Discussion Forums - Homeschoolers' Corner Homeschoolers' Corner

Topic: Reading By First Grade?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Reading By First Grade?
Date Posted: 8/14/2009 9:40 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
Back To Top

Our youngest is 6 and still not quite reading. Should I be concerned about letting him start 1st grade?

We're in a satellite program that offers weekly classes and I don't want he to have trouble there. However, I don't feel it necessary to do kindergarten over, although that was the unsolicited advice I got from one of the group leaders. Their basing it on low standardized test scores in reading. He scored average or better in all other subjects though.

I don't remember the big push to be reading by first grade, as a matter of fact, it was one of the things we focused on in first grade. Is the standard really that high now? That kidlets are expected to be reading before starting first grade?

The decision is fully up to me & DH and we've decided to go ahead with first grade. I think I'm just here looking for reassurance, lol.

Date Posted: 8/14/2009 11:24 AM ET
Member Since: 6/6/2007
Posts: 89
Back To Top

My son, now 12, entered  the gifted program in public school in 1st grade and his teacher considered him  a "non-reader" can't remember the criteria she used.  We read books since he could sit up and he always looked at books but it didn't quite all come together until later in 1st grade.  She said it was perfectly normal and that one day it would just "click" -a nd it reallyd id happen that way. now he is a voracious reader.  All kids develop at different speeds.  Cou books and ld you just skip the classes for awhile and let him just keep looking at books and enjoying them without the pressure to actually read? 

Date Posted: 8/14/2009 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
Back To Top

Char do you mean start 1st grade homeschool? I don't know what you mean by a satellite system (sorry). Have you worked on teaching reading yet in a structured way yet?

Date Posted: 8/14/2009 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
Back To Top

He's already taken a standardized test before 1st grade?  Wow! 

I think it's perfectly, 100% normal to not be reading at the end of kindergarten.

I don't know what a satellite program is and I can't speak as to whether you should put him in a certain program with certain expectations but from a developmental standpoint, I wouldn't be worried at all.


Date Posted: 8/14/2009 10:01 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
Back To Top

Yes he had standardized testing in K. Our homeschool group is linked to a private Christian shcool (hence satellite) and they require testing starting in K and every year thereafter. I think it boosts there overall test scores and makes the school look better or some such nonsense.

The classes he'll take really don't require reading. He'll have Chapel, PE and a library class where the teacher reads to them, they pick out books and do a craft so I'm not worried that he'll be worried about having to read or anything.

I really didn't think there were that many kidlets reading before first grade so I thought maybe I'm behind the times now. Hmm.


Date Posted: 8/14/2009 11:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2009
Posts: 4,841
Back To Top


Standardized testing is not the end all either. But if your concerned find out exactly what part of the "reading" part of the test he was weak in. That way you can focus on that aspect of reading. It could be vocabulary, or phonics, or comprehension, or fluency (how fast), or some other things they test for. My grandson, like the other children in his private school class, started out learning to read at the beginning of 1st grade and by the time 1st grade finished he was doing great. Some kids love to read early on and are on chapter books by the start of 2nd grade, ot My grandson still like to read books with colorful pictures. Well to be honest, so do I. Lol. I'll be homeschooling him for the first time this year. I'm so happy for him. He won't have to be stressed out with boring repetitious material. I have a Unit Study curriculum that I made for him with books that he will just adore. It will be so interesting and fun for him. I'm really looking forward to it. Don't fret, your son will be just fine. Just enjoy the books together.


Happy 1st grade to you and your son,



Last Edited on: 8/14/09 11:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/20/2009 9:55 AM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2007
Posts: 43
Back To Top

I homeschooled a boy and girl years ago.  He (the oldest) is a very strong audio learner with impulsitivity/attention span difficulties.  He did not read until 3rd grade and did not enjoy reading until 6th grade.  Now he LOVES to read.  His early learning was very hands on, time consuming, but also VERY effective.  He learned by doing, life experiences, field trips, etc.  Alas, now he is in high school (public).  However, he is also in the gifted program.  This coming year he is doubling up on his languages.  I hope to introduce a third next year or at least in college.  Like I said, a strong audio learner.

I understand what our family did may not be feasible for everyone.  But we all enjoyed learning about Science, History and Geography first hand. 

Hope this helps.

Last Edited on: 8/20/09 9:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/22/2009 12:24 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 662
Back To Top

Keep in mind that the only reason the "standard" that kids need to read by first grade is that in school, much of the learning is textbook-driven.  If Johnny isn't reading, he'll miss out on history, math, etc.  In your homeschool, you can work on reading at his pace while covering other subjects in non-text-driven ways.  I remember reading years ago about a study of kids who learned to read by third grade:  by the end of their third or fourth grade year, they were at or above the level of their early-reading classmates.  Unfortunately, in a traditional classroom, those late readers would have probably given up by then, convinced that they were just "not as smart."  Yay for homeschooling and not having to match someone else's schedule! :) 

I would ask the Satellite school if you could take a look at their curriculum for first grade.  If it looks very text-driven, I would keep him home for a year and cover the same material in another way while he works on his reading.  Some kids just don't have the neurological connections yet at the end of kindergarten to be reading.  Just letting him get a little older will help.

(My own daughter was an early reader, but I've met too many smart kids that think they are dumb because they started reading "late."  For some of them, that feeling caused them to give up on school and learning.)

