Maybe you’ve seen those commercials from a competing tutoring company, in which a child tilts over and all of the numbers and letters spill out of his head at the end of the school year? When many children come back to school after the summer, it takes months to get them back to where they were at the end of the previous year. Retention of reading and writing skills is crucial as children move from Kindergarten to first grade. When children enter first grade, they are assessed and then placed in reading groups that match their present level of reading skill. Yet they may begin first grade far behind where they ended Kindergarten.
A parent of one of my Kindergarten students asked me this week to work with her child in Tyngsboro, MA, to help him retain the reading and writing skills that he has learned in my classroom this year. This child has blossomed from a student who knew his letters but could barely put them together to decode words, to a fluent reader who takes great pride in his ability to read Dr. Suess books. Neither this parent nor I want to see him enter first grade at a level that does not do justice to his burgeoning reading skills. This summer we will continue to work on phonics, whole-word reading strategies, and all of the skills necessary to allow him to move onto his next year of schooling with confidence and strong reading skills.