1st Grader reading 6th grade level

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by rara_avis20, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. rara_avis20

    rara_avis20 Rookie

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    I have a mother concerned about her child not being challenged. We haven't even been in school for a month, and I'm still testing all of my kids. I have this one little girl who, in 1st grade is reading at a 6th grade level. The mom thinks she might want to try to move her kid on to 2nd grade. Frankly, the kid is advanced all around, and I don't think 2nd grade will "challenge" her either. Has anyone had any experience with this big of a difference in ability? I think I'm capable of meeting her needs, but how do I convince the mother??
     
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  3. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    You need to talk with your P about this. And stick to your guns. Popping her into 2nd will not challenge her, and it could really harm her socially over her entire school career, always being younger than her classmates.

    Meet with your P, get a plan, then meet with the mom. Ask her lots of questions, like what exactly is she concerned about, and does she have any ideas in mind? Then tell her some of the ideas you have.

    I have seen over the years that most of the time, a first grader "reading on a 6th grade level" MOSTLY doesn't mean much. Over time, the child will level out, and her peers will catch up with her. Does she actually have 6th grade comprehension???

    I know that parents get so excited when their young child is reading. It is such a thrill. But there is a whole lot more to education than reading. There is social maturing, learning to be part of a group, learning to challenge yourself, learning critical thinking and imaginative writing, learning how to present what you have learned, how to apply your learning to new situations, never mind all the math, science, and everything else that might be short changed by bumping her up.

    Good luck! It is a peeve of mine when parents push their kids up the grade ladder. I just have never seen it work well in the long run. I had a student several years ago who was immature, but had been started early in school because she could read. She is now in jr. high and still lagging behind all her classmates in all other areas, and her reading has not progressed as indicated by the silly first grade scores.

    What tests have you given her?
     
  4. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    I agree that 2nd grade isn't the answer. Obviously if this child is really reading and comprehending at the 6th grade level, you willneed to differentiate for this child, but this is what we do for all kids. I would really beinterested to know if she is REALLY comprehending on a 6th grade level?
    What assessments have you done?
     
  5. SuzieQ

    SuzieQ Companion

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    Just because they are able to say the words they recognize from a sixth grade text doesn't mean they can understand or comprehend it at that level. In order for that child to read at that level they must be able to comprehend it and prove it through summary, retelling and relating it to text, self, or experience. My own students can read chapter books but comprehend what they are reading at the same level as a sixth grader, I highly doubt it.
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I must step in here. I was that child. My parents moved me up the grade ladder and I suffered horribly for it. I know they only wanted the best for me, but, as has been said, there's so much more to school than reading. I read well and had scary abilities in math, but I was immature. I would have been immature even with my peers, but it was even worse a grade level ahead. Academically, the one grade level didn't do much anyway. I had teachers who created lessons just for me and I was challenged that way. High school was even worse. I was taking Calculus (12th), Western Civ (10th), Chemestry (11th) and 10th grade English/grammar (they didn't start lit until 11th grade), all while I should have been an 8th grader. To top it all off, I was at a boarding school, which can be a VERY lonely place if you have no social skills. I think I may have been able to handle high school better if I wasn't so friendless and completely lacking in social skills to begin with.

    Please, tell this mom from somebody who has "been there", that skipping a grade is one of the worst things you can do for the child's overall development, at least in my opinion.
     
  7. SuzieQ

    SuzieQ Companion

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    My dad skipped fourth grade and to this day he feels that it had a negative impact on him socially. His parents adopted him and they were not the ones to push this but rather the teachers.
     
  8. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    My own DD was an early reader. Her K teacher suggested that she was gifted ( not sure that is accurate, though she is lovely!). The school handled it by scheduling her into reading, writing, and spelling in the classroom with the grade ahead. All the rest of the day she was with her peers. They did this for her from K-8th grade. It was a good solution. And she actually was not gifted as the definition implies - her skills in most academics were high, but not outstanding from her peers. Maybe this would be something to discuss with your principal as a last ditch solution. But as you stated, second grade is not going to solve this. And she sure can't go into sixth grade!!
     
  9. rara_avis20

    rara_avis20 Rookie

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    Tests

    I've given her the John's BRI (Basic Reading Inventory) -- it has graded reading lists, then graded passages and comprehension question. According to this test, she both reads and comprehends at a 6th grade level. I've started doing running records with her as well to determine her specific reading level, rather than just a grade level, but it's taking a long time since she is such a good reader.

