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Is Reading Aloud Helpful to Kids?
Because some of the students in my child’s fourth-grade science class are struggling readers, the teacher has the students take turns reading the textbook chapters aloud. My child, a good reader, finds this to be incredibly boring. What are the pros and cons of reading material aloud in class?
There are definitely a lot more cons than pros to having children read textbook material aloud. It can be helpful for those with very poor reading skills. However, they would be better served by listening to recordings of the material. The quality of the reading would be higher, and the time spent on reading aloud could be better spent if it was devoted to meaningful discussion or projects related to the material.
For good readers, hearing the material read aloud in a classroom is not beneficial. Because oral reading is a lot slower than silent reading, good readers can cover the material faster by reading it silently. There is also the problem of comprehension. Hearing material read aloud is passive reading — not the active reading needed for good comprehension. Furthermore, many students suffer embarrassment and anxiety about reading aloud without any opportunity to look over and practice the material.
Determining a Child’s Readiness for Kindergarten
My son is supposed to start kindergarten next fall. Since he has a late birthday, he will be among the youngest kids in his class. He has been attending preschool for the past two years and loves it. Should I enroll him in kindergarten or hold him back a year so he’ll be older?
Almost every research study on the age of entry to school concludes that the youngest children in kindergarten classes usually do not do as well as the oldest children. There is disagreement about how long the effects of being youngest last. Many researchers feel that by third grade the differences due to age disappear. On the other hand, other researchers have found that some slight academic difficulties continue throughout the elementary years. Remember this, just because statistics seem to support older children doing better in kindergarten, many younger children are extremely successful in school as well.
When children are ready for kindergarten, their first encounter with school is likely to lead to future academic success. Children who are only marginally ready may or may not be able to catch up with their readier classmates before the start of first grade.
The issue for you is readiness is more than age. You may find it helpful to consult with your child’s preschool teacher, pediatrician, and others who know the child well in order to evaluate his readiness. It is also a good idea to look at your school district’s kindergarten readiness checklist if it has one. Our Dear Teacher website has a very comprehensive list of skills children need to be ready for kindergarten in the checklist section. In the end, your own opinion is the most important, because you are the one who knows your child best. If you have very strong doubts about your child’s readiness for a particular kindergarten program, the child probably is not ready.
Parents should send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or ask them on the columnists’ website: dearteacher.com.