Repeat first grade??? - FamilyEducation
Repeat first grade???
05/09/2007 at 15:22 PM


Hopefully, someone can give me some feedback.

My son, Jacob, is in the first grade.  He will be 7 on August 15, so he's one of the youngest in his class.  He has been struggling all year with reading, which often affects other subjects.  He goes for special reading help with the learning specialist and has made some very slow progress.  He is reading at like a "primer" level and to me, is starting to progress forward to the next level very soon. 

His teacher really feels that he should be held back in first grade.  She says he has some maturity issues that really show.  She constantly has to keep him on track and keep him working at the tasks.  I asked her if she felt it was an attention problem.  She feels it is not because he does not have that "spacey" look when not being attentive.  She does not think he's exhibiting symptoms of like ADD. She thinks it's a maturity problem and that he might be just shutting off the lesson because he feels overwhelmed by it.  I ask him about school and he says it's easy....his work is often rushed.  When he doesn't feel like it..he just writes "mumble-jumble". 

I don't know what to do.  Part of me feels he needs to stay back another year....part of me says that would hurt him too much. 

Any ideas?


mom-Jacob 6 and Julia 9

My daughther is in first grade and is struggling.  Her teacher, the reading support teacher and her guidance counselor are all concerned and we have decided to have her tested for a LD.  In my gut I don't think she has one. I just think it takes her a little longer to get it.  My biggest concern was her being held back a grade.  I was afraid of the social can be soo cruel to each other and I don't want her to suffer.  After reading this I am starting to look at things differently.  I love the analogy that school is like building a house.  It helped me to put things in perspective a bit.


Hi Jeanne,

How is he at home? Does he have attention problems at home? Do you think he is immature compared to other kids in his class? Immaturity or just not being quite ready is often the biggest reason kids are held back in first or second grade. It is a lot easier to hold him back now than to have him still struggling when he gets to high school.




Jeanne, I would ask Jacob what he thinks. Give him the facts without emotion so that he feels OK to give you an honest opinion. He might be fine with repeating first grade. Maybe he already plays with the kindergarteners or is having a difficult time bonding with his classmates. These are all things that are important since he's already been in school for two years. If socially he's doing great, I would keep him moving along with his friends. Of course that means he will have to do a lot of work to catch up to his friends. Let him know this when making his decision. My first grader does 15 minutes minimum of homework every night, Mon-Thurs. and he's right on par with the class. So that means Jacob will probably have to do 30 minutes. You have to ask yourself if you can do this and if Jacob can do this. Lots to consider. Of course, either way, you'll probably question yourself over and over! Ultimately, you know your child best. Go with your gut and best of luck! Anne


As a first grade teacher and not knowing all the details, it sounds like your son would greatly benefit from another year of first grade.  He is young and will then be one of the oldest in the class.  In my experience, unless there is a learning problem (which it doesn't sound like) your son will be at the top of his class next year.  This will give him great confidence to continue to have success in school.  If you do send him on, I agree with the other poster, he will have lots of catching up to do and this may not be a good thing.  He may always feel he is at the bottom struggling to catch up.

My advice is follow your son's teachers reccomendation, she spends more time with him in the academic area than anyone else!

Good luck!


My 9 yr old daughter is the youngest in her 4th grade class and if I could turn back time I would have held her back in kindergarten.  She is very smart, but it takes her halfway into the next school year before she is "caught up" maturity wise with her classmates.  I buckled under family pressure to move her to the next grade each year.  She gets great grades, but I really feel she could have benefitted from repeating kindergarten or first grade.  On the other hand, I have talked to adults that were held back and most of them wished their parents had not held them back.  We do extra things like tutoring and working extra on subjects at home to help her.  Since you are at the crossroads and your son does seem to have some struggles in first grade I feel that it would be a good decision to hold him back.


I also have a first grader, and his teacher wants me to hold him back. He also have a promblem with reading. But I had him tested for reading and he do need a little help in reading....but I'm not going to hold him back. It will make him fill bad. But he will be going to summer school and getting extra help when he return to school next year in the 2nd grade.


I wouldn't necessarily hold him back this year but would keep an eye on him next year as you continue to help him.  If he still has problems next year and needs to be held back I would then.  My son is 9 1/2 and going into the 4th grade.  He still struggles with reading and comprehension and I'm really worried about next year.  He gets overwhelmed when he doesn't understand and just shuts down.  I can't calm him down sometimes to relax and concentrate on what he's reading or being told.  GL on whatever you decide.


