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Help students be prepared

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As we begin making plans to head back to school, I am hopeful for the 24-plus kindergartners who will enter my classroom and for future kindergartners. Senate Bill 1381, authored by Sen. Joe Simitian, would require that children entering kindergarten in California be 5 years old by Sept. 1. Currently, children can enter kindergarten if they are 5 on or before Dec. 2. This year, I will begin my 21st year of teaching, with this being my 11th year in kindergarten. When I started in kindergarten, the children needed to leave knowing their letters and sounds, numbers to 30, and maybe write a simple sentence. Learning to read was a bonus. Now, the children need to come into kindergarten knowing all of the letters, capital and lowercase. Sounds are still taught but much more rapidly. Children need to use numbers to 30, add and subtract to 10, write a sentence and reading is a must before you leave. Over the years, I have found three-fourths of the children who fall behind in kindergarten and need intervention (hard to believe one needs intervention in kindergarten) are either “late birthdays” (birthdays after August) or they didn’t attend pre-school. I want all children to feel ready for the coming school year and be ready to tackle the task at hand. I hope you will contact our Assemblyman Ted Gaines and offer your support of this bill and, more importantly, of our children. Tammy Flynn, Lincoln