By: Krystle Crossman
It seems like children are being pushed to grow up sooner and sooner these days. While it may seem like a good idea, pushing them to read at an early age can set them up to dislike reading as they get older. Many kindergartens have done away with the fun creative learning toys and instead are pushing heavy education at the kids.
A study that was conducted by the University of Virginia found that kindergarten is turning into first grade with the amount of work that they are being made to do so early on. The study looked at data that spanned from 1998 to 2006 to see how kindergartens have changed and how the teachers have changed. In 1998, 31% of teachers said that kindergarten children should be reading when they are in kindergarten. In 2006 that number had jumped up to 65%. Those weren’t the only numbers that jumped either. The hours spent learning to read in a kindergarten class went up from 5.5 hours per week to 7 hours per week.
The National Center for Education statistics has put out a list of things that kids usually know upon entering kindergarten. This of course is not applicable to all children but is more of a general list.
– Many kids entering kindergarten do not have early reading skills
– Only 1 in 50 kids can actually read basic or complex words
– 61% of kids know that you should be reading left to right
– 66% of kindergarteners recognize the letters of the alphabet
– They may not be able to read basic words by sight yet
– Some kindergarteners cannot point out a letter by hearing the sound that it makes
In order for children to learn and retain the information, they need to be enthusiastic about it. If they aren’t excited about what they are learning or if they feel like they are being forced to learn something that they are not ready to, they are much less likely to keep the information in or less likely to focus on the task at hand. Normal kids learn at their own pace but unfortunately schools are not allowing them that freedom anymore and instead, they make them sit down and focus on one thing. Small children generally only have a limited amount of time that they can spend focused on one thing.
Here are some of the problems that can occur just by pushing a child to try and read before they are ready to:
– If a child is not yet reading in kindergarten and they are made to feel like they have a problem, they could end up developing a problem that wasn’t there to begin with.
– Children lose the point of the story that they are reading because everything is so focused on the sounds of the words and how they are being read.
– Children learn to hate reading. It becomes something of a chore for them.
– Children become competitive in an unhealthy way if they believe that they are supposed to be doing certain things by certain times.
– Pushing them too soon goes against most research that has been done on cognitive learning.
– They don’t get to socialize and play as much because they are too busy learning how to read instead of putting on puppet shows or having tea parties.