Group Says Common Core Reading Reqs Wrong for Kindergarteners

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A recent report suggests that Common Core reading requirements are not developmentally appropriate for kindergarteners.

The report, issued by the advocacy groups Defending Early Years and the Alliance for Childhood, found that despite the Common Core requirement of being able to read by the time a child enters the first grade, “many children are not developmentally ready to read in kindergarten.”

In addition, the report, Reading in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose, warns that pushing children to learn something they are not ready for can in fact scare them and turn them off to learning in the future.

The report states that kindergarten teachers feel such pressure to implement the reading standards that they end up over-drilling on skills and giving too many exams.  The traditional model of learning through play that was used in kindergarten rooms across the country based on years of research in cognitive development has, for the most part, been replaced by teacher-led instruction.

According to evidence supported by the authors, by the fourth grade, children who learn to read in kindergarten read at the same level as those who learned to read in the first grade.  While some children do learn to read at an early age, there is no advantage to doing so, and it is noted that most of their peers will eventually catch up.

However, learning through play in kindergarten does seem to have advantages, including learning how to get along with other people, and even having a lower rate of arrests for felonies into their 20′s when compared to those who were introduced to the world of academics at an early age.

In addition, it was found that children who learn through play develop skills in symbols, oral language and printed word, each of which aid in their ability to learn to read.  Play-based curriculum has been found to better prepare children to be fluent readers later on in life through specifically designed language and literacy activities, writes Valerie Strauss for The Washington Post.

“When children have educational experiences that are not geared to their developmental level or in tune with their learning needs and cultures, it can cause them great harm, including feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and confusion.”

Some children do learn to read at an early age, suggesting that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to education may not be the way to go for kindergarteners, writes J.D. Tuccille for Reason.

The report instead suggests that the kindergarten standards be withdrawn from the Common Core in favor of new standards that coordinate with children’s development.