Reading on Grade Level

Dear Teacher

How do I know if my kindergarten and third-grade children are reading on grade level? Also, can you provide a list of books for these grades?

Report cards and teacher conferences should already reflect your children’s reading level in both grades. If not, ask their teachers for this information. Be aware that reading on grade level can mean different accomplishments at different schools. Plus, you should expect bright children to be reading one or more years above their grade level.

On our website (, you will find the San Diego Quick Assessment (under “Checklists: Find Your Child’s Reading Level”) that will let you quickly gauge your children’s reading ability. All you have to do is to have your children read lists of words. This is a first-step screening procedure. However, research has confirmed that it is a fairly accurate estimate of children’s ability to read. Not only will it tell you the grade level where your child is actually reading. It will also tell you the grade levels where they can read independently and those where they will struggle.

The best way to get a list of suggested books for your children to read is to request one from your child’s teacher or the school librarian. It also can be helpful to ask friends about books their children are enjoying.




Does My Kid Fit In?

How can I tell if peers are accepting my middle-school son? He spends a lot of time in solitary pursuits.

Simple observations should answer your question. Are friends calling him? Is he calling others or participate in outings? Does he interact with neighbors his age? Does he play sports or belong to scouts or clubs? What does he say about having friends? Some introverts are happy with just one or two good friends. What do teachers say about his socialization at school?

Finally, are excessive online activities limiting personal contact with peers? Middle school can be a tough time, with peer pressure and fitting in a challenge. Casually discuss this with your son and find out if it’s a problem for him. It may not be.




Changing the 
Troublemaker Label

For the past two years, my child has been labeled a troublemaker. He is currently a fifth-grader and frequently receives detention. We have a meeting scheduled with his teacher because I heard this information is being sent to his middle school and I don’t want him labeled before he arrives.

You have been hearing about your son’s behavior for several years now. Why did he start acting this way in third grade? Were there changes prior to this time that affected him? And the big question: Why hasn’t something been done to change his behavior, either by you or the school?

As far as his records go, you will not be able to take out any information that teachers have put into them. However, you can look at the records and put in information expressing your take on his behavior for the middle-school teachers to see.

Realistically, it is past time for your son to change his image. When you meet with his teacher, ask what can be done right now to help your son eliminate the troublemaker label. Suggest that a behavior modification plan be developed immediately so some improvement in his behavior can begin to take place at once.

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