Repeat first grade? Repeat CCD grade too?


#1

My daughter is currently in first grade and is struggling with reading. While her reading has improved quite a bit from the beginning of year, she's really not at the level she should be at this point in first grade. I've talked with her teacher and she brought up something I am mulling over as a parent, the possibility of her repeating first grade. It's kind of in my hands--the teacher will promote her if I say promote, but hold her back if I say hold her back. But if I do that, what should I do about CCD? Should I have her repeat first grade CCD too? I am interested in input on both subjects--especially from parents who may have faced the same thing.

I'll be honest, at first I was dead set against holding my daughter back. Then I realized my own pride and fear of "failing as a parent" was overriding what might actually be best for my daughter. So now I am mulling over the decision and giving it serious thought. I plan to see how the rest of the school year shapes up thought before I make the final decision (to see if she suddenly "catches up" for example).

Here's a little background which might help. First off, my daughter barely qualifies age-wise for first grade. She was born right around the cut off age and is the youngest in her class. She is very bright and gets the highest marks in all other subjects (math, social studies, science, music, art, behavior, etc) it's just the reading that is the stumbling block. The problem is, reading is the key thing grades 1-3. And I am afraid if she is promoted too soon she will always struggles with reading and it will start effecting her other subjects as well. But at the same time, she does so well in math social studies, and science, I hate to see her bored repeating those subjects again.

She tries her best; and 7 months ago I signed her up for a special reading program with a reading teacher. Of course, I have been working with her every day and have been increasing reading efforts. We read books daily, play reading and spelling games, have flash cards, etc. But I really believe she's just not developmentally there if that makes any sense. I think it's also worth mentioning that she is also a bit ostracized by her peers since she is the youngest and smallest (she is still 6 and will still be 6 at the end of the year while most of the class was 7 starting first grade and some will be turning 8 by the end of the year). Most of her friends are kindergartners.

My husband left us this year to pursue his own life--so I am pretty much a single parent on my own (he sees her, but I am taking care of her for the most part and helping her with schooling). I am sure that didn't help matters as it was a very stressful time for me and my daughter as we adjusted. Home schooling isn't an option since I am the bread winner. I am also moving out of the area at the end of the school year and my daughter will be in a new school. So my thought was repeating first grade wouldn't have the social stigma for her (you know, being left behind while her class mates move on). She would also be with kids closer to her own age. She would be aware she's repeating first grade though.

My thought on holding back is this. I will continue to work with her, but see where she is at the end of the school year. Then I will decide. I plan on getting her a phonics tutor over the summer as well as continuing to work with her myself regardless of whether I hold her back or not.

But I also wonder if I hold her back, should I do the same in CCD? My thought is, it won't hurt her to have more instruction before First Holy Communion (which she would receive at age 8 instead of 7 if I do this) and it will put her in the same CCD class as her peers from school as well. So in that respect it will be keeping things feeling "normal" for her. But should I hold back on her getting the Sacrament due to academics?

Thanks!


#2

Well only you know what's best for your daughter. The plus side is that 1st grade is still very young... kids are resilient and she should be able to make new friends and have much more confidence moving forward. But no one can make that decision but you. ;)

As for CCD/Sacraments... just a different perspective: If your daughter were in a Catholic school, where they receive Sacraments/CCD as a class, then it would be impossible for her to stay at the "higher" level... she would obviously be repeating the 1st grade religion curriculum, right? So follow that train of thought - I think it's probably wise to keep her at her grade level... meaning holding her back for CCD as well... but that's just my opinion.

Good luck on your decision!!! Prayers for you and your daughter!


#3

[quote="mellowcalico, post:1, topic:235062"]
My daughter is currently in first grade and is struggling with reading. While her reading has improved quite a bit from the beginning of year, she's really not at the level she should be at this point in first grade. I've talked with her teacher and she brought up something I am mulling over as a parent, the possibility of her repeating first grade. It's kind of in my hands--the teacher will promote her if I say promote, but hold her back if I say hold her back. But if I do that, what should I do about CCD? Should I have her repeat first grade CCD too? I

Thanks!

