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Kindergarten Reading May Harm Some

Teaching kindergarteners to read is nothing new. But a report looking specifically at the Common Core State Standards grade specific requirements is questioning whether meeting those standards is even possible for all kindergarteners, and whether pushing them toward meeting the standards isn't harmful in the long run.

In their report “Reading in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose,” the children's advocacy groups Defending the Early Years and Alliance for Childhood question this academic push on the nation's youngest school children.

They write that research shows a significant number of children are not developmentally ready to read in kindergarten. But pressure to ensure kids meet the new requirements is leading to inappropriate classroom practices, such as teacher-to-student direct instructions, worksheets and table work and too much sitting.

The report points out there is no research demonstrating any long-term gains from learning to read in kindergarten, though there is evidence that played-based programs show greater long-term gains than academic kindergartens.

The reports argues the nation is setting "unrealistic reading goals and frequently using inappropriate methods to accomplish them." They say that these goals are harming those who the education leaders claim to be helping the most. "The adoption of the Common Core State Standards falsely implies that having children achieve these standards will overcome the impact of poverty on development and learning, and will create equal educational opportunity for all children."

Image via Twenty20/AndreasCakesGalore

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