stay in their current grades. If the school doesn't have a "combo" class, which many schools do so that kids can excel at grade level while still getting a little help with the things they struggle with, I'd keep him where he is.
He seems obviously intelligent. He just needs to get caught up with the other kids. And, just an idea, is it possible he's dyslexic?
People with dyslexia simply learn and process things in different ways and often it's discovered in reading difficulties.
My step dad was dyslexic. He was left handed so when he got things backwards, no one really picked up on it. He had great difficulty reading as a child, but was actually one of the smartest people I've ever known.
He could mentally do any algebraic math equation in his head, but reading it or writing it down....different story.
I'm just throwing it out there.
Dyslexia can be overcome.
Many brilliant people are/were dyslexic.
Bruce Jenner has been open about his dyslexia.

“A teacher sent the following note home with a six-year-old boy: “He is too stupid to learn.” That boy was Thomas A. Edison”.
- Thomas Edison

I'm not a professional or anything, but maybe you should have your son tested for it. It's either something to rule out or work with. And it CAN be worked with. With great success.
I would seek avenues other than putting him backwards since he does so well in everything else.

Just my opinion.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

No. Your child will be nearly two years older than most of his classmates. This is a bad idea and it is shameful that the principal is supporting this.

Your child will be developmentally more mature than his peers for the rest of his academic career. Think of it this way... when he's 13 (puberty), they will still be playing with Transformers.

His classroom teacher also shouldn't be sending him to the Kindergarten class ot read. How demeaning.

Keep him in first grade and ask the teacher how SHE plans to differentiate her instruction for your child. Get a tutor and remember that he can "catch up", but if he has significant supports and continues to struggle to learn to read- consider having him evaluated by your school district.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

My suggestion is to keep him in First Grade and have him work with a reading recovery teacher. If that doesn't work then I would suggest moving him to a different school. I'm surprised the principal and teacher would suggest that he move back to Kindergarten. I bet he will catch up faster than you think.

Best of Luck!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

There is no telling how much he'll pick up during this year, he is too old to be in kindergarten, if they had a transitional first then I would be more open to the suggestion but no way I'd put that old of a child in Kindergarten.

My husband couldn't read in 1st grade and was quiet. They thought he had some sort of mental retardation. His grandmother in SLC read the entire Book of Mormon to him over the summer between 1st and 2nd grade and he was reading by the time school started and when they did testing on him they found he had a genius level IQ.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Sorry you are going through this. Ultimately, you have to do what's best for your child, regardless of what anyone on the site recommends.

That said, I can't imagine having a 7 year old in kindergarten, especially one who is at or above grade level in all skills but one. If reading is truly the only area where he needs extra help, I'd keep him in first grade. Work with him daily on his reading at home and continue using the tutor, possibly even adding an additional session each week.

Find new ways to make reading fun and exciting so he'll want to do it. Find books about his hobbies or ways to read about those hobbies in real life (for example, my son likes to look at baseball scores and stats and has learned to read most of the team's names and cities).

Start with the basics and move up from there. Read to him every night and have him practice reading to you every night as well.

Good luck!
http://www.discoverytoyslink.com/karenchao - fun, fantastic educational toys for children of all ages!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I agree he is too old to go back to kindergarten. (My daughter has an April birthday but was 7 yo most of 2nd grade)

I taught my then 4 year old daughter to read. In just 2 months she could read any easy reader. Check out the book "How to Teach your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons". It takes just 15 minutes a day. It will be the best $15 you ever spend.

Schools are more worried about student's test scores and how the scores will effect their funding than the student IMO. The school needs to work with you to get your son caught up.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Do not put him back in kindergarten. Why is he leaving the 1st grade class during language time? That doesn't make sense. The boy needs to be in his class to learn!
Sounds like you are going to need to spend some extra time with him at home. When my son was in 1st grade the teacher let me know that he was behind everyone else in reading but surpassing the other students in math. She was concerned and told me that I was going to need to up my time reading with him. I did. I read to him, I had him read to me, we did starfall.com (which he loved) and by the end of the year he was right where he needed to be with the rest of his class.
I am with the other mom who said that she didn't understand why they don't want to help him succeed. I would really fight the school on this one.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I can't believe the teacher and principal are recommending this. I think this would be very harmful for your son's self esteem. I am all for keeping him in 1st grade and sending him to Sylvan or another tutoring place like that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I would think that a better option is to leave him in 1st grade with his friends and work extra hard on the reading at home and with tutors. there is a great book out there that I'm using with my daughter that is learning to read. "Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons" . I would think with a lots of work and efforts to help him catch up he should be on track by the end of the school year. To put him back in kindergarten doesn't seem logical. Just be very involved in his school and make sure that he succeeds.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I bet once he gets it his reading will take off, that's what mine did. I'd keep working extra with him . . . good luck, so sorry! I know it has got to be hard when it's your baby!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Flagstaff on

