When my 8yr old was an early 4, I devoted a lot of time & patience towards having him know how to read BEFORE he reached Kindergarten. What provoked me to do this? I saw that he could read or name Every CARTOON that came on CARTOON NETWORK, DISNEY and NICKOLODEON! -Even tell you what time they all came on just about. So I was thinking under my breath, "Shoot Boy, If you can do all that, you can do....! This was only EASY for me to do as far as time because I work at nights to leave my days open. But anyway, I was buying workbooks from K-Mart/Walmart etc. Finding discarded Library books at local THRIFT SHOPS, even shopping where the teachers themselves shopped for teaching materials. I set right to it. Little lessons each day. Rewarding him here and there. Most times he was fustrated at being pushed (challenged) but when he actually saw himself READING. He was eager to learn. So that was Successful Because he was Way On Time By the Time He Started Kindergarten. When he got to first grade, the school that he went to focused on Reading and Writing which I thought was odd. I notice that they were asking 6-7 year olds who hadn't mastered spelling to write Journals and Book Reports, like they were in 3rd grade! It was backwards to me! He'd come home having wrote these little papers with Mis-spellings throughout but the teacher PRAISED him, put smiley faces and stickers...and GOOD JOB on them! So I had to go out to the school with my "hair-rollers in my head like mama and 'nem did back in the day! -Not really. But I confronted this teacher. Her excuse to me at Parent Teacher conference was...."We're not concerned right now with spelling....we merely want them to express their thoughts..see their thought pattern...they will focus on that in 2nd grade" So I said, Bet. He gets to second grade, same school, but not only do they NOT TEACH HIM, THEY DON'T HAVE SPELLING TEXT BOOKS! NO SPELLING PLAN. So I am Hot!! Because (and I told the teacher/principal this) Even I had a Spelling Book in 2nd grade! Their excuse for not teaching him was that the school had students in each class all on different learning levels due to Language Barriers and so forth. ( Mexicans, Somalians, etc) This was supposed to be one of the better School Systems. What angered me was having got my son ready and not have the SCHOOL or TEACHER meet him half-way! So I ended up further teaching him at home until we moved out of that School District and City completely. Leaving me to RESEARCH the schools in the new area. Which we are straight now. But STILL at this new school which once again is supposed to be one of the better schools in the District, I am still seeing TEACHERS WHO WILL LET OUR BLACK CHILDREN SLIDE RIGHT UNDER THE RADAR(GIVE THEM SMILEY FACES FOR SPELLING THE WORD CAT WITH AN "E")....ESPECIALLY IF WE AS BLACK PARENTS DON'T REPRESENT. STAY INVOLVED AND SHOW THEM THAT WE ARE CONCERNED.