falling behind

A kindergarten classroom in Afghanistan.

Image via Wikipedia

I teach kids who are behind in their reading. Some are a bit behind and some are waaaaaay behind. I teach second graders who are not yet in the special education system to see if we can turn the around before that becomes necessary.

But, lately I am beginning to wonder about something. Certain kids fall behind, they are taken out of the classroom to work in very small groups ot 1:1 with a teacher, they catch up, they go back to class. They fall behind again. All new learning is hard for them.

OK, so that’s telling us that this is a kid who totally benefits from being in a small class all the time- a possibility that may or may not be doable. But that’s also telling us that that kiddo is a lagger, for lack of a better word. He/she tends to lag a bit. 

Will they always tend to be a bit behind? (sadly, this seems to be the case- and they don’t always have a learning disability or any handicap at all)

If so, would another year in the same grade make a difference? Research says retention isn’t helpful in the long run.

Would a readiness class have helped that kid?

Would staying out of Kindergarten another year been a good idea?

We read to our kids all the time and especially at night when they were little and now the boys read only for school, but they don’t fall behind in their skills on standardized tests.

Huge difference between high school and elementary school, but my point is that my boys have done practically nothing to maintain their skills but can do well on SSATs, PSATs, etc.

There may still be time for my laggers but will it require immersion a lot like—dare I say it—whole language? I mean, how else does public school mimic Mommy/Daddy at home?

I’m curious- tell me what you think.

Go to work, talk with your colleagues and come back and tell me what they think. Then we can see where we are and I’ll try to cull our thoughts together.


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About Deb Beaupre

I am a teacher and a mother who loves to read and hates to exercise but must. I live in the boonies and have three athletic kids and a cat and a horse.I touch neither. I grow flowers, not food. I am from Boston and so nobody understands what I say but that's okay, because no one around here talks much anyhow. Things I have done I never expected to do:own a horse and be asked to help catch a runaway cow. Thing I will never do: deliver a baby lamb.

3 responses to “falling behind”

  1. My Kansas Education says :

    PS – still, even if that were the case, it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to see what the school should be doing. After-school enrichment? Parent education?

    • Deb Beaupre says :

      Exactly- what to do. I am not sure it is the parents or the home or both or what. Where’s Malcolm Gladwell when we need him? I am exploring this question more closely in my school with my students and my colleagues; it is an ongoing discussion for me. Maybe I will find some answers- please come back and share if anything occurs to you, or you read something you think would be helpful or of intererst to me.

  2. My Kansas Education says :

    I wonder if it’s possible some of your laggers have less enrichment at home. That might be enough to put them at a comparable disadvantage compared to classmates whose parents read to/with them at home every night. My background is in high school teaching and I only have limited experience at the elementary level, but it seems to me that at least some of the difference in ability among early elementary students is due to what they are doing, or not doing, at home.

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