Ben playing on boatI love to read interesting research and The ASHA Leader magazine does an excellent job of reporting current, relevant research in our  field of speech and language pathology. In their June edition, “Kindergarteners’ Behavior, Social ‘Readiness’ Could Affect Long-Term Success,” reports on new research from Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, stating a kindergartener’s readiness could could be linked to future academic success through fourth grade.

Parents who are struggling to decide whether to give their child that “extra year” of preschool if they don’t feel their child is “ready,” take note! According to the article, “in tracking more than 9,000 Baltimore City Public School students, nursing professor Deborah Gross and her team found that kindergartners not considered socially or behaviorally “ready” for school were up to 80 percent more likely to be held back a grade, as well as up to 80 percent more likely to have an IEP or 504 Plan.”

This shows how critical social-behavior readiness is for the child beginning kindergarten. I have been polling kindergarten teachers for years, asking them what skills they feel are most important for a child who is entering their class. I have never heard a teacher list knowing their letters but always say that the most important factor for being ready to learn in behavior and social skills–being able to sit and listen, wait their turn etc. Perhaps this will be an encouragement to parents as they make their decisions on when to enroll their children whom they might be considering holding back.