[/quote]

we move the children in CCD along as their progress in sacramental preparation progresses. If they have been attending and are of age (not grade) they move with their class. They are held back only usually if attendance has been a problem. And it is huge here because of the state testing that mandates Saturday or after school tutoring, which of course is when most CCD classes are held, so we tend to lose them just at the time they are completing final preparation for sacraments. We are proactive in this, schedule additional classes, work with homeschooling parents, and do everything we can to keep the child on track. In this parish there should be no reason for any child's sacramental preparation to be delayed simply because there are issues at public school.

At least a third of our children are on medication or receiving some kind of help for ADHD and other learning disabilities, so that too is no barrier to participating in CCD and/or sacramental preparation.


#4

Huh... well I learn something new every day! Thanks for your insights, puzzleannie!
I wonder if CCD works differently than religious education within a parish school in general??? Although I know every parish is really unique in how they handle these things...


#5

My grandson repeated 1st grade. He went along w/ his "age-group" to make his First Communion. So, he wasn't held back in CCD.


#6

First off thanks for the answers so far. :)

I should be clear on how I make decisions. I like to look at all angles, mull over things, etc. and then decide the best course of action. So my intent here is to get as many opinions as I can so I can think about all angles before I decide what to do. In other words, I know in the end I am the only one who can make the answer and it's my responsibility to do the right thing, but I love to get all the counsel I can first. I think of it as due diligence.

I should also point out that since we will be moving, my daughter will also being doing CCD in another parish. I am not sure that it matters, but I wanted to be clear just in case.

Anyway, thanks again for the answers so far! :)


#7

[quote="cradlecatholic5, post:5, topic:235062"]
My grandson repeated 1st grade. He went along w/ his "age-group" to make his First Communion. So, he wasn't held back in CCD.

[/quote]

Thanks for the input :). The only thing that's making it hard for me is that my daughter isn't with her age group "now"--she's a year (or in some case more than a year) younger than most of her peers (in first grade and in CCD). So technically if I hold her back, she will stay with her age group. But it's something to consider (the whole CCD progression regardless of age or as Puzzleannie pointed out public school level).


#8

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:4, topic:235062"]
Huh... well I learn something new every day! Thanks for your insights, puzzleannie!
I wonder if CCD works differently than religious education within a parish school in general??? Although I know every parish is really unique in how they handle these things...

[/quote]

yes it probably does. In the parish school the child would most likely stay with the same class for religion as well as academics. If children enter our school after 3rd grade they are sent to parish CCD for first communion because there is no way to involve them in prep classes with the younger grades without disrupting the rest of their school day. In many places the diocese follows the established policy as it should be: sacramental preparation and celebration is in the child's parish, not the school, since so many Catholic schools are now regional rather than parochial. If any of this fits your family best find out when you enroll in the school.


#9

Love what puzzleannie said. As a CCE director, I can say that it has gone both ways. My opinion is that catechesis and sacramental formation should never be held back for academic reasons.
Understanding is important, but is secondary to a conversion of faith. Our Holy Father said we should "be generous" in bringing the children to the Lord's table.


#10

I remember that in my class, by the time Confirmation rolled around (11th grade in my parish), there were several 10th graders in our Confirmation class. We all went to the same schools (our public school system was probably 75% Catholic) so we all knew each other well. Clearly those kids had started first grade with us but had been held back a year at some point, but they continued with CCD progression despite grade level at school.

I really can't see a point in "holding back" a kid in CCD because, at least from my experience, the curriculum is not all that challenging intellectually and the social aspect of it is not that significant. Also, she might be looking forward to First Communion next year and maybe would feel sad about having to delay that?


