mom2julesjake's picture

Repeat first grade???


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

kish's picture

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.



kczwmom's picture

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

cgmom's picture

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!

DinoRJR's picture

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.

mlanier's picture

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.

sibbs's picture

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.

sherryf's picture

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!

pweatherly's picture

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!!!

sahmom's picture

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,



mom2julesjake's picture

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.