I really do know what you are talking about! My girl is struggeling with attention  and maturity and the teacher really thinks she is smart she just doesn't try to stay focused and she is still not on grade level with her reading. I'm really having a hard time with my mother in law trying to push her on and I truly believe she needs to be held back. I don't want to hold her back due to others making fun of her but that doesn't matter. I know my girl will make new friends and move on just fine. She always makes friend easy and I think holding her back now will boost her self cofidence and she will do so well in first and second! I think you should do it just to help him out for his future! Do it now so it'll hlep him out later. Just my take on it. Best of luck!


I am a student teacher this year, and have been very active in the classrooms for a few years.  I feel that, usually, it is a good idea to have students repeat kindergarten or first grade if they are struggling with reading, and may have maturity issues.  It is so difficult for students to be the slowest in the class, and constantly be struggling to keep up.  My nephew finally was held back in the third grade, which was much more difficult and embarrassing for him than if he were held back in first grade.  However, he is so much happier and doing much better in school!  Your son, and all the other  students, will forget he was held back after the first few weeks of school next year.  And he will  be much more relaxed and happier in class!!!


Hello Jeanne,  I also have a first grader who will be 7 on August 3.  He is the youngest in the class.  We have decided to hold him back.  We had a parent-teacher meeting which included his principal.  It was brought up that as much as we hate to hold anyone back from moving forward sometimes it is best to do just that.  My son has some problems with math and major problems with reading and spelling.  I would hate for him to move ahead and struggle with learning for the rest of his school days.  I have to agree that some of my sons problems are his maturity.  While observing him with his class I noticed that the rest have figured out how to act like 2nd graders.  Then there is my son who still acts like a brand new 1st grader.  The teacher said she was also having to keep him on task and remind him to stay with the class while reading or doing other work. 

His response to being held back is teary and upset.  But I just keep telling him that, no matter what, he is still loved and that we will work harder next year to learn what we had trouble with this year.  Personaly I think that, in the long run,  this may be the best thing for him.  I would hate to keep pushing him forward and watching him struggle and then watch him fail time after time and know that just maybe had I held him back and allowed him to mature and have that extra time in 1st grade that this might have been prevented.  I keep hearing my sons tearful plea to let him be a 2nd grader and me telling him no that it breaks my heart.  But I know that this is best.  Too many struggles in areas that are important need to be re-learned or just given a little more time to sink in.

Knowing what you are going through and hoping this helps a little,




Hi Everyone,


Welcome to the boards---what great ideas and support. 


Please stick around and post on lots of boards and subjects!




Hi sisters (who's 9 now) has always been overly mature and sometimes I think he's going the other route to be different.  hehehehe

He often thinks he can't do things on his own.




Your son sounds exactly like my son.   Perhaps we can be support for each other during this period?

We, too, had a meeting with the teacher, learning specialist and principal.  We've also had a speech and language evaluation done.  He will be receiving help for expressive language problems beginning in the fall. 

Thanks for the reassurance.  We have officially decided to hold him back and have informed the school of our decision.  He will be placed with the other first grade teacher in the fall.



I also have(had He's 24 now) a child who was kept back in 1st grade because of maturity issues!! we moved during the summer to another school district he was in the school 2 weeks when the teacher called and asked if they could test him for Learning disabilities, he was(is) Dylexic with hand eye issues He was put onto special education classes and even though it was a rough  road and was left back 2 more times he graduated.
Please ask the school to test him they don't want to do this because it costs money but insist, My son was not inmature he was having problems and was acting out.


my birthday is in november so i was always the youngest not to mention the smallest in my class. i never got along with the children in my class because i was always maturing later then they were. i would always play with the children in the grade below me. i was trouble in school not becuase i wasn't smart enough but becuase i wasn't mature enough to be in the grade i was and my schooling suffered for it. it wasn't till grade 11 that i finally started catching up to the children in my class my parent's had the chance to hold me back a grade but they decided not to. now years later i am 21 and they have told me that they should have held me back for maturity reasons. i hope this gives you a little bit of insight

I noticed what you have going on my daughter is a summer baby she is in second grade now but is one of the younger ones she has struggled since grade k this year i made them test her they say she is fine no learning dis or anything she reads on first grade 6 months level and her math is just now getting to a second grade level i have struggled with the hard choice but have decided we have had enough she will be in second next year again with the same teacher you see children have diff step stones and a brain only dev at a cert pace her doc says that she is not behind much for her age but for her grade she is she even knows it she told me the work is to hard and that she was not wanting to go into 3rd if he is having probs in reading he will start having it in math as well i know she does great with the adding and subtraction but it is the reading what to do in math and the problems that have the words i really believe a child gets more behind if they have not had time to catch up most schools frown at holding them back until 3rd because they say EOG will catch them i kept after them and got my way she will get the chance to be caught up and maybe be a kid because all the time in past out of school we have been doing more to catch up she has had no time to be her 