#11

Speaking as a mother myself of 4; when my kids were young (all are adults now) our middle daughter was having a hard time reading. The situation was very similar to what mellowcalico is describing. I wish with all my heart we had held her back at the first grade level. She could not keep up in that area for the rest of her time in school and her whole education suffered because of it. I think that (especially if you are moving and she will make new friends anyway) you might consider acting on the side of caution and hold her back. She will be with kids her own age socially (since she is younger) and it will give her a chance to get the reading down better. Learning some of the other skills again (math etc.) sounds like good practice for her to me too. Just my humble opinion; hope it helps! Good Luck!


#12

If I were you I would take my lead from how the school will be handling her other subjects. You said she is excelling in math, science, etc. If she repeats first grade, is the school expecting her to just repeat all those subjects 'as is'? If this is a public school, they will probably offer some kind of enrichment program to make sure she isn't wasting her time for those subjects. You could do the same thing for religious ed.

In our CCE program, for most grades, the CCE grade is the same as the school grade. That being said, most kids would be bored silly if they had to repeat first grade. We change it up when it gets to high school. One of the local public school districts has a policy of reclassifying many students after their 9th grade year. They call them "reclassified freshmen". We (at CCE) call them 10th graders. :)


#13

since we have children in first, second and third year sacramental preparation in every grade here, it does not much matter too much as the texts for each year are the same for kids in that level for primary, secondary, middle grades, and high school. We also encourage families to keep children in sacramental classes year round including summer so they don't lose ground. We lose about 1/3 of students in September who ended "regular CCD" in May, but retain almost 100% who go on to celebrate sacraments when they attend summer sessions on Sunday morning.

We use bilingual books in the "mixed grade" classes because of the simple fact that here at least, (and the older the child the more likely this is to be true), one of the reasons the child is delayed in sacramental prep is learning problems, and one of the reasons for learning problems is the language issue. Either they are ESL, or the adult responsible for them speaks only Spanish, or Spanish is the primary language at home. Using bilingual resources means at least one basic religious text will end up at home that can be read by every literate person in the household, and unites rather than divides generations, and facilitates learning English, as well as learning faith basics, by everyone who has access to the book.

The required parent sacramental classes are offered at the same time as their CCD sessions, for family convenience, in both languages, and so the parents are prepared for what the children are learning at the same time. If the Valley continues to go like the rest of Texas we will have to think about adding Vietnamese and Korean shortly. Recent incomers from India, Africa and the Philippines who are also changing our demographic are usually well versed in English (and in the Faith) so it is not so much an issue.

I forgot to say for OP and other parents facing the same challenge, no matter what you decide, try to get a used religion text for her grade to work with her over the summer, that will help her reading skills in general, give you some quality time together, and bring her up to speed for continuing RE in the Fall.


#14

A different perspective from a former homeschooling mom. My daughter was a late reader but once she got it she soared in reading. If its only reading holding her back and she's made great progress this year, next year might just be the year it finally clicks. My daughter has fall birthday so she was young for grade as well. Its been many years (she's 15 and in public high school now) but if memory serves me it wasn't until late in first grade she finally "got" reading. If you daughter is doing very well in all other subjects, my own gut tells me she's bright and once she gets it she will catch up very quickly.

Either way I wouldn't hold her back in ccd.


#15

As a Catholic School teacher, I thought I'd try to offer my insight. I know your child's teacher said it's up to you, but have you asked her opinion? What would she recommend? Ask her what she would do if this were her daughter. It is your decision, but she is in the classroom with your daughter every day...I think she would have great insight.

Also, I would have her repeat 1st grade in CCD so she is with her peers. At this level, she wills till get something out of it that she didn't get this year, and she'll be with kids her own age.

There is never (or rarely) any harm in waiting a year.


#16

As a mother who fought to have a son held back in school, only to be denied, I say "Go for it." Most teachers I know would never even bring up the subject unless they were pretty sure the kid would be worse off going to the next grade. Since she's so much younger than most of the children it won't do her any harm and will likely benefit her greatly -- she'll likely ace next year and have great self-confidence. OTOH, problems with reading could affect other subjects.