    The mother called my principal today, and she in turn came to talk to me. I told the principal about the tests I gave her and she immediately thought we should put her in 2nd grade. She asked how I could possibly meet her needs in my 1st grade class. I told her that when we do guided reading, I would probably have her on her own and have her do things with chapter books and focus on comprehension, rather than reading skills. You see, the school hasn't done guided reading in a very long time, if ever. It was my idea to go with guided reading this year...and it took a lot of convincing to win over the principal and the other teachers. I'm almost the only teacher there who knows what it is....that makes it even more difficult for the kid to move up to 2nd grade...what if that teacher doesn't know what to do with her??

    Anyway, the principal called the mother after talking with me and apparently told her that moving up to 2nd was an option. SO, we're all meeting on Thursday morning to discuss things. I know the girl won't have trouble with the work in 2nd grade, and that seemed to be my principal's only concern. No one seems to be worried about social issues. Not to mention, the 2nd grade class is not the brightest this year, and they're immature -- so I really don't think she's going to be any more challenged.

    Call me conceited, but I kind of think she'd be better off in my class...I'm a certified literacy specialist and I know how to differentiate (unlike the other teachers in my school). Argh! It's just so frustrating!!
     
  10. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Can you do a little research regarding the detriments of bumping kids up a grade to present at the meeting? Get the second grade teacher on your side? Convince the mother that she will do just great, her self esteem will soar, she will learn to be a peer helper, she will be allowed to mature with her age group, and spend her childhood at the top of her class???

    I think it is just horrible when parents do this to their kids. What is the rush?
     
  11. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I'm in a similar situation. One of my third graders is extremely advanced in her reading skills. I'm also trying to convince my principal to go to a guided reading/workshop model. I've given this child 'The True Confessions of Charolotte Doyle' for us to read together. We'll do ONE chapter a day (she could read the whole thing in one night), and then discuss it and do projects with it. It's her own independent project. I wish I could do that with all the kids...
     
  12. TeacherC

    TeacherC Connoisseur

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    I hope you can win over the mom... It's sad that the mom and P don't seemed concerned about the social development- I guess that teachers really see that in the interaction between students, maybe something they wouldn't see as much. I agree with PP, maybe getting the second grade teacher on your side would help. Could you also put together a quick independent study idea- just a sample to show them how you could differentiate? Good luck! :)
     
  13. TiffanyL

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    I agree that skipping a grade isn't ALWAYS the answer, but sometimes it is an option. My own daughter skipped kinder and went straight to first. She was an early reader, etc. She was also the youngest of four children. Her siblings were much older than her (all teens). She was always trying to keep up with them emotionally. My husband and I were finished having "little children" when she came along. She seemed to grow up really fast in our "adult-like" family.

    She is now seven and in the 3rd grade. She is actually in my class this year. I often worried greatly about how she would do, how junior high would go, etc. But, I have to say that I can't imagine her as a 2nd grader this year. She fits in with her peers. She is in the high reading group and the average math group. There are other kids further advanced than her and some less advanced. She holds her own and fits in nicely. If I had to do it all over again, I can finally say that I wouldn't change a thing (I wasn't so confident in the beginning). She loves her friends dearly and can relate to them so much better than kids her own age.

    I guess my point is that these things have to be taken on a case by case basis. What works for one child may not always work for another child, as we all know.
     
  14. Carebear05

    Carebear05 Comrade

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    I have a student this year who is at least reading on a 3rd grade level. She didnt really skip Kindergarten..but last yr was in a christian k4 class...which is more or less pre-school for public schools but they call it Kindergarten. Anyway, her mom wanted her to go to 1st because she was reading so high. I was actually excited to get her. But now I kinda wish she was in Kindergarten. She drives me nuts *lol*...she can read well..but her listening skills and other skills are not there. Some of our math manipulatives she has had trouble with..and she is so unorganized. I know that some kids can be very mature for their age..I had some last yr. But even tho I had some very high students last yr, I still saw areas that they either needed improvement or things that they may have missed if they hadnt been in 1st. Being able to read and comprehend well is one thing, but there are so many other skills that 1st graders learn, and not being subjected to them could be bad in the end.
    I know it will be crappy if the mom and principal do not listen to you and your reasoning..but if they move her and she falls behind, at least you can say you tried. They cannot blame you for it.
     