My daughter is 10 and I went through the same thing as you except my daughter was in second grade...She was having the same problems as your son. The teachers told me that she was very immature for age. They had been telling me that since she started school. She couldn't read very well let alone write her name. They did a dyslixia test on her to rule that out. and then  they did another test to see if she had a reading disabilty and she did. She started going to resource classes when she started 1st grade. She had resource classes in math and reading. That was the best thing. When she got into second grade she still had a very low reading level which was the beginning of first grade reading level. When she finished second grade her reading level was at the end of first grade. So she was always a year behind. The teachers suggested that we hold her back and she would repeat the second grade again. We contimplated holding her back. We prayed alot. And we knew she did not want to repeat the same grade knowing that her friends would prbably make fun of her. But for her benefit and the best thing  for her was to hold her back That was the best thing we ever did. She blossomed after that. She still continued doing the resource classes. She is now in 3rd grade and happy to say not in resource anymore. Her maturity level has skyrocketed.  She just passed on to the 4th grade all on her own. If you have any questions please let me know. And I hope this helps a little.



This is a tough call. However, you may need to take him to the doctor's to get evaluated for ADD. A teacher is not qualified to diagnoise a student of any kind... Just because he doesn't have the 'spacey' look doesn't mean he doesn't have ADD.   My eldest (15 1/2) has ADHD and was diagnoised by a neurologist - that's the best route.  I have had the same thoughts - my youngest is 9 and her b-day is August as well and my gut was telling me to hold her back and not start kindergarten until she was 6 - I really wish I would have done that.. Now she is struggling in 4th grade and homework is a battle.  I taught 5th grade for a few years and I know next year is going to be (*&(*&*.  Now, I'm in a situation that would be devasting if I held her back; I'm still thinking about it.  I know statically children that are held back have some issues later on in their school career; (However, with positive reinforcement at home indicating that it would be better for him to learn the material again) Maybe by telling him that sometimes adults have to do over's and that it's ok - however, holding him back may be the answer - perhaps the teacher/school can recommend that he does 1/2  his day in 1st grade and the other 1/2 in 2nd.  If you are gonig to hold him back, I would definitely do it now...  I would also take him to the eye doctor - one that specializes in reading.  There could be a problem there - I took my 9 year old and she has convergence insufficiency - her eyes are not focusing together which in turn causes her to read below grade level.  Don't delay - go with you gut. With postive reimforcement - all will work out. Good Luck


i think that getting held back is bull ---- because my little cousin is going through this right now and she thinks it is cool but once she starts getting in high school and stuff she is really going to rethink it over. i really think she is a smart person but i guess that is not what her school thinks :[


Hi Jeanne,

I am so glad that I helped.  Maybe not the decision, because I feel that the decision was yours to make.  But just to let you know that there are other people out there that know what you may be going through.  I know it helps me to know that my son is not the only one who has problems.  And a parent to parent support is always good.  Just a little is amazing how resilent (hope that is spelled right?) children are...he has accepted repeating 1st grade and when someone asks him what grade he is in he says first grade one more time just for kicks. traumatic as I thought this would be for him it has turned out not so traumatic.  His acceptance has made the decision that much easier.  I have started a summer homeschool with him...which is not his most favorite thing..but he does one hour of school work Monday-Friday.  I found some little workbooks at Wal-Mart that are just right for his age and grade.  Some of it is repeating what he has already learned but we try to make it fun for him.  This way he can remember what he has least a little.




I wouldnt ask him what he thinks.  I would go with your gut.  Really we cant consider ADHD (ADD  is not an actual disorder) until the ability to develop selective attention(the abilty to focus on large amounts of info for several hours at a time) is completly developed.  That doesnt happen till about 3rd grade or so.  Just read to/with him every night and ask questions about life like what soap would be cheaper and so on to help him develop.  Do not listen to teachers when they suggest ADHD.  To be dignosed your child should have ALWAYS been overwhelmed.(before the age of 4)   It should always be evaluated by a professional psychologist or others who study the field.  What was your sons class size?  If you feel he really needs to be held back...listen to your gut.  It will probably help him fit in if he is not as mature as his peers.


