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How worrisome is this?
Old 09-23-2020, 03:03 PM
 
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I hope you don't mind me popping in to visit you, K teachers. I've got some serious concerns as grandma and nowhere else to ask. DGD is 5 1/2 years old. She didn't go to daycare but went to public school preschool last year until schools closed in March. She was never interested in drawing, writing, or coloring. Now in K she
*cannot draw any representational pictures
*does not color in the lines
*does not color more than one color on a page, which means that she doesn't color different parts of picture
*cannot write letters or numbers, including her name
*traces letters and numbers out of order - in other words, she traces over lines but not in the order that would allow her to reproduce those letters or numbers independently
She also doesn't read any words by sight, although she does know her letters and sounds (thank you, LeapFrog!).

I know this is quite delayed but is this very unusual during this COVID year? Or are you seeing other children who are this far behind? Her public school is virtual, so even if her parents request testing I can't imagine how she could get services. How do I help her parents help her learn to write?


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Still a preschooler
Old 09-23-2020, 04:18 PM
 
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We were reminded that whatever grade we teach, our students will really be at the level of the grade before. That means your GD is truly still a preschooler.

To help with handwriting, do things that will strengthen her fine motor muscles. Have her cut lines on cardstock, make letters out of clay, glue beans to make letters...all those fun artsy activities.

You can put a few beginning sight words on flash cards, but she may not be ready for that. You can strengthen her letter- sound recognition with more fun activities, like finding pictures that begin with A.

They need to meet her where she is and bring her forward. Most importantly, she needs to build her social skills and “school smarts.” The rest will come when she is ready.
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Old 09-23-2020, 04:46 PM
 
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She sounds like many of the kids I have come to me, even in a "normal" year. I would not be concerned yet, and I wouldn't see her as delayed. You said she has never been interested - to me that says a lot. Is she able to follow directions? Listen to a story? Does she ask and answer questions? How is her vocabulary and speaking ability? If she's interested in a task, how long does she attend to it? Can she transition from activities, even when she's not ready?

I would not worry about letters and coloring and tracing, but I would work on fine motor skills. Pinching, squeezing, using glue bottles and hole punches, playing with tiny toys that need put together and pulled apart, making bracelets and necklaces, using scissors, kneading playdough and clay - all of those things will help with the writing and tracing. And once she's interested in letters and numbers, start with fun things like writing in chalk on the sidewalk, or painting them with water on the house, drawing them in sand or making them with playdough.

Writing will come, but it will come slower this year than in a normal year. And it's definitely the hardest thing for parents to help with!
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Old 09-23-2020, 07:52 PM
 
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All of these are totally normal:

*does not color in the lines
*does not color more than one color on a page, which means that she doesn't color different parts of picture
*cannot write letters or numbers, including her name
*traces letters and numbers out of order - in other words, she traces over lines but not in the order that would allow her to reproduce those letters or numbers independently
She also doesn't read any words by sight, although she does know her letters and sounds (thank you, LeapFrog!).

In fact, the last part is more advanced than most of my incoming kinders. I definitely always have 1-4 reluctant colorers too. it's not that they can't, it's just that most of them don't want to. Usually I encourage it by showing them LOTS of books and talking about how pretty the pictures are because they use lots of colors. Usually they want to start replicating, though some are stubborn and stay reluctant most the year. At which point, I make it a class rule that each picture needs to have 3+ colors


This is a little more interesting:
*cannot draw any representational pictures

two things could be happening here. Either her handwriting and drawing is poor and she needs to work on muscle control. Which is totally normal and expected of children who haven't worked much on hand strength. Things like play dough, tweezers, and other game help. Google "hand strength games" for ideas.

OR it's possible that she's unable to physically represent pictures because her brain isn't making the connection. For example, if you read her a book about frogs and ask her to draw a frog, it would be very concerning if she drew something different, or if she drew something illegible AND wasn't able to tell you that it was a frog. If this is the case, I would bring it up with her teacher and ask for ideas.
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Old 09-24-2020, 01:20 AM
 
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On top of the other thoughts that have already been shared, please rest assured that a lot of the things you listed are taught in Kindergarten.

Some students don't naturally pick up on how to color -- they need to be shown and taught. One of my first lessons in Kindergarten is always about our "Best Kindergarten Coloring." We make an anchor chart about how to color -- use the right colors for pictures (not just the first crayon you grab!), stay inside the lines, and color all the white space. You would be surprised at how much better coloring is once students are taught that there's a certain way to do it!!

Some students don't understand that letters always begin on the left-hand side of a word and move sequentially -- they need to be taught. We do this by practicing with words (starting with their name!). We write it in pencil, in marker, with play-doh, etc. until they become very familiar with it. Then we practice the names of their friends and family. These are the most important words to them! Then we'll add in color and number words, sight words, etc.

We do a lot of handwirting practice in Kindergarten -- we have songs/poems for each number, and practice letters carefully all the way through the year. Many students need explicit practice and instruction on how to form letters and numbers.

Before I taught Kindergarten, I had no idea how many foundational skills are taught in this transformative year. Some students learn these things naturally as they progress through their younger years, but many students need to be taught the things you listed explicitly and systematically. I used to love first grade because of all the reading instruction. Now I love Kindergarten because they come to me with knowing so little, and leave with all the tools they'll need to be successful learners!


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Old 09-24-2020, 03:39 AM
 
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The previous posters have given excellent responses (much better than I could). I agree that many of these things are quite normal. Not to mention she really only had 6 months of PreK! You could still bring up your concerns with her teacher if you want, and maybe the teacher has some suggestions for working on those areas, but overall I'd say give her some time and see what happens. If she continues to struggle, then you may want to bring it up again just to make sure nothing's going on.

I'm also with the previous poster in thinking that it's awesome that she already knows most of her letters! Many kindergartners don't at this point in the year.
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Very appreciative
Old 09-24-2020, 03:46 AM
 
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I really appreciate your responses and they definitely make me feel better. I'm not sure her teacher is quite as understanding as you all are but hopefully will come around. I totally agree that we can't approach our students as if they completed the previous school year. DGD's class is full of kids that have been through years of daycare and have more experience than a few months of formal education. I'll share every one of your ideas with her parents and encourage them to build those foundational skills she's missing. I'm glad I decided to post here! PT teachers are the best!
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