Tag Archives: 1000 books before Kindergarten

Should my child go to a full-day kindergarten? I have a choice.

Yes!  Research shows that

  • Students in full-day programs learn more than in half- day kindergartens, particularly in reading and math. Most full-day programs are 4.5 to 6 hours daily, while most half-day classes are 2 to 3 hours daily (30 hours weekly v. 15 hours weekly).

    Reading time in full-day and half-day kindergarten.

    Making the Most of Kindergarten: Present Trends and Future Issues in the Provision of Full-day Programs by Debra J. Ackerman, W. Steven Barnett, and Kenneth B. Robin (March 2005)

  • Full-day programs allow the student to spend close to an hour on self-directed activities which are linked to long-term learning, compared to about a half hour for such activities in half-day programs.

However, most states do not require districts to offer full-day kindergartens.

  • Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia and the District of Columbia require districts to offer full-day kindergartens.
  • Thirty-four other states require half-day kindergartens; however, many districts in those states offer full-day kindergarten.
  • Five states—Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania—do not require school districts to offer any kind of kindergarten, though most districts do.

The trend to attend kindergarten full-days is growing.  Only ten percent of kindergarteners attended full-days in the 1970’s, while more than half do now.

What is driving this trend?

  • Research showing academic gains by children in full-day programs is convincing legislators to budget more state money for full-day kindergartens.
  • The rigor of Common Core standards may be spurring longer kindergarten days.
  • The emphasis on early learning in general (prekindergarten through third grade) and the push to make all kids readers by third grade has educators looking for more time to teach children.

My older two children attended half-day kindergarten in Michigan—all that was offered in the school they attended.  But my youngest child attended full-days in Georgia.  He had not attended a pre-K program, so he found the long day in school tiring at first even though, after lunch, the lights went out and the blinds were drawn while the children lay on mats and were encouraged to nap.  Within a few weeks he had adjusted, paging through picture books while his friends napped.

Did I notice an academic advantage in my third child?  No.  Would I send all three to full-day kindergarten now if I had that opportunity?  Yes.  The growing research convinces me that full-day kindergarten gives children an advantage as they start first grade.  Other research shows that many students eventually lose that advantage as they move on to second and third grades.  However, that cannot be blamed on the kindergarten program.  –Mrs. K

I think the issue of full day kindergarten has changed from years ago.  The real question is, “What will my child be doing during the other half of the day if he is not in school?”  If a parent is lucky enough to be a full-time, stay-at-home parent, then maybe the child will be better off getting more TLC at home.   But if both parents are working, then those parents will probably want full day kindergarten .

One of my children had full-day kindergarten.  The other one had half-day kindergarten and half-day daycare.  My grandson is lucky enough to live in one of the three states that offer free preschool for four year olds.  He attends a half day program five days a week.  It seems to me that this year of preschool for four year olds is very much like what we used to call half-day kindergarten.  –Mrs. A

How about you?  Did you send your child to full-day kindergarten?  To half-day kindergarten?  Did it make a difference?

How many books are enough books for a preschooler?

Preschooler looking at a tall stack of books.1,000 books is a great goal, according to the 1,000 Books Foundation, a nonprofit organization which has enlisted the help of libraries across the US to promote reading. Their effort, “1,000 Books before Kindergarten,” has a simple goal: Children should be read 1,000 books before they start kindergarten.

1,000 books before kindergarten? Yes. They can be all different books or some of the same books read over and over to a child. The reading can begin in utero, or when the child is an infant or toddler, but the counting must stop by the day the child starts kindergarten. Parents are encouraged to write down the name of every book and the date it was read (Log sheets are available at 1000 books).  Writing down the names promotes accountability, and the growing list encourages persistence.

1,000 books might sound daunting, but if a parent reads one book a day for three years, that is more than 1,000 books. Many parents read more than one book a day, making the feat even easier. And if a parent reads a book to two or three children at a time, that counts as a book for each of them.

Some libraries provide their patrons with a journal in which they can list the titles. Some libraries offer stickers to children for meeting benchmark goals. Some local newspapers publish the picture of all children who reach 1,000 books.

Have you participated? Were you able to reach 1,000 books? Let our readers know. –Mrs. K

Of course there are some parents who may be turned off by the idea of listing the title of every book read every day. I know that would become tedious for me. It reminds me of diets where you list every food eaten every day. After a few weeks, most of us cannot maintain the daily log. But how about just a check mark or a number on the calendar…adding up the total at the end of the month and then adding on as the year continues. –Mrs. A