I am having the similar problems only my son was born April 4.  Since my son was a toddler i notice that he was having some delays and the daycare teacher also allerted me to the problem. I sign him up for pre-k thinking that with other kids and a real school environment he might catch up. All through pre-k he struggled. But he was getting speech help and I was working with the teacher, principle and speech teacher in a group set up for him call IEP. Where we have a meeting every quarter and talk about his achievments and work on his goals for the next quarter. So at the end of the year the school said that it was ok for him to move on because he would get the same help and more in kindergarden. Well the the kidergarden year was like pre-K. He struggled his whole year and I met with the IEP group the whole year and the school had offered tutoring so we did that to.  He achieve some goals but not enough. His kindergarden teacher recommended for him to be retain. I did not want him be retained. Plus the school grade did not  meet my expectation  anymore. So I fought with the teacher on the met withe principle and the school pass him. So this year I assign him to another school. This school goes well and beyond to meet my expectation. And I have been meeting with the IEP group set up for him there. Right now he is testing with the school psycohlogist. I havent recieve the results from the psycohlogist yet, but I am already thinking on holding back what ever the test results say. His teacher let me know that if the test show that he has a ld that he would get more help and be able to pass. I have sruggled with my son all year. I am like he still should get that help if he is identified with a ld if I leave him back in the first grade. My mom and my sister debate with me everyday on this. I have done the research on this subject. I am leaning 50/50. I want him to move to exceed but part of me is like dont let him go on if he is struggling. I am beating myself up because I should have let him start school and year late and so part comes from me having him at sixteen. I read somewhere that teen mothers babies are likely to have a ld in school. So that is eating me up the most like i did it to him because I had him at a early age. But I am stuck. Do I let him go because I know that he going to get the help or should I hold him back because he needs a little more learning to do.


I am a teacher and mother of 2 boys. I could not read at the end of 1st grade and was held back (also went to summer school). This was the best thing that could have happened to me, because I really learned how to read.

When my oldest son was in kindergarten I wanted to hold him back due to imaturity, and was talked out of it because he was reading. In high school he was way more immature than most and he struggled with that and now that he is in college he still feels like an outsider. If a child needs to be held back, 1st grade is the time to do it, not in later grades.


It  may be late for me to reply to this, but here is my opinion.  My daughter has no problem with school.  She will be entering the 8th grade has had nothing but A's (kindergarden up)!  She was born in November, which makes her one of the oldest in the classroom.  Her friends are equally smart, they are also older kids.  How are you sons friends?  Do you talk to the other parents?  Do you talk to your child daily about what's going on?  How much help do you offer?  Never do his work, but be ready to give examples!

My daughter has had people in her class who were held back.  Yes, some were in Kindergarden, and First grade when this happen.  These kids are a year behind, but I have never heard any of the other kids tease them.  I have never heard any parents say letting the kid repeat these early grades was a mistake.  The mistake would be to send them on when they are not prepared.

Don't be a shame to let the child repeat a grade.  You HAVE NOT failed as a parent.  You will be doing the right thing.  If he catches up, in most areas you can have him tested and moved ahead (if that's what you want).

Send him to summer school.  Visit the library.  Purchase reading and workbooks for your home.  Read with him.  When your child is well prepared you will both be happier!



I disagree with of most of  responders. I think before you say yes to retaining your child you need to read the latest research on retention. Peer reviewed journals and referenced studies are the best. Don't base your decision on heart or gut when dealing with your child's education. Look for articles or books written by David Elkind (the hurried child) or others who are experts in the area of education, retention and schools. You need to determine what the school is actually doing and which direction they are leading the children (educationally). Are his needs being met? What type of learner is he? What's  the teaching style?  There are many questions to ask before you make a decision that can have an effect on your child's self -esteem.


Have you considered having his eyes tested by a behavioural optometrist?  I had the same problem with my daughter and she had an extensive eye tests with a behavioural optometrist only to discover that the page "moves" and she is not able to read as the words move and merge into one another, and she also looses her place.  Once she got the glasses and did the daily exercises her reading improved dramatically.





