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Gifted Child Needs to be Challenged

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

My 5-year-old is extremely bright. She started reading when she was 4 and though she just started kindergarten she is already reading at a second grade level. Her vocabulary is even more impressive. She is inquisitive, and seems to soak up knowledge like a sponge. She is outgoing, and makes friends easily and is tall for her age.

The question has been raised on whether to move her up to first grade now, skipping kindergarten. What are the pros and cons on skipping grades? Is there any consensus opinion within the child development community on this issue?


Have bright 5-year-old

Dear Have bright 5-year-old,

Academically advanced children need to be challenged in a learning environment with similar peers. You didn't specify in which state you live, but most public school districts have a gifted or highly capable program within the school system. Parents must apply to have their children tested.

If your school district does not have such a program, then look into private gifted schools in your area. Home schooling is another option.

However, if you would like to stay at your current school even though it does not have a gifted program, then moving her a grade level ahead may be the best solution. Generally, gifted children experts feel a gifted child's social and emotional age is closer to their mental age than to their actual age. As long as the school and her teacher are supportive, and the child doesn't mind, then skipping a grade shouldn't present a problem.

For good resources about gifted children, see the Hoagies Gifted Education Page at or the National Association for Gifted Children at