Date Posted: 8/22/2009 1:13 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2008
Posts: 407
Back To Top

I babysit a 5 yr old boy who's parents held him back this year because he wasn't ready for school, but they want me to homeschool him with our almost 5 yr old girl this year.  Our daughter is doing awesome with her phonics and writing and knows most of her letter sounds and can follow directions, but the boy even though he is older knows about 20-30 percent of his letters and has a very hard time trying to write anything even with trying to copy me and either can't/doesn't follow directions.  At first I was frustrated, but I think the above person hit the nail right on the head about things not connecting.  People learn at different paces and I know at least for me and the boy I babysit, I wish other parents knew it was okay.  They are just determined that he needs to know all of his alphabet asap.

Date Posted: 8/23/2009 7:21 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
Back To Top

I've always been convinced that (in general) boys take longer to teach anyway.

My older boy didn't learn how to read until nearly 2nd grade but my girls were reading before they started school. So I'm not concerned, just curious about whether kidlets are learning to read earlier nowdays than when I was in school or not. I suspect that there's been an increase in the number of kidlets who are reading by 1st grade but I wonder if it's a significant increase.

Dana- the school uses Abeka but they start 1st grade material in K.

The homeschool moms can choose any curriculum they like and the classes we hold there once a week are only for our homeschool group. (So we don't intermingle with the official school kidlets). But we still have to take the standardized testing in the spring though. So the only time questions come up are when those test scores are below normal.

Date Posted: 8/23/2009 9:53 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2007
Posts: 109
Back To Top

The thing about test scores is that somebody has to score below average-- that's what average means -- half above half below.

I totally wouldn't worry about it since the program works the way you describe it.

I have two very bright late reading boys, so know what that can be like.

Date Posted: 8/26/2009 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2008
Posts: 697
Back To Top


I believe I've heard that with No Child Left Behind, they are doing what used to be 1st grade work in K on up through the other grades.  Abeka has always had an advanced program.

My son learned to read in 3rd grade. He is now in college for Electrical Engineering and doing fine.  i was so glad we home-schooled and he didn't feel like he was behind.

Enjoy your year.


Subject: Headsprout
Date Posted: 9/5/2009 8:36 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 63
Back To Top

I found an online reading program that works incredibly well. Both my children absolutely loved it. It's totally engaging and feels more like a game than work and as a bonus they get computer skills to boot. If you have highspeed internet access I highly recommend it. You can also try a sample of the program to see if it's right for you. I tell everyone about it, that's how good it worked for us. Their website is www.headsprout.com

Date Posted: 9/5/2009 1:06 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
Back To Top

Hi Heidi.  Liked the concept of Headsprout but I can't afford the price. :(

I did the sample lessons and one thing that bugs me is that they pronounce the letter R as "er" instead of "r". I've noticed several different curriculums do that and it really bugs me. My oldest had the hardest time b/c he would pronouce words that started with R incorrectly b/c of that. For example he would say "er-abbit" instead of "rabbit". It was difficult to correct after he learned it incorrectly.

Sorry, I didn't mean to get off on a mini-rant.lol  I'll be quiet now.


Date Posted: 9/6/2009 2:40 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 63
Back To Top

There is always the cost, sigh.... It was worth the cost for me, my main reason for using the program was that the public school where my one child was supposed to learn to read totally failed her. After she had completed first grade with flying colors she still couldn't read and was falling behind. I didn't want to give them another chance so we chose this program. We homeschool now. First grade is when they are supposed to start to learn to read and if I'm not mistaken Kindergarten is fully state funded as a transition to structured school and not federally required so any testing in Kindergarten is required by the individual school. At the moment we live in Greece and have totally seen the benefit of the government paying for all the schooling up through University. When we went through Bulgaria, a gas station attendant had a masters in Philosophy because the gov. paid for it! An ex-communist state giving their kids the freedom to think for free. We make our kids pass tests so that schools can get funding. How backwards is that? If schools are failing they should receive more funding to fix the problems. Then we have to pay for University on top of that. Ah there's my mini-rant it had to happen sooner or later, lol. I can see how a child learning er-abbit would produce a mini-rant, that would drive me absolutely crazy. Both of my kids came away from the program reading their R's and all the other letters correctly and with the desire to want to read. You know I have some of the headsprout booklets (10 or so) that they give you hanging around, don't know if they would help at all, they are basic, short and cute. If you want them I will send them to you.

Date Posted: 9/10/2009 9:07 PM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2007
Posts: 6,567
Back To Top

My kids have all been a little delayed in reading and my 13yr old really didn't read well on her own till about age 9. We tried all kinds of programs, I tried adding tons of work to help her improve and lost many nights to tears.

People just kept telling me to relax and she'd learn when the time came. Kids learn at their own pace.

She is now 13 and reading nonstop! She has read all the Harry Potter Books & tons of other books too. She reads nonstop.

My 9yr old is a grade behind due to her late birthday but was also delayed on reading. But still ahead from where her sister was at 9.

My youngest also has a late birthday and a grade behind. He'll be 8 in a few days. He reads some but not fully on his own. We have tried diff. programs and he seems more like a whole word reader yet still needs to learn phonics.

We use Starfall.com which is free. Plus used ReadingA-Z.com is great and well worth the price. All 3 kids have used these sites and loved them.

The thing is remember he will catch on. Also if you think back to when you were 6 none of were fully reading on our own. Well, most of us were not.

I think schools today expect so much more than kids need to know. This is why so many schools are behind.

Date Posted: 9/17/2009 2:37 AM ET
Member Since: 1/6/2008
Posts: 3,693
Back To Top

I used to work as a teacher's aide in a first grade room and at the beginning of the year, every year, only a handful of the kids were readers.  And some of the ones who were considered readers were not very fluent.  First grade was when we really worked with them on learning to sound out words.  My niece is just starting first grade and only has a few sight words under her belt at this point.