As a mother of a child receiving special education services, I can identify with your concern! You know your son best and if there is a part of you that believes he should be held back he may need to do so. It is a hard decision to make and no parent wants their child to struggle in any way! Your son really is a young first grader! As a teacher I have first hand experience dealing with children who are younger than the group. Not always but quite often the maturity level is very noticable! If your son is definately displaying behavior associated with immaturity I would definately consider holding him back! If his behavior is more of an academic concern, I would consider meeting again with the school's special ed. department and reviewing his education plan! My son sounds SO much like your son! He was very frustrated in first through third grades and was unable to read or write. When we switched to another school system, his needs were better identified and he took off academically! He is now entering the eighth grade and continues to require special ed. services. His writing can still be very difficult to read but he now reads like a pro! Don't give up! My son was so frustrated in school that he used to throw his homework folder away daily! His work was never completed in class and he tended to play with anything he could put his hands on instead of doing his work. It was difficult for us to work with him because we thought he didn't care or wasn't trying hard enough! The problem wasn't with his behavior but with his ability to learn the way the other children were learning.When we found that there were tons of resources available to him, found teachers that cared and were willing to modify creativly, and let him know that we were proud of him regardless, he began to soar! My first recommendation would be to sit down with an administrator in your son's school and discuss who are possible teachers for your son for the next school year and what types of modifications are they willing to provide your child in the classroom to make him successful. Textbooks come on tape and you can ask if this may be something that might be worth while for your son. Writing assignments can be taped or spoken to another to type for him. It is just my opinion that many times it is more important to get the idea out than the process of writing! In no way am I saying your son should not write or learn to write but he should be able to express his thoughts without the worry of getting it down on paper. I'm not a special ed. teacher and they certainly would be of more assistance to you but always ask questions, do some research, etc. Especially at this age, you don't want school to be a turn off! The other thing to consider is that if your child is going to be held back a grade, now is the time to do so. He will suffer the least amount of peer pressure now. And finally, I worry about the teacher who is making statements that your child is not demonstrating ADD symptoms by giving that "spacey" look. Your child's teacher should only describe exactly what they've observed and refer you to the appropriate person in the building to better help you! Also, your child's pediatrician is the person to talk to for questions concerning attention disorders. I hope this is of some help to you. Stay strong! Your only want what is best for your son and pat yourself on the back for being a concerned and involved parent!


hi, held my son back in 1st grade and it was the best decision our family made---it was a issue of him just not being ready....he is now going in 4th grade and is exactly where he should be....he even admits that school is easier because he got "held back"


My son's birthday is on August 13th and we chose to hold him back a year prior to enrollment into Kindergarten.  I believe that is the best decision we could have made.  My mother is a retired teacher and, when we were in the decision phase on this, she did some research and found that 60% of all children held back in the earlier grades had summer birthdays and started school being the youngest in their classes.  My son is now 10 and going into 5th grade.  Because he is older than his peers, he also enjoys the benefits of being emotionally and physically more mature, which is a great confidence-booster for boys!  He is in the Gifted and Talented program and is excelling in all areas.  I personally feel that if you wait any longer before deciding to hold your son back, it could have the opposite effect on his confidence.  If I were in your position, I would strongly consider meeting with some education experts to assist with your decision and, if you think you may hold him back at some point down the road, do that now.  Good luck!


Well, no one but a doctor can evaluate and diagnose your son.  Take it from a parent who has 4 boys who range in ages starting at twins that are 14, son who is 15 and the oldest who is 17 going on 25. 

I had  my middle son tested for adhd when he was in 1st grade. He had numerous problems, his school principal kept calling me and asking me to come get him.  He was "disrupting" the class, etc.  He was soon diagnosed as ADHD, ODD, and as having anger-based tourette snydrome.  

Since then all 4 of my boys have been evaluated and have ADHD or ADD.  As well as myself having Adult ADHD.  I always knew that i was different, i felt different. I was always in the "special ed" classes.  Not because i was stupid, but because the teacher didnt want to take time to help me or to explain subjects to me. 

Do your son a big big favor and make an appointment with your primary care doctor and explain to him your concerns.  Dont suggest or say anything about ADHD or ADD, thus if the symptoms sound like ADHD to your dr., then he will make the call without any "thoughts" being put in his to speak.  It made me feel even more sure that the correct diagnosis would be made. {i didnt feel like i had given him any "false" ideas..if you know what i mean.

As for the "spacey" look theory of the ditzy teacher... lolol geezz... amazing.. what cracker jack box did she come from....haha

Good luck..please feel free to contact me if you have anything further you would like to ask or wonder about..

Good luck to you and your son..  

=)  Steffers


I love the question and replies.... I prayed about the same thing all last year.  I received confirmation to retain the 1st grade and feel total peace about my decision.

My biggest challenge I faced was my son was an honor roll student all 4-semesters retaining an average 89 or higher.

After receiving his Stanford test for 1st grade and comparing them to the kindergarten I realized that being the youngest in his class does make a difference. 

I am excited about this upcoming year... My son and I had the conversation about these 6-months ago.  Once my prayer was answered I made an appointment with the Principal, expressed my concerns and the school honored my wishes.

My son is excited....his words "now I can have fun and teach the kindergartens."  He will be advanced and learning will be "fun" not a chore.

In addition I took it one step further; being a homeroom mom I contact all his homeroom parents & other 1st grade homeroom moms sharing my decision.  I did not have to do that but I prefer the message be communicated from me instead of assumptions being made.  I owe that to my son. 

So what we are preparing for now is how he can if he responds to that million dollar question....

BTW you would be surprise how many parents "wish" they made that decision.   At least I was when I shared my concerns....

Good luck and remember we have to Freedom to choose for our children at this age.

