The Place for Expert Reading Advice

The Place for Expert Reading Advice

Reading Spotlight Blog -

Should You Redshirt Your Kindergartener?


Is your child ready for kindergarten? Will a delayed start to kindergarten improve chances of a child’s success? Will it produce improved emotional, social, academic, and/or athletic outcomes? Or will it sacrifice valuable time when a child’s brain is primed for learning? Will a delayed entry actually harm your child’s progress? Will it ingrain boredom and lackadaisical effort? The closer your child’s birthday is to your school’s cutoff date, the more difficult the decision.

Many kindergarteners have not experienced a full school year due to the pandemic. I hope this repost might help some parents and teachers in reaching what might be a more difficult conclusion than usual this year.


According to U.S. statistics (NCES)*

6% enter K at age 4
42% enter K at age 5-5½
43% enter K at age 5½ -6
9% enter K already at age 6

The results of educational research into redshirting kindergarteners are inconclusive.** Some analyses indicate improvement in early grades, but not thereafter, except in athletics. One study finds reduced inattentiveness and hyperactivity that might carry over into higher grades. Another research article indicates that self-regulation improves with later entry. Some studies suggest no long-term benefits when controlled for socio-economic and developmental factors. Different worldwide research indicates a slight advantage through high school.

It is a highly competitive world we live in today, and one other consequential factor must be considered. Because kindergarten is the new first grade, it is very important that your child be ready for formal reading instruction. For better or worse, kindergarten today is more than social and emotional adjustment to school. Listening, reading, and writing are required daily.
Most regular kindergarten teachers want a child who sits still, listens, follows directions, and is eager to learn. They need students who are attentive, flexible, and persistent in grade-appropriate tasks.

Helpful resources to guide the redshirt decision include: first, your child’s preschool teacher, and then, kindergarten screening tests, usually administered by most school districts before school entrance. Evaluating your child’s individual differences in physical stature, academic readiness, and emotional and social characteristics is very important. Also, be sure to check out Reading Spotlight’s FREE


Self Help Test: A Parent Guide to Kindergarten Readiness

Reading Spotlight’s Free Tip: Kindergarten


Above all, trust your own instincts because you know your child best. Talk to your child’s present and future teachers because you all want what is best for your child’s development and success in school.


The information from this post was compiled from these studies:


@2020 Reading Spotlight (Repost from 2017)

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