Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Elmbrook 5K enrollement requirements + reading ideas

4-K, 5K, Education, Elmbrook, Family

My posting on Dr. Gibson flirts with 4K again to cure Elmbrook budget woes sparked a bit of a controversy regarding Elmbrook's 5K enrollment requirements in the comment section.

MikeyD stated a startling bit of information in his/her comment, inferring that 4K was necessary: (My emphasis throughout. You can read all of the comments by clicking the above link.)

"...But I was very surprised that when entering 5K, children in Elmbrook are Expected to be able to read and write!  I was pretty astonished. Did any of you know that a 5K kindergartener is expected to be reading and writing? When I found this out, and in light of the very successful pilot program, I was all for 4K. Even if it only helps in the short term. Elmbrook has very high standards, a good thing, but if they expect this much from a 4.5 year old, they should have the means to make sure all students are at this level at the start of 5K, which would make 4K more than just a luxury and certainly not daycare.  They will be learning to read and write, doing math, it isn't all crackers and naps.

Then Kathryn relayed her experience: (Again, her entire comment is under the original posting.)

"MikeyD, I wonder if there was a miscommunication when this was discussed.  I too was startled when my non-reader brought home a book to "read."  Turns out it was more about getting going than presumed ability.  Certainly some children do enter kindergarten already reading and writing; in that sense  it is "expected."  Many other children enter unable to read and write, and that too is "expected." 

Which is it? Are children expected to be able to read and write to enter 5K, or is it just that some can?

So, I contacted Elmbrook Schools.

From:>>> "Kyle Prast"  8/25/2008 8:53 PM >>>

Could you please tell me what requirements or expectations there are for
enrolling a child in 5K? I would be interested in both the academic skills
necessary and social/emotional maturity level that you expect.

Thank you,
Kyle Prast

This was my reply on Sept. 9, 2008: 

The only requirement for enrolling a child in 5 year old kindergarten is that the child is 5 on or before September 1 of the enrolling year.  There are no academic or social-emotional benchmarks that the student needs to meet for entrance in to kindergarten.  
If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me.
Mary Washbush
Director of Curriculum and Student Learning
13780 Hope Street
PO Box 1830
Brookfield, WI 53008-1830
262-781-3030 x1111
262-790-4092 (Fax)
Now I would expect that the Director of Curriculum and Student Learning is giving us an accurate answer. She says, the only requirement is that they are 5 years old!
So if your little 4 year old will be going to kindergarten next year, relax, they are not expected to already know how to read or write.
Want to help your preschoolers be more prepared for 5K? Give some of these ideas a try.
Reading tips: Most parents know that they should read to their children every day and make it a special time together.
One technique that worked for my son and I was that I read a favorite book of his and pointed to the words as I read them. In the story text, there was one repeated word that showed up on every page. The word was "junk." (The book was about kids who fixed up junk to reuse.) My son thought that was funny. When he just about knew the book by heart, I would stop at the word "junk" with my finger and wait for him to say it. He loved it. It was not too long before he started reading other words and then sentences.
Another thing we used to do to encourage reading was to have our son look up phone numbers in the phone book. If he wanted a toy from Toys 'R Us, for example, I would tell him he had to call the store to see if they had it. He would grab the phone book and look it up and make the call! The sales person was always a bit surprised by the little voice on the other end of the phone. It was good reading practice and number practice. If that seems a bit much for his ability at first, just ask him to find the T section, then you run your finger down all the T businesses until you come to the Toys 'R Us listing. Hold your finger on the number and make him dial. (You could do the talking.)
This last tip was a bit sneaky. We did this while shopping. I would have him look for ingredients on the cereal box or cookie package. I would say, how much sugar is in that cereal or whatever? He would look at the ingredient list and see if it was the 2nd or 3rd ingredient. It was an easy word to find and since most cookies or cereals have sugar fairly high up in the ingredient list, it was not hard to find. Sometimes I would ask if it contained white or whole wheat flour.
As he got older and his reading improved, I would have him read through the whole list. (Pronunciation of those ingredients even I cannot pronounce was not a requirement!) The idea was just to get him to read.  It is amazing how motivated a child will be to read the ingredient list if they get to put the item in the cart! This exercise also helped with the concept of order. Is White flour the 1st ingredient or 2nd? Etc. 
Above all, enjoy your time together. They grow up fast!
Please share things you have done with your little ones to improve their reading, writing, and number skills.

Please, comment content should relate to the subject of the post. Although I try to respond to many, do not interpret my lack of a response as agreement.



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