Blessed and Highly Favored



I am a middle school teacher and I can't stress to you how often I see and describe to parents the same scenario you have described about Jacob, only at a later stage. Most of the parents make comments about their children having always had difficulties keeping up, focusing, etc.  When I look at their birth dates I often find they are younger. I believe these difficulties will follow Jacob. First, we as parents have to know and accept there is nothing wrong with our children other than we are asking them to behave and function without being physiologically ready. 

Imagine being a tadpole who hasn't developed into a frog.  You are going to be a frog as soon as your body develops, but all of your friends who are 6-8 months older already have legs and arms and can walk on land. In 6-8 months you too will be able to swim and naturally hangout on land. However, today your parents and your teacher ask you to do everything your frog friends can do including hanging out on land.  You struggle, hop around on land, and you often have to go back into the pond to breathe, unlike your frog friends. Do you think it might be difficult to live this way? Do you think you'll ever hangout on land like the other frogs? What is wrong with allowing Jacob to be a tadpole in water for just a little while longer instead of struggling to breathe on land? 


Hello I have a 13 yr old daughter and an 8 yr old boy that i had this same dilema with. My daughter was behind and i made the choice after watching her struggle to do what the other kids were doing. I kept her back to repeat kindergarten. She really felt bad when she couldnt do something or didnt understand and she didnt want to ask every time because she didnt want the other kids to know that she didnt understand. She made friends with the next years class and never complained about not being moved up. I think she was relieved. My son though is another matter. I think i should have held him back but i didnt and now he does struggle. I have had to get him a lot of extra help and my sweet boy who is usually so even tempered and quick to smile often sits in class with a scowl on his face because he doesnt always get it. He isnt very far behind his class just a few reading levels and a bit on math but to see him so frustrated makes me wonder if he is gonna start to hate school. That would be bad. I would say like MichelleMom
 let him be a tadpole a little longer.


As a mother and an administrator of an educational program, I think you should hold him back.  It is better to hold him back in first grade rather than a higher grade.  Most educators think of second grade as a repeat of first grade just with a few extras. I held my 7 year old son back in the first grade and he understood. He has been promoted to second grade and at the end of this school year was reading on grade level.  This summer he was tutored in reading and math to keep his skills sharp.  He is prepared for second grade and is confident in his ability to do well this year.  He will be 8 years old on Aug. 9. He has matured alot and has found his independence. Independence is important, as well since this is expect in 2nd grade.

The best advice I can offer is my sister's $2 solution - a set of index cards and a library card.  The index cards will allow you to build hs vocabulary and sight word knowledge.  The library card is free, set aside a day to go to the library and pick out 2 books and have him read aloud. Words that he miss add to his sight words, practice daily and within weeks he should be able to move up the 1st grade reading levels.  Don't let him fall through the cracks, the No Child Left Behind program is a little to late, step up and take charge of your child's education.  You are the MAJOR decision maker and he will thank you later.

If you have decided to allow him to continue on to the 2nd grade look at some supplemental options like Sylan Learning or Huntington Learning Centers in your area for afterschool tutoring.


I have taught for 20 years and am a mother of four - three daughters and one son.  All three girls were the oldest in their classes due to winter birthdays. My son on the other hand was a July baby and would have been among the youngest in his class - almost an entire year younger in some cases. Instead of sending him to kindergarten he spent another year in preschool. Shortly after turning six, he began kindergarten. The extra year allowed him to gain the maturity he needed to be successful in school. He was more closely matched to his classmates in maturity and truly enjoyed school and felt good about himself. He was an honor student throughout junior high and high school - graduating in the top of class of over 500 students - as well as lettering in three sports in high school. He is currently attending college with a double major in accounting and business administration. and works in the banking field. He is still a top student and a top employee where he works. His work supervisers comment all the time on his professionalism and maturity as a young adult.

Sometimes we just need to aloow children to grow and play in order to mature. My son definitely benefited from that year to do so.


If that was my child I would keep him back. He is in no rush to move ahead with his age and his maturity.I work at a children's nursery and can tell you that one of the children who is supposed to go to kindergarten this year should be held back. He has maturity issues and I know he can not sit still for more than a few minutes. His parents are debating it and us teachers hope he stays. We know he can do better next year and know he will be behind in school if he did go.


Listen to your childs teacher. I am an elementary teacher myself. If he is not coping, what will feeling like a failure do to his self esteem ? I have recommended to many parents over the years to repeat their child (usually boys) in the first grade and the outcome has been very positive for their futures.

Good luck with your decision.


I had the same problem with my daughter.  She was having a few emotional problems and slacked off A LOT in third grade.  Although your 1st grader is younger than my daughter was at the time, he still needs to understand that passing a grade is a reward. 

