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What should I do with an advanced Pre-K student?

Dear Let's Go Learn, My daughter will be 5 on Sept. 22 so could not start Kindergarten this year (cut off was Sept. 1). She is very advanced socially, emotionally and intellectually. She spoke over 100 words at 1 year of age; has always spoken very clearly and articulately. She has always LOVED reading books. She constantly asks how to say or spell words. She is reading simple Dr. Seuss books, understands phonics, single letter sounds, letter blends, does simple math, understands basic o'clock and thirty when it comes to telling time. I would like your opinion on the following: We plan to send her to a private christian school next year. This year, because of the cut off date, she is in the Pre-K or "4's" class. I purchased the Alpha Omega Kindergarten Homeschool Pak and I have started teaching this to her. Our hope is that we can have her start in first grade next year since I've homeschooled the Kinder portion. I haven't yet spoken to the school she will attend next year but since it is private they will test her and we will go from there. I would never do this unless she was emotionally and socially ready..which she is. What is your opinion/recommendation on this whole scenario? Thank you so much.

Hello, Thanks for your email. Here are my thoughts:

1) It sounds like your daughter is already way ahead of the game! She will certainly do well, no matter what grade she begins at next year. If you are going to teach your daughter to read at home before she goes to school, I recommend you find out what reading instruction methodologies they use at her school. Reading programs can differ dramatically and you may want to follow their lead so as not to confuse your daughter when she starts school. That way if she goes to K or 1st, the things you have taught her will be very helpful.
2) Should she go to 1st grade? I specialize in reading so I am not an expert on school readiness but I will tell you what I have experienced in the past. I once taught vacation-bible school for two summers in a row. The first year I taught the kids who were on their way to first grade. The second year I taught the kids who were on their way to Kindergarten. There was a huge difference. It wasn't so much socially or emotionally but the kids going into first grade were just more adept at handling themselves in a classroom-oriented situation. The pre-K kids had a hard time sitting in chairs for an extended period of time and a hard time being quiet for a long time etc. In my opinion, Kindergarten is less about kids learning content than it is about easing into school. Kindergarteners do some play activities and some academic activities; by 1st grade they are better able to handle a full day of academic oriented tasks. Even if I thought my daughter was ready for the kind of content taught in a first grade classroom, I would not let her miss Kindergarten. But of course it is up to you. Talk to your school, I am sure they will know better than me about what will work with their program.
3) I think teaching her some reading this year before she goes to school is a good idea. However, studies say that "phonemic awareness," the processing ability necessary to sound out words, doesn't fully develop until the age of 6 or 7. So if your daughter seems to have a hard time with some parts of reading, don't worry she will probably be fine. When I worked in a Kindergarten classroom, we had pre-K kids come in for half-day visits in the springtime to see what it was like. Perhaps that would be a good idea for your daughter.

Let me know if I can answer any more questions that you have. Happy Reading!

Tags: kindergarden reading, reading program, homeschool instruction, phonemic awareness

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