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gwentx
gwentx asks:
Q:

Teacher wants to retain my 2nd grader. I'm not sure what to do.

Up until her 2nd grade year, my daugher made all A's. This year, she made all B's and a 68 in Reading for the year. Since they combine Reading with English, she had an average of 75 on her language arts. On the end of the year test, she passed the comprehension. She reads on a 2nd grade level. She should read on 2nd grade level 5. She is a 2nd grade level 3. She only reads 53 wpm and should read 90 wpm. She was diagnosed through the school with Irlan Syndrome. They are testing her for dyslexia. She is begging me to let her move on to third. I'm worried for her since she did poorly on Reading. My husband wants to send her to a tutor over the summer and move her to 3rd grade with her friends. I've signed her up for the reading club at the local library. I have found a tutor. This is so hard. I'm not sure what to do. I'm a very hands on mom and hate to see her struggle.
In Topics: School and Academics, Helping my child with reading, Learning issues and special needs
> 60 days ago

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Expert

lkauffman
May 20, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

It sounds like this has been a very stressful decision, and I am glad to know that you are doing all that you can to better understand the issues surrounding your daughter's academic and social progress. We are getting a lot of questions about grade retention on the site these days. I know that a lot of parents are considering the exact same question, so please know that you are not alone.

As you think about grade retention for your daughter, there are a number of issues to keep in mind. First, you should learn all that you can about research examining the short- and long-term effects of grade retention. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has published a position statement (which means that prominent members of the NASP got together, reviewed the evidence, and determined their official "position" on the issue) on grade retention. Dr. Jimerson at UCSB has also conducted a great deal of research in this area, and he has suggested that more comprehensive interventions should be considered rather than simply retaining a child. Overall, the research indicates that students who are held back/retained have worse outcomes academically and emotionally than their peers who were also candidates for retention, but who were promoted. For more on this, see links below.

Given the research on grade retention, and working under the assumption that your daughter is doing fine socially and emotionally, I do not think that grade retention is the right step for her at this point. Her grades and scores on the standardized tests indicate that she is doing grade-level work (just not the level of achievement she is capable of). And, given that she has demonstrated a learning difficulty, I believe the appropriate step is to implement accommodations via an Individualized Education Plan (assuming your daughter qualifies for special education). The results of the testing should be very interesting, and I recommend that you advocate for her to continue on to third grade next year with supports in place to help her be successful. And, as far as tutoring over the summer, I think that would be very beneficial. If possible, try and identify a tutor who has specific experience in working with students with learning disabilities.

Good luck.

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Counseling Psychologist
Education.com
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Additional Answers (10)

Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Hello,
I would most definately work with her. I would recommend a workbook called Spectrum. You can get it at any bookstore just about. The stories are short and test daily in comprehension, vocabulary, study skills, and more. It also prepares the child well for the SAT given. I hope this helps and would not retain her. This is ridiculous advice since she is on grade level. When my daughter was in public school, she would bite her nails and scratch at her face. They caused so much anxiety regarding reading, and she literally shut down. I had to pull her out and let her have a 3 month break of no reading. I slowly pulled her out of that anxiety and she can now read on a 7th grade reading level ( she is in 4th). So please do not get discouraged. Just you take control of the reading and do not depend on the public school ;)
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Spectrum Reading is the name of the program. All you need is to look up her grade.
> 60 days ago

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gwentx
gwentx writes:
Should I get her the Spectrum Reading for 2nd grade or for 3rd grade?
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
I would pick 2nd grade. No need to pick a grade higher because you want her confidence to grow in reading ;) Have her read out loud to you one day and then you read out loud to her. She will learn the "pace" by hearing you read. Good Luck
> 60 days ago

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teacher3rdgrade
teacher3rdg... writes:
I whole heartedly agree with the other opinions. Do not let them retain her. Socially it can be devestating. Academically, she dosen't sound too far behind.
I teach in a high poverty school and as a third grade teacher, I begin the year with between 2-6 students reading on grade level, the other 12 - 16 are below grade level. Most students are one to two years behind in reading. I focus on reading improvement during the year. Most students make good gains, others make some improvements, but not as much as I would like. However, I do not try to retain any of them and I hate it when I get students that have been retained. They do not seem to improve as much as they should when they stay in one grade for two years. They are getting the same information again. For the most part it seems better to use tutoring and challenge them at a higher level. A good teacher will focus on the students interest to help them improve.
The best way for a student to improve their reading skills is to have parental support at home. Go to the library and have her choose books that are interesting to her and near her reading level. Spend at least 30 minutes everyday letting her read to you. Use this a quality time together. Snuggle up and enjoy the book together. After she is done reading it talk about the book. Discuss the characters, the setting, the problem and solution in the story, and ask her questions to see if she understands what is going on. If she spends 30 minutes everyday reading over the summer, her fluency (WPM) will increase, and her comprehension will get better.

