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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - A new state-wide survey shows thousands of Kentucky's kids going into kindergarten are not prepared to learn.
Chenoweth Elementary kindergarten teacher Diane Robertson says it's a struggle.
"If I spend a tremendous amount of time on routines and procedures for children who've never sat for an extended period of time, it takes away from the instruction," she said.
Far too many JCPS students are starting kindergarten behind. Tests show in 2012, only about 35 percent of kids entered class prepared. Last year, that number jumped to 52 percent. That means that nearly half of the kids in Kentucky come in the door playing catchup.
"Some children have never been read to," said Robertson. "That's a foundation that I need to begin teaching a child. Looking at the pictures, looking at the pictures getting your mouth ready, and knowing the alphabet before they come in."
JCPS is hosting workshops with parents and childcare providers in the lowest performing areas of the district. Leaders offer strategies for how to get everyone on the same page with what students need to know on Day One.
Kevin Nix, director of JCPS Early Childhood Education, says, "You can count acorns, you can count cereal, you can look at the colors on the cereal box as you go through the grocery store."
Educators hope those simple lessons will stay consistent from the living room to the class room. For a district that's struggled with low test scores, Robertson knows there's an urgent need to fix the problem.
She says, "If I don't catch them up now, they come in behind then like you said, the gap's just going to get wider and wider and wider."