My son is in 2nd grade, I held him out the first two weeks waiting for the district do a grade level test. We just moved to Pa. They said he was at 2nd grade level with a need for extra reading class, in the first week his teacher and I noticed he is not at all up to 2nd grade level. The principal does not want to retain him with this new study showing kids retained drop out in high school. I know I should of been retained in 2nd grade but they kept pushing me forward even though I was struggling for years, as soon as I got to 10th grade I dropped out.I want better for my son, so on that note am I doing the right thing by retaining him? That means he will be in a new classroom, new teacher; its already a new school, new town I'm afraid its all to much for him to handle. Help please
From: Jeanette, Monroeville, PA
Holding a child back continues to be a hot-button topic, that continually generates headlines, including this one in Sunday's New York Times: "Delay Kindergarten at Your Child's Peril." Every time I answer a question about it here, there is always a heated discussion. So here I go:
I'm an advocate for meeting a child's individual needs; the principal's idea of sticking to a policy on principle is inflexible and wrong-minded. One policy does not fit all.
On the other hand, second grade is a tough time to hold back (when I've recommended it the past, I was always talking about kindergarten), especially since he's started the year and, as you point out, already made a bunch of major adjustments.
With that in mind, I would keep him where he is and use every resource you can think of -- the teacher, a tutor, the school librarian, the guidance counselor, the town library -- to get him the extra help he needs and to instill a love of reading. Would a literacy program help? Does he need an Individual Educational Plan? Does he need glasses? Spend time at the library with him, get to know the librarian, have her recommend books, do all you can to read to him on a daily basis, to sprinkle your home with reading material. Be a parent who models a love of reading. And if that isn't you, if you hate to read because it's hard for you -- get yourself some help. I can't think of anything that would be a better role model than for you to say to your son, "I never learned how to read well; let's do this together."
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