Jeanette Beard: Kindergarten too early for reading test

2012-01-14T02:45:00Z Jeanette Beard: Kindergarten too early for reading testJeanette Beard madison.com
January 14, 2012 2:45 am  • 

A recent article described a grant Wisconsin has received to raise reading scores with a recommendation that the money be used to establish a consistent test for kindergartens. What a waste of money.

Over the 29 years I taught kindergarten, our administration required various tests. Kindergartners enter school with a range of background experiences. It is difficult to get an accurate score even when a test is administered one-to-one.

Scores earned in early testing are not very reliable in predicting future success. I have seen children do poorly on the Boehm Test of Basic Concepts, for example, and go on to become productive citizens in adulthood. In some European countries, formal reading instruction does not even begin until 8 years of age.

Kindergarten teachers are busy enough providing first-hand experiences and helping children enlarge their vocabulary and understanding. They do not need more record keeping. Most do a screening of alphabet/number recognition, letter/sound correspondence, and concepts of print.

Any money spent to help reading scores would be better applied to help parents gain parenting skills, and develop a kindergarten curriculum rich in hands-on experiences.

Jeanette Beard, Milton

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