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

LMcAbee's picture

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.

gntmom1's picture

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.

rhonreyn's picture

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.

Debbiedoo's picture

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.

michelleh's picture

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.

motherof7's picture

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.



Geenie's picture

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,








gbur04's picture

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?

lanie's picture


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!

dori's picture

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.