I demanded that my daughter repeat the third grade.  I almost filed a lawsuit with the school because they did not support my decision.  My daughter was slacking and did not want to do school work, homework or even want to pay attention in school. The school believed that she would fall further behind, as her younger brother and her would be in the same grade if she were held back. Simply put, my daughter would have been set up for failure if she were allowed to promote to the next grade.

I know that you want the absolute best for your child, as me with mine.  I feel that you should go with your feeling of him needing the extra attention, versus struggling in the next grade.  Children this young can catch up, if that is important to him later.

Hope this helps.




I'm a school volunteer--every day, in a first-grade class.  If a teacher recommends retaining a child, do it.  Teachers have nothing to gain from retaining a child.

Immature children come from loving homes where the mother does everything for the child.  Need I say more?  We usually have at least one in every class.  Very sweet children who have never had to complete a task at home, and who have not been held accountable for their behavior.  The other children won't play with them.

Reading:  Practice, practice, practice.  Since this child has never had to complete a task, he doesn't know how to practice anything until he can do it well.  Most parents don't want to see tears in the eyes of their children when they finally come to the realization that maybe they need to make their child  sit down EVERY DAY and practice until perfect, so they don't make them practice reading EVERY DAY.  All it takes is 15 minutes of quality time practice a day.

I suspect that this child cannot CORRECTLY form his letters, and all it takes is a $3 School-Zone work book with lowercase alaphabet letters, from Wal-Mart, and a little daily practice.

You cannot do your child's practice for him.  Nature is funny that way--he has to do it for himself; and when he dies, all of that knowledge will die with him.

In all Sincerity,









It is only week three of first grade, and I am being told my son is behind the majority of the class.  There is a group of about 5 boys, all which are struggling in letter recognition and sounds.  There were discipline issues of 3 kids last year in kindergarten and some of us parents were pretty much told out right that kids were suffering because all of her attention was elsewhere, "babysitting".  However, she never said they were behind.  She actually said she had no reservations on him starting first grade.  I worry.  And part of the reason is because he has a younger sister who is currently in kindergarten and will be coming up to first grade next year.  If there were 2 years between them I wouldn't hesitate to hold them back if he needed it...but will affect him forever.  Thoughts?



Why are you even questioning this????????????









teaching would be a wonderful profession were it not for having to deal with parents! stop letting your ego get in the way of your son's progress here...give him the greatest gift you can .... the gift of time to grow!


Hi there,


my son is a first grader and he does well. However, I had him in private school that was advanced.  What I wanted to say though was, before you take some teachers advive. You should consult a qualified doctor, who may be able to assess the problem.  Sometimes teachers can bully you into believing they have all the answers.


My daughter just turned 6 years old on June 22, 2007.  Last year she was in kindergarten and was having a very difficult time.  The teacher told me at the end of the school year that she highly recommended for her to stay back.  I was in agreement with her, however with the pressure of my mother I reluctantly decided to move her forward.   During the summer months we had a tutor helping her try and get caught up.  She is now in a new school in 1st grade.  The teacher spoke with me the other day and stating that my daughter is extemely behind and very  imature.  Her current teacher also agrees that she should go back to kindergarten.  I then decided to have her put back since it still is so early in the school year.  I wrote an letter to the Principal requesting that she be put back into kindergarten and advised her of both her teachers statements.  I cannot believe that the Principal is not in agreement with us.  My daughters teacher did warn me that their Principal is totally against keeping kids back in school.  I myself was big for my age but they kept me back in kindergarten.  I am so glad that I was held back.  I don't want my daughter to have to suffer from year to year trying to keep up in school.  SHOULD IT REALLY BE UP TO THE PRINCIPALS OF THE SCHOOL ON WHETHER OR NOT YOUR CHILD STAYS BACK OR NOT?  Shouldn't that be up to the teachers that spend many hours with our children 5 days a week on whether they should be held back.  If anyone has any suggestions on what I should do I would love to hear it.  I have my mind set on keeping her back. 


First of all, I really cannot believe that this particular question is STILL being discussed.  It is such a no brainer!!

Secondly, With regard to the reply from "dori," who appears to distrust teachers and believes a qualified doctor can answer this better for you...let me say, that in our town, GOOD qualified doctors, THE ONES WHO ARE WORTH THEIR MD DEGREES, in our town refer these questions to the teachers who really do have the answers!! jeesh!!