  15. snickydog

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    I was one of those early readers, too... In first grade I went into the sixth grade classrooms to check out books from those teachers. My parents (thankfully!) never pushed a grade change, and I am so grateful for that. I would suggest giving her novels that are still age-appropriate (high readability, lower interest) as her GR and, like another poster suggested, do more "independent study" type of work.
     
  16. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    You could also point out other milestones this girl will encounter behind her peers-middle school at 10 or 11, no license until junior or senior year, graduating and going to college at 17. I'm not sure of the girl's age, so maybe this isn't accurate...
     
  17. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    While grade skipping sometimes works, it usually does not. Your DD is the exception and I'm really happy that it's working for her. Most kids have a very tough time socially when they skip grades. Kids are usually MUCH better off if the teacher can provide sufficient academic stimulation in a same age classroom.
     
  18. Kinder Preppie

    Kinder Preppie Rookie

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    Let this parent know that skipping her daughter will make her the youngest in high school. While she is going into high school at age 12 or 13, some of the boys will have failed twice and will be 19 or 20. Perhaps this will help her to reconsider....
     
  19. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    It's more than just social development. I moved a kid ahead one year - we put him in second grade in March planning for him to be a third grader the following year.

    The biggest problem was that he didn't have the maturity to handle the increased volume and complexity of second grade work. Second grade assignments are longer than in first grade. Second grade material is more complex and requires a child to sit for a longer period of time in order for the teacher to explain it.

    All of these things become issues regardless of how well a child reads.
     
  20. rara_avis20

    rara_avis20 Rookie

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    More Happenings

    Late last night I got an email from the mother and she wanted to know if her daughter could "visit" 2nd grade today and tomorrow. I asked my principal about it, and she said it was a great idea. So the kid went to 2nd grade for half a day today, and will be there the whole day tomorrow. The kid loved 2nd grade today...and she came back all snotty (she was there in the morning). She came back and couldn't stop telling the other kids that she's going to 2nd grade because she's so smart and needs harder work. This is a side of the kid I hadn't seen before! I had no idea she'd have that attitude.

    The mother doesn't seem to want to discuss other options, so it looks like she's gonna be moving up. She's already planning on not coming back to my room after tomorrow...I don't know what her parents told her about it. Hopefully it'll work out, but given her recent snotty-ness, I'm a little worried about her attitude changing.
     
  21. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    See if you can find an older kid - could be in the same school, could be recruited from the local middle school or high school - who can mentor this little girl: she needs to hear from someone who's been in more or less her shoes that it's inappropriate and unwelcome to brag on one's own intelligence.
     
  22. Primer

    Primer New Member

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    Welcome to the proverbial club. I always have those parents and I wish I had a pat answer that would satisfy them, but it isn't that simple is it? I would be very interested to know how your meeting goes on Thursday.
    I always tell my parents that my program is very open ended. I encourage my students (who range form non readers to high ones) to think out of the box. I have different expectations for those strong able students and try to model, motivate and assist them to use their strong abilities to extend their work, but one thing not all parents understand is there sometimes is a big difference from reading to written or verbal expression. It is what and how the children use what they read to transfer to their written and verbal reflections. Some children are able to do this right off the bat, while others are still learning how to transfer this to other areas of literacy.
    I know I am going to have to meet with this parent to really understand what she means and if I could be assured she would come with some patience and faith in my ability as a 20t years teacher, it would be much easier to deal with these ever so "common" questions.
    Good luck!
     
  23. rara_avis20

    rara_avis20 Rookie

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    I got another email from the mother today that seemed to be from a different person! She now seems to be thinking more about the fact that this could be a harmful decision. SO, I guess it'll all come down to our meeting tomorrow morning.

    I sent her an email this afternoon stating a lot of the things you people have mentioned on here...I'm hoping I'm not overstepping my bounds...I've never even met the woman! I think I may have sounded a little "preachy" in my email, but I hope she can see I'm just trying to help.

    The 2nd grade teacher said she thinks the kid is coming to her class tomorrow, but the mother didn't say anything about it in her email...she seemed to be completely unsure of whether or not she was moving up. So, I don't know what to do in the morning! Should I be expecting her? Should I not? I have no clue. Also, for 2 days, she hasn't been there to do the homework...if she stays, do I make her make it up?
     
