Language Arts in Kindergarten

Parents ask me from time to time why I am so passionate about Kindergartners learning letters and sounds, writing and doing some early reading in Kindergarten.  The answer is simple.  When a child is able to successfully read and express themselves in writing, then all of the other subject areas will fall into place.  A child must be able to read the directions on the math worksheets, read the Science book, read about famous Americans, and as the years go on, do their Physics and Biology…Have you looked in any first grade classrooms lately? Language Arts abound! Not to mention the reading level that first graders are supposed to achieve by the end of first grade.  It’s astounding! Kindergarten classrooms should be rich in print, oral language, stories and story retelling, poetry, nursery rhymes, writing opportunities, and exposure to books that are read by others as well as books with simple (very simple) text on each page. Learning to read and write is a developmental milestone and we cannot make a child learn these skills until they are developmentally ready, but we can offer an environment that exposes these young children to our wonderful language in text, stories and oral language.  Here in Kindergarten we are building the strong reading readiness foundation needed for first grade, you and your child will have to do the rest!

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3 Comments

Filed under Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Reading, Writing

3 responses to “Language Arts in Kindergarten

  1. Really good points, Claire. So important to prepare children for the challenges that lay ahead. At the same time, there has been a lot of discussion in my classes about Kindergartens becoming very academic….too academic? Do you see a troubling trend in that direction, or do you see a needed emphasis on pre-literacy skills? Thanks for your perspective–good to hear from an experienced Kindergarten teacher.

  2. kindergartenteacherclaire

    Hello
    You are right that the trend is to expect more academics in kindergarten. We are testing and teaching what I taught in first grade back in the 80’s. We demand more from these young children and the last time I checked these are STILL 5 year old brains coming into my classroom that have developed like a 5 year old brain should and we can only expect so much. We see more melt downs than ever before as these young children are being asked to do more and more when they do not have the academic or emotional maturity to deal with it. I run my classroom very developmentally, still offering the easels and blocks where as many of my colleagues have packed those ‘toys’ away in lieu of worksheets and more worksheets. To what purpose? I take pride in the fact the my Kindergartners leave me in June writing and illustrating small books and being able to handle small problems on their own and THINK on their own. We don’t do many worksheets but their are other ways of evaluating as worksheets are so not developmentally appropriate for Kindergarten. I even talked to a preschool teacher who gave her preschoolers spelling tests in order to better prepare them for Kindergarten!!! Yikes. Where is this going? Children who come to me with a database of 100 words that they can spell correctly are not risk takers and will never venture outside of their safety net of words that they know. Give me a child just learning letters and sounds any day and wow, just watch them take off throughout the year because they have received no pressure from home nor do they receive it from me.

  3. So well put, Claire. I got chills reading about your inviting, encouraging, delightful classroom. Besides getting ready for the next grade, I bet your students also got something else: a love of learning and school. That is priceless, and I fear the kids doing yet another worksheet aren’t finding much of that.

    Thanks, so glad I found your blog!

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