I had my boy repeat Kindergarten, then I pulled him out of school totally in 5th grade, had him attend the Orchestra class in 6th grade, added math in 7th grade, History in 8th grade, and in 9th grade he was back to school for the full day.  Now he is in 10th grade and doing just fine.  I don't know what state you are in, but most states have provisions for home-schooling your child.  If your child is in a public school, the school is probably funded based on how many students attend.  If your principal is aware that you are considering home-schooling your child and withdrawing him from the school, he may be a little more flexible about changing grades.  Actually, you are legally responsible already for seeing to it that your child is educated.  There is  a criminal offense called educational neglect (not kidding!) in my state.


To G. Hanson:  Thank you for your response.  I have very good news!  I had a meeting with 6 other people from my childs school (her teacher, the principal, assistant principal,  speech & language therapist, school psychologist and then yet another teacher from the school).  I did feel a bit taken back that so many people had to attend the meeting that was just suppose to be between the principal and her teacher.  I stood my ground and stated that my daughter is struggling so much that she has just given up.   My daughters teacher along with the school's psychologist were in agreement with me that she should go back into kindergarten.  The others were not so agreeable.    They all looked over her past and present records which most definitely indicate that she is very behind.   To make a long story short,  to my surprize the prinicpal of the school decided to go ahead and put her back into kindergarten!   A couple of the reasons she decided to were , 1.  that my daughter has just given up and does not show any interest anymore in learning and  2. she talked with her spouse who is a psychologist one night about this whole situation.  Her spouse indicated that it would be much better for her to go back to kindergarten now (October , 2007) then to be held back in 1st grade after she had completed the 1st grade school year.  I was so relieved that they decided to put her back.  She started kindergarten on 10/22/07 and is doing just fine.  Maybe now she will be able to help others in the class instead of needing help herself constantly by others and the teacher.  I would love to see her be a leader and not so much a follower.   She is already showing signs that she is interested in learning again.     When I got the news that she was going back into kindergarten I almost started crying.    I am so happy now that she has the opportunity to be in an environment where she does not feel completely lost.  God Bless



Hello Jeanne:  I am interested in hearing how it turned out with your son.  My daughter does not appear to have attention problems.  She was just struggling so much in her class that she lost interest in learning.  My son on the other hand was diagnosed  with ADD.  He is 11 years old now and still struggles a bit with his attentions problems.  At least we found out what the problem was when he was very young.   It really helps to know what the problem is first.  Then you will be able to move on from there and get the right help that will be needed if necessary. 





We're kind of in the same boat as you, but my son is in Kindergarten and has been reading for 2 years now.  His teacher wanted to put him in the first grade but now we want to hold off because of his maturity level, he's a very emotional child. He likes things done a certain way, (OCD) If things are not the way he was showed it the first time, he usually has a hard time dealing with it. But if they do hold him back another year, you have to make sure that he is challenged a lil more since he'll be learning stuff he already knows.  Just make sure he doesn't get bored with school because then it will be very hard to get him back on track.


this is a very difficult decision that you are ultimately best suited to answer (what does your "gut" say?) but I will tell you my "hindsight".  My son had a stroke at 3 and we were told that with speech and occupational therapy he would be "fine!"  He is also young for his grade (July b'day) but he was so anxious and seemed so bright, we started him in K as soon as he was eligible.  Long story short - he spent most of the first thru 6th grade in Resource (sp ed) for ELA, was diagnosed ADD, inattentive at the age of 10 (only after we had him tested outside the school system to determine why he would fail the state-mandated tests after making A's/B's in class all year).  We can now see (that we couldn't back then) that he has matured slower than his peers and, though he probably would've still needed extra help, his self-esteem maybe wouldn't have suffered so much along the way.  He is now in high school (all regular classes) and is doing quite well in some subjects, but really struggling with the math/language classes. 

The question you have to answer is would you possibly regret it (more) if you hold him back now or if you send him on?  In retrospect, our journey would've been smoother had we held him back in 1st grade or K.

Good luck!




I happened on this Web site completely by accident....and now after reading a few "stories" must jump a mother AND  educator. Our son, now 30 years old, is an August birthday. He was NOT retained in First Grade. He had an OK second grade year. His teacher thought it a good idea for him to repeat 2nd grade!!!  He was thrillled! (and so were we!)He had a great year!!! It gave him the time he needed to mature, gain confidence and improve his academic skills. When he graduated from High School, he informed his Dad and I that he was going to college, but needed some time! He stayed at home, worked and we planned the where, what and hows of his secondary education. Long story short...he is a quite the bussiness man, AND  also has the gift of glassblowing!  He fell in love with this "Art" in college and  is quite gifted and two fields!!!  Go Figure!!!  Just Look what a little time....for growing, learning, confidence building, mastering skills and learning what "gifts" you have been given!!!! IT's not a race!!!  Thanks for listening...hope it helps!!! They are our future!!!!  Mom & Teacher