Plant the Seed, Grow
a Reader: Avoid "Holding Back" Later.
Volume 1 Number 8 May, 2007
Stanley's "Plant the Seed. Grow a Reader!" and the Reading Calendar are a
monthly feature of the Department of Childhood Education,
University of North Florida, 4567 Saint Johns Bluff Road,
South, Jacksonville, FL 32224,
by Nile Stanley, Ph.D.
Chair, Childhood Education
Sweet April showers
Do spring May flowers.
Thomas Tusser (1524? - 1580)
A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry (1557)
As the end of the school year
approaches, some parents are confronted with making the
decision whether to promote or retain a child. Being far
behind academically and having reading problems are the most
frequent reasons for retention. Does holding a child back
help? Recent research findings are mixed. Some studies show
that at the end of the repeated grade, retained students score
somewhat lower on achievement tests than similar children who
were promoted to the next grade. On the other hand, blanket
social promotion policies have frequently produced illiterate
high school graduates. It is clear, though, that retention
alone does not increase achievement. Remediation in basic
skills is needed, not just another year repeating lessons in
the same grade with possibly the same teacher. The alternative
of moving the child to the next grade can be considered if
special services and extra learning time can be provided.
Parents can provide ways to help the
child who progress slowly:
- Ask next year's teacher to explain
the expectations for the upcoming grade. Get an early start
by reviewing skills (i.e. multiplication tables, spelling,
sight words, etc.) over the summer.
- Build background of experience by
taking your child on trips to local museums, historical
sites, parks, and stores. All experiences have the potential
to become literacy events.
- Set aside 15 minutes or more each
day just for family reading and writing. Create a mini
learning center complete with library books, magazines,
audio tapes, coloring books, educational games, paper, and
pencils. Visit the library weekly.
You Can Plant Seeds of Greatness
and Grow a Reader! If you just, try, try, and try again!
See this month's associated
Reading Calendar (pdf)
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