The importance of achieving reading proficiency by the end of third grade is well established among education professionals. And, the goal is by no means arbitrary. According to current research, if “graduating” third graders don’t develop the necessary reading skills, they can quickly fall behind not only in reading, but in other subject areas.
Given the high stakes, it would seem that this goal would be the #1 priority for most schools. Yet, only 35% of starting fourth graders across the country are proficient in reading, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Is your child one of them? If not, here’s what parents need to know.
Reading requires specific skills including general language comprehension ability and the ability to accurately and fluently identify the words in print. In fact, brain imaging research shows that incorrect processing (sounding out of words, sight reading of words, etc.) found in beginning readers continues unless direct intervention occurs. So, children will not simply “grow out” of their reading difficulties on their own.
The roots of reading difficulties are varied
There are many reasons children may struggle with reading at an early age. And, many children face several challenges all at once. The most common include:
Lack of book experience. Some children enter kindergarten with well over 1000 hours of quality book experience with their parents, some with virtually none.
Self-esteem issues. Struggling readers are frequently embarrassed or ashamed to read in front of their peers because they are not yet proficient.
Incentive. If a struggling or poor reader sees himself as such, there may be little motivation to improve. A defeatist attitude soon becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Sight vocabulary deficiency. Poor readers (at all grade levels) have a slower than normal development of a “sight vocabulary” of words which they can read fluently and automatically.
4 steps parents can take to improve reading skills
- Parents should model reading as a pleasurable activity to encourage children’s literacy. According to Reading Rockets, “Help your child understand that reading is important (and fun) by letting him see you reading maps, books, recipes, and directions. Suggest reading as a free-time activity.”
- Find books that entice children to read. A weekly trip to the library keeps reading material fresh and exciting. Finding a book series that really hits home with kids is a surefire way to encourage interest.
- Identify early. Parents need to speak with teachers and find out exactly what reading skills are expected at each grade level. Tracking progress helps quickly identify issues as they arise.
- Use a variety of reading aids. According to FamilyEducation.com, “To help your children improve their reading, use textbooks, computer programs, books-on-tape, and other materials available in stores. Games are especially good choices because they let children have fun as they work on their skills.”
When more help is needed.
If your child is seriously struggling academically, you don’t need a short-term fix. You need a lasting solution. Delaware’s only Department of Education-approved 1-on-1 Private School may be the answer you’ve been searching for.
At Back to Basics, we approach education in a whole new way, challenging your child to redefine the very definition of what “school” can be. With an unprecedented teacher-to-student ratio of 1:1 for all courses, we offer the proven teaching and testing methods that will enable your child to truly learn.
Back to Basics hand picks each teacher based on a variety of selection criteria such as your child’s academic situation, individual learning style, and any specific challenges he faces. Our experienced instructors help determine your child’s strengths and identify areas for improvement, crafting a personalized learning plan that will help him achieve academic success.
If this sounds like the right environment for your student, don’t wait. Students may enter Back to Basics at any time during a school year. And, with our convenient location near I-95 in Wilmington, Delaware our students hail from all over the region, including New Castle and Kent Counties, Delaware, southeastern Pennsylvania, and Maryland.
Call us now or email to schedule a no-obligation school tour. Back to Basics Private School is open M-F, 8:30-5:00 for tours and informational meetings.