The tutor is a great idea, but don't let it replace you as an involved parent. Still spend time everyday reading together. This can help her learn to enjoy books. Once a child has a love for reading, there is not stopping them.
> 60 days ago

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MissTeach
MissTeach writes:
Remember that you know your daughter best. While I agree that retaining can be tough, some students need it. Often it's done best with a change of school because it won't be as hard socially.  It's actually so hard in my school to allow a student to be retained I've never heard of it actually being done.  So I'd ask the teacher why, and what does she see for next year?  
 I have had students who are reading at a Kindergarten and 1st grade level in 3rd grade and every day they complain of being sick.  Since your daughter doesn't seem too far behind then you may be able to work her through it this summer and this next year.  3rd grade is a tough year and usually this is where seperation of "I got it" and the "I kind of have it" comes out.  The more a student reads and finds what they love to read- the better their success. Whatever you do- don't make it a chore!  Reading should be fun and spur imagination. If you send her on- see if a teacher does reading workshop and book boxes ask for a teacher known for their love of reading- we all have our strengths. Or, maybe there is a 2/3 combo that your daughter could be in.


* Another note- often if your student is given an IEP than she will not allowed to be retained for the rest of her academic career.  We had this happen to a parent of a 5th grader at our school. *
> 60 days ago

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LDSolutions
LDSolutions , Child Professional writes:
If your daughter has Dyslexia - then she is going to need a very specialized system of learning how to read.  The program will need to be structured, systematic, sequential and cumulative. All of this needs to be taught in a multi-sensory method. This means she will need to work step by step through a series of skills until she has mastered the skill.  With dyslexia, the pace of how each student learns will vary.  I suggest you hire a specialized tutor that is trained in Orton-Gillingham that can work with your daughter on her reading skills.  Just any tutor isn't going to cut it.  It needs to be a teacher trained in students that have Irlan Syndrome and Dyslexia.   A child with dyslexia learns differently and needs to be taught differently.  There is a super great book you should read.  It is called: Parenting a Struggling Reader - Hall and Moats.  It will give you wonderful suggestions on working with a child with dyslexia and Irlan Syndrome and what to do.  You will love that book.
> 60 days ago

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gwentx
gwentx writes:
We got her test results back. Jolee is not dyslexic. We went to the bookstore and got the Spectrum Reading workbook as well as the Language Arts. We also went and got three first grade books to read from the public library. My plan is to read all first grade books in June, second grade books in July, and venture into third grade books in August before she returns to school. She starts tutoring this week as well. I HOPE I made the right decision by moving her on to third grade.
> 60 days ago

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Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
I'm glad you made that choice. With Spectrum, it will also prepare her for these tests they give. I know it is an SAT prep. However, what is the most important thing is to instill confidence. If she messes up, then don't make too big a deal of it. Simply, continue on and reassure her she can do it ;) Also, you read too. The children can pick up the pace from you by listening. When my daughter gained her confidence back, I simply worked with her on the pace. I told her not to drag but to have a consistent flow when reading. Good Luck ;)
> 60 days ago

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Jander
Jander writes:
I most definately agree with getting her tested FULLY to see exactly what her needs are, then have an ARD meeting and develop and IEP(Individual Educ. Plan), with tutoring over the summer, and a constant visit to the library or bookstore to help enhance her reading ability.
  
Although this situation seems to be atypical; as an educator, I have found that parents get so caught up in what it looks like for them, if their child needs more time (retained) that they'd rather send the child on to the next grade knowing full well that they are not ready just because it looks good socially. At each grade level, there are more expections, and a higher degree of difficulty in student performance. How socially great is it for a child to be with his or her peers, but is possibly performing at a slower rate than them?

In this case, I don't see why she couldn't go on to the next grade and do fairly well.  Good luck!!
> 60 days ago

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