  24. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    The main thing you should probably focus on is that second grade will be absolutely no more challenging in reading than first grade for her daughter, but will be more challenging in other ways that might not be evaluated accurately (like social growth). If you're going to differentiate individually for her in first grade, it's basically the same as second grade.

    I don't suggest you question whether the girl's reading level is "actually" sixth-grade level. Where it actually is is irrelevant as long as second grade isn't going to be significantly challenging in terms of reading.

    Stress that it's a big decision, that you want to weigh all factors carefully, and that you want to do what's best for her daughter. And, that you don't want to overlook opportunities -- "grade skip" is at best an extremely blunt instrument (which probably lends to the difficulties it can cause).
     
  25. daizie75

    daizie75 Rookie

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    We had a little girl in my school who skipped first grade and third grade. I never felt comfortable with the concept. I could see it for some kids - one year (an early one). But the decision should certainly not be base solely on reading level. The girl that was in my school is a fifth grader this year and she's 8. I wonder what the parents will think when her classmates are going through puberty. I can't imagine if I had been 12 when my classmates were 14.
     
  26. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Yes stick to the issues:
    1) If she is reading at a 6th grade level, 2nd grade won't address the problem any more than 1st grade
    2) the possible negative effects in the long term have to be considered - are they really worth sticking her in a class where she will always be the baby, the smallest, the most immature?

    In my teaching career I have had one truly gifted student in first grade. He came into my class at a very high reading level. He excelled in most academic subjects. He also understood the workings of math, language, and science in an almost intuitive way.

    He was socially skilled and beloved by his classmates. They knew if they got stuck in their reading, they could always go ask Johnny (they came up with that as on of their reading strategies!). Johnny was always willing to help. He never once played the part of "I am smarter than you." He was very humble and giving, the kind of kid who will grow up to be a genius and use his genius for the betterment of society. None of this snotty attitude stuff.

    He was a behind his peers athletically, in a classroom full of natural athletes. They in turn included him and helped him. He was also challenged by his small motor skills, so that was something he really had to work at. I developed an individual program for him to supplement his classwork, but he was expected to do all the things everyone else did. I just made sure I had some interesting things for him to do when he whizzed through things!

    Yes there is a lot more to first grade, and life, than reading.
     
  27. rara_avis20

    rara_avis20 Rookie

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    Well, I guess the damage is done and the drama is over. We had our meeting today -- the parents, me, the 2nd grade teacher, and the principal. The little girl was in there too for a little while. She was upset and told them she wanted to stay in 1st grade. However, the principal and the 2nd grade teacher managed to convince the parents to push her into 2nd. SO, I'm down to 20 kids now. We'll see how it goes I guess. Poor kid was crying this morning before the meeting. She didn't know which class to go to because she had been going to 2nd grade for 2 days, and on top of that, she said she wanted to stay in 1st...though the only reason she gave was she missed her 1st grade friends...I guess that wasn't a strong enough argument for the parents.
     
  28. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    I'm flabbergasted that they would put her into second grade against her wishes. Just because she wasn't able to articulate a full list of reasons doesn't mean there aren't any.
     
  29. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    How did this all work out?
     
  30. CyndyRR327

    CyndyRR327 New Member

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    I'm a special Ed teacher in high school and my son is also reading at a 6th grade level and he is in 1st grade. His comprehension score for that material was 100%. I'm not really interested in him moving up a grade, but honestly I don't know what to do with him! LOL.

    Are there book series that more challenging for him, but the material is appropriate for a 1st grader??

    What should I be looking to see if his teacher is doing with him to ensure he is getting challenging projects?
     
  31. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Wow...this is an OLD thread...

    Appropriate is the key...there aren't many 6th grade 'current' books appropriate for a first grader. You might try some classics...
     
  32. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Really, czacza? I'm a bit surprised; I would think an advanced first grader would have lots of options for more advanced reading -- I know books like Twilight or The Hunger Games may not be appropriate for first graders (not really sure they're appropriate for sixth graders, either), but what about books like Frindle or The Hobbit or the first of the Harry Potter series (which might be more like fourth grade rather than sixth, but still...)
     
  33. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I think czacza's emphasis is on "current", 3Sons, as in 'published in the last two or three years'. The books you've mentioned all date back before then.
     
  34. M213

    M213 New Member

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    Apr 2, 2020 at 4:02 PM

    I have a student who is in 6th grade, but can read at an 11th grade level
     

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