The level you describe for your son is right where the majority of my son's first grade peers are in public school. Your son is not behind where he should be just because the other students are advanced and had extra instruction in K. Keep him where he is, and he will learn and grow more than you will believe!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

My cousin was the same way. He had a difficult time with reading. My cousin, his Mom, worked with him at home. My Mother who is a retired teacher, made flash cards for him. They worked on those and reading his favorite book. He is 11 now and loves to read. He has read all of the twilight series and a series by James Patterson for kids. You can buy flash cards at the dollar store and work with him. I don't know if I would want my 7 yr old in Kindergarten. Besides the Kindergarten teacher are their programs in your area that helps kids with reading? If so you may want to try that. Good luck to you and your son.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Do not put him in kindergarten. That's outrageous. Might your son be dislexic, or has a disability you might not know about? If not, could you spend more time with him to catch up to first grade level? He's got to learn to read and this is going to take extra work from you. Barnes and Nobles has tons of kindergarten/1st grade words. Also purchase a phonics book. He has to catch up with the rest of his class, because if he doesn't he'll proabably repeat 1st grade next year. If you can't be with him, have a tutor come to your home. If not affordable, go to your nearest high school and ask for a volunteer or hire a young adult to help out after school for a lot less. I'm sure there will be quite a few who would be available.
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Only if he is very immature socially should you consider sending him back to Kindergarten. I teach Kindergarten and first and he is only slightly behind the AVERAGE first grader. Get him out of that school and send him to a school where the first grade teacher will work with him on his reading skills!
Please look into the local public school, they are used to working with all types of kids, and helping each child, and identifying learning differences and learning problems. Invest in a RAZ kids account so he can read online it is cute and fun and makes my son want to read (RAZ.com)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

& years old (or soon to be) is awfully old not to be reading. I would suggest that you keep him where he is (in first grade) and supplementing after school daily until he's caught up. The teacher should be able to design you a program/plan, be it 10 or 15 minutes every day that you could do with him. Kids that age learn so quickly. The longer he has to "leave class" to go down a level the worse off it will be. You don't want him falling behind on language. If the school won't help you nip this in the bud quickly then try another school or do a kumon reading program (probably costly). I remember with my kids, kindergarten they learned to read and 1st grade they were (suppose to be) taught to love to read (with reading contests/ prizes/incentives...)
Good luck.
P.S. In kindergarten my oldest had little mini books with not real words on it that he had to review nightly, if you do this you progress quickly. when my middle was in second grade and was not reading (in a foreign language- mulitlingual school + piano) the teacher assigned her 10 minutes of reading every night WITH ME and I had to sign off on it. It took 2 months, but it worked). Had the same type of assignment with my 3rd child from the school's speech pathologists (R sounds) it took a bit longer, but it worked again.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

What about an outside tutor? I see commercials all the time for this sort of thing, Sylvan, Kumon. I think your son is too old to go backward and that it will affect him a lot when he is older.

I think between you and another tutor he should be able to catch up. Just remember all kids learn at different paces. I would be a little upset that they want to push him back than to help him go forward.



answers from Flagstaff on

Since he is where he should be in all other subjects I thing putting him back in Kinder at age 7 would be a step in the wrong direction. Do they have resource classes at the charter school? In public schools they have resource room classes for this reason. It helps the kids get back on track on the subjects they are having trouble with, while still keeping with same age peers doing their grade level work. The kids do get taken out of their regular class to go to resource class, but it does help. My daughter was behind in Math, almost a year behind. She is in resource math class and is now pretty much up to grade level because of the help she received during her resource math class. I would ask the teacher or principal or whoever it is that suggested he go back to Kinder if there is a resource room where he can go for his reading/spelling to get him caught up to his grade level.



answers from Phoenix on

My son could not read until he was in 2nd grade. I would keep him in tutoring. Look at a local college for tutors. Good luck



answers from Phoenix on

We were in the exact situation as you. We enrolled my son in a charter school his kindergarten year because I wasn't hearing good reports about the local public school. Biggest mistake we ever made. His reading level was far below where most kids should be. We enrolled his in 1st grade at the public school. His teacher brought up the same concern, but she worked with him and by the middle of the year, he was almost up to par with his classmates. Now in 2nd grade, he loves to read.

So my suggestion would be either stand your ground and keep him in 1st grade and insist they keep him in with the 1st graders during reading with extra help or switch to a public school where they have better resources to deal with situations like yours.


answers from Washington DC on

I would NOT move him back. I'd work with him as much as you can at home.



answers from Dallas on

Find a tutor program like Sylvan or get a private tutor (they aren't too expensive). If he is good at math and only has gaps in his reading then with the proper assistance he will catch up. 7 is too old to be in kinder.


answers from Dayton on

I was going to say exactly what Bttrfly said.
I have been teaching my DD using the same book and she is making great strides very quickly.
I think you can get him caught up. :)

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