As for CCD, let her go ahead. There's no reason to hold her back.


#17

[quote="mellowcalico, post:1, topic:235062"]
My daughter is currently in first grade and is struggling with reading. While her reading has improved quite a bit from the beginning of year, she's really not at the level she should be at this point in first grade. I've talked with her teacher and she brought up something I am mulling over as a parent, the possibility of her repeating first grade. It's kind of in my hands--the teacher will promote her if I say promote, but hold her back if I say hold her back. But if I do that, what should I do about CCD? Should I have her repeat first grade CCD too? I am interested in input on both subjects--especially from parents who may have faced the same thing.

I'll be honest, at first I was dead set against holding my daughter back. Then I realized my own pride and fear of "failing as a parent" was overriding what might actually be best for my daughter. So now I am mulling over the decision and giving it serious thought. I plan to see how the rest of the school year shapes up thought before I make the final decision (to see if she suddenly "catches up" for example).

Here's a little background which might help. First off, my daughter barely qualifies age-wise for first grade. She was born right around the cut off age and is the youngest in her class. She is very bright and gets the highest marks in all other subjects (math, social studies, science, music, art, behavior, etc) it's just the reading that is the stumbling block. The problem is, reading is the key thing grades 1-3. And I am afraid if she is promoted too soon she will always struggles with reading and it will start effecting her other subjects as well. But at the same time, she does so well in math social studies, and science, I hate to see her bored repeating those subjects again.

She tries her best; and 7 months ago I signed her up for a special reading program with a reading teacher. Of course, I have been working with her every day and have been increasing reading efforts. We read books daily, play reading and spelling games, have flash cards, etc. But I really believe she's just not developmentally there if that makes any sense. I think it's also worth mentioning that she is also a bit ostracized by her peers since she is the youngest and smallest (she is still 6 and will still be 6 at the end of the year while most of the class was 7 starting first grade and some will be turning 8 by the end of the year). Most of her friends are kindergartners.

My husband left us this year to pursue his own life--so I am pretty much a single parent on my own (he sees her, but I am taking care of her for the most part and helping her with schooling). I am sure that didn't help matters as it was a very stressful time for me and my daughter as we adjusted. Home schooling isn't an option since I am the bread winner. I am also moving out of the area at the end of the school year and my daughter will be in a new school. So my thought was repeating first grade wouldn't have the social stigma for her (you know, being left behind while her class mates move on). She would also be with kids closer to her own age. She would be aware she's repeating first grade though.

My thought on holding back is this. I will continue to work with her, but see where she is at the end of the school year. Then I will decide. I plan on getting her a phonics tutor over the summer as well as continuing to work with her myself regardless of whether I hold her back or not.

But I also wonder if I hold her back, should I do the same in CCD? My thought is, it won't hurt her to have more instruction before First Holy Communion (which she would receive at age 8 instead of 7 if I do this) and it will put her in the same CCD class as her peers from school as well. So in that respect it will be keeping things feeling "normal" for her. But should I hold back on her getting the Sacrament due to academics?

Thanks!

[/quote]

You have almost an ideal situation for having her repeat 1st grade. First, she is young for the grade anyway, and not developmentally as mature as her classmates. This makes her seem behind, when she is just younger and not as ready. She has gone through the stress of losing her daddy in the home. And, you are going to move her to another school so she will not see her peers advance while she stays behind (although even that might not be so bad for her as you also say she is friends with girls a year younger than she is - a real tip-off that she is over-placed).

If she knows some of the material from having already worked it this year, she will be one of the more confident students in her class, which will boost her self-esteem after this difficult year. Don't even push her into a gifted math class. Let her be on top of the class instead of having to work for every A she gets.

My older son's birthday is May 24, and he was always the youngest or one of the youngest in his class. He is intelligent, but if I had it to do over, I'd have given him an extra year in preschool or something (actually I'd homeschool him). He was bullied from about 3rd grade through 5th grade (not physically, but verbally) and could not find the courage to stand up for himself. He was slight physically too, and another year would have meant that he would have grown up a bit taller in middle school. The teachers told me he'd be "bored" if I held him back! You'd have thought they'd encourage it since it meant one more year of tuition for the school!

