Should You Worry If Your Kindergartner Can’t Read?: 5 Things to Know About Kids This Week

Our curated list of kid-related news for May 20, 2016.

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Dana Villamagna, Toca Magazine Writer
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  • Traffic_BOOK_1215x6401. Kindergartener’s not reading? Don’t panic, says mom/blogger Gaye Groover Christmus on the Huffington Post this week. Just because the new expectation is that students learn to read in kindergarten, that doesn’t make it right for every kid: “Even though most educators know that many children aren’t ready to learn to read until first grade. Even though countries like Finland educate kindergarteners by allowing them to play, not teaching them to academic skills. And even though the new standard causes teachers, parents and even children themselves to worry that something is ‘wrong’ if children aren’t reading when they arrive in the first grade classroom.” Groover Christmus says one of her sons wasn’t an early reader; he recently graduated from college with a 3.93 GPA. Instead of worrying about a standards-imposed early reading deadline, she offers four more pressing problems for parents to consider, such as the lack of free-play time in schools. (4 Things Worse Than Not Learning to Read in Kindergarten)
  • 2. Alcohol ads part of kids’ day. Advertisements for alcoholic beverages are everywhere, and many kids are exposed to an average of three a day, or about 1,000 per year. A recent study followed 589 kids age 11 to 14 living in Southern California who reported seeing an average of about three alcohol-related advertisements a day, many of which were on billboards. This week’s CNBC report about the RAND Corp. study also noted that other research has found that exposure to alcohol-related ads may “hasten initiation of drinking and increase consumption” in teens. (American Kids see about 3 alcohol ads per day: Rand Study)
  • 3. Higher STEM scores for girls not the whole story. The National Assessment of Education Progress scores in technology and engineering-related skills received a lot of attention this week when they showed that “45 percent of females met or exceeded the proficient level, compared with 42 percent of males.” But some pundits say the three-point difference may not be as significant as other scores in the report, or as important as the question of why girls aren’t going into tech careers when they clearly have the intellect-specific skills to do so: “While the ‘Girls Outperform Boys’ headlines might grab the public’s eye, the underlying story is more complicated,” said Karen Peterson, the chief executive of the National Girls Collaborative Project, quoted in an article on The Atlantic about the study results. She said girls need to “increase their persistence and resilience in STEM studies so that those early kernels of interest translate into meaningful careers.” (The Complex Data on Girls in STEM)
  • 4. These kids know they can dance. Kids age 8 to 13 are taking center stage this year on the popular TV dance competition So You Think You Can Dance. Producers “vetted 3,857 videos in addition to seeing thousands of hopefuls in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York,” according to an article Wednesday in the New York Daily News. The first episode is scheduled to air May 30 on FOX. While some people reportedly told the judges that kids weren’t old enough to handle the emotional intensity of the dances, the judges said these talented kids — many of whom have been dancing since age 3 — can bring it on. The champion will win $250,000. (So You Think You Can Dance: ‘The Next Generation’: The auditions, the judges and the dancers take Manhattan)
  • 5. Parks could be more inclusive. Girls and older people are less likely to use parks than boys and men, according to a study released Wednesday. The study showed that “38 percent of park users were children and 13 percent teens, though those demographic groups represent 20 percent and 7 percent of the U.S. population.” In an NPR report about the study, which was conducted by RAND Corp. and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, experts speculated that some common activities and facilities in many parks may skew toward male interests: “…(B)oys accounted for 60 percent of the time children spent on moderate to vigorous physical activity in the parks. Among teens, that figure was 68 percent.” As a result, parks may want to add a wider variety of activity options to get more girls, teen girls and older people moving outside.  (Girls and Older Adults are Missing Out on Parks for Recreation)

 

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