Age 9-11 notify me

Is 9-11 appropriate?

Ashley K
LaPlace, LA
I am currently working on 7-9 curriculum with my two daughters, 9 & 10, who would be in 4th & 5th grades. I will be buying new curriculum in December. My 10 y/o is not a strong reader so I will definitely be doing the 8-10 for her. My 9 y/o has seemed a little bored with some of the books so I used the placement test for the 9-11 level to see how she would do. She is 'advanced' in fluency and comprehension at this level, but did not do as well with the writing. She isn't a fan of writing and will typically do the bare minimum for any writing assignments. With all of that said, would you recommend this level for her or should I avoid skipping at the risk of her being bored?
Keith H
College Station, TX
Hi Ashley,

Thanks for reaching out to us with your question. Placing kids that are advanced in reading but not in writing can be challenging. We want them to be challenged but not frustrated.

I will give you a few ideas to consider regarding your daughter. I won't be providing a definitive answer for which age level, but it should help structure your thoughts on how to make a good decision. As a part of this recommendation, I am not even going to consider the reading level. She is a strong reader, and the books in either level are going to be fantastic. Books in both levels have compelling story arcs and interesting characters. All of them are interesting enough to hold an adult's attention. They won't be at the top of her ability, but once a reader gets to this point, that is really no longer the goal.

As far as the writing is concerned, the first thing I would look at is how she was doing near the end of the Age 7-9 level. Does she understand how to structure a paragraph with a main idea, supported with details, and wrapped up with a conclusion. I want to tease out whether her low score on the writing assessment is based on not understanding this structure, a dislike of writing, or a struggle with the mechanics of spelling and grammar. If it is either of the latter two, I would lean towards the higher level. If it is the former, then I would lean toward the younger level.

In the rubric for the writing assignment, each of the categories is given the same weight. Paragraph structure and main idea are each weighted the same as using descriptive words and mechanics. In reality, these categories should not be considered as equal. It is much easier to correct a student's use of descriptive words (especially if they are just trying to get a writing assignment over with), grammar, and spelling than it is to teach a child to come up with interesting ideas and structure it in a logical and compelling manner.

Finally, some children despise writing, but they have the potential to be fantastic writers. I have a hard time coming up with a skill that has more bearing on your child's future than the ability to write in an effective and compelling manner -- no matter her career goals. The Age 9-11 level introduces children to even more structure than the Age 8-10. By the end of the first semester of Age 9-11, she will be writing 5 paragraph essays. If your daughter understands how to structure writing multiple paragraphs on a topic, then she is probably ready to move on and learn this deeper structure. If this is still challenging, then you should consider the Age 8-10.

I hope this helps you think through your placement questions. Let me know if can help out in any other way.