Anyway, based on what you've told us about your daughter, she sounds an almost ideal candidate to repeat the grade. She will probably mature over the summer and then really be ready to fly next year.

As for CCD, I'd probably leave her where she is, since that is not based on reading or academics.


#18

Thanks everyone! You've given me a lot to think about. I really am leaning towards holding my daughter back and basically giving her a fresh start at a new school... unless there is some big break through with reading (like another poster's child had). I'll keep working with her though and trying as long as it doesn't get overtaxing or stressful for my daughter (I don't want her to hate reading if you know what I mean).

The hardest part will be explaining repeating first grade to my daughter. She's aware that she's supposed to be going in second grade next year and has mentioned it. I need to think of a good way to tell her she's going to be starting over again without implying she failed in some way (she's a bit of a mini perfectionist, always tries her best and is kind of sensitive to when things go wrong despite her best efforts). But I suppose it's a life lesson--we can't always "win."

I am still a bit muddled on what to do with CCD--although my position on holding her back in CCD as well isn't as "strong" as it once was. I plan on talking to the Sister that teaches her CCD class and getting her take on things.


#19

[quote="mellowcalico, post:18, topic:235062"]
Thanks everyone! You've given me a lot to think about. I really am leaning towards holding my daughter back and basically giving her a fresh start at a new school... unless there is some big break through with reading (like another poster's child had). I'll keep working with her though and trying as long as it doesn't get overtaxing or stressful for my daughter (I don't want her to hate reading if you know what I mean).

The hardest part will be explaining repeating first grade to my daughter. She's aware that she's supposed to be going in second grade next year and has mentioned it. I need to think of a good way to tell her she's going to be starting over again without implying she failed in some way (she's a bit of a mini perfectionist, always tries her best and is kind of sensitive to when things go wrong despite her best efforts). But I suppose it's a life lesson--we can't always "win."

I am still a bit muddled on what to do with CCD--although my position on holding her back in CCD as well isn't as "strong" as it once was. I plan on talking to the Sister that teaches her CCD class and getting her take on things.

[/quote]

I would turn the new school experiance into a positive thing. Yes, it's still first grade, but it really seems best.

You might just want to say that because of her age she just made the cut off for first grade at her last school but this school is different and she HAS to do first grade again. If the school is genuinely taking her abilities into account, this is not a lie at all.


#20

[quote="mellowcalico, post:18, topic:235062"]
Thanks everyone! You've given me a lot to think about. I really am leaning towards holding my daughter back and basically giving her a fresh start at a new school... unless there is some big break through with reading (like another poster's child had). I'll keep working with her though and trying as long as it doesn't get overtaxing or stressful for my daughter (I don't want her to hate reading if you know what I mean).

The hardest part will be explaining repeating first grade to my daughter. She's aware that she's supposed to be going in second grade next year and has mentioned it. I need to think of a good way to tell her she's going to be starting over again without implying she failed in some way (she's a bit of a mini perfectionist, always tries her best and is kind of sensitive to when things go wrong despite her best efforts). But I suppose it's a life lesson--we can't always "win."

I am still a bit muddled on what to do with CCD--although my position on holding her back in CCD as well isn't as "strong" as it once was. I plan on talking to the Sister that teaches her CCD class and getting her take on things.

[/quote]

Maybe stress how she is friends with girls younger than she is, tell her that you and her teacher noticed that and there are "nicer" girls in the 1st grade at her new school? I don't know exactly how to word that, but maybe stressing the social aspects would get the idea of failing 1st grade out of her head. Remember, if you are confident that what you are doing is the best thing for her, you will put that across to her and she will accept it.

Tell her that she will be able to excel in her new class and that every student is different, sometimes you just need to try another teacher in a new school.


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