Some parents have no issues allowing their children to learn how to read when they start schooling. Others are interested in their children being able to read earlier in life. Where do you fall?
In the past years, there has been evident interest shown in teaching kids how to read early.
Research shows that it is possible to teach kids to read from an early age. As long as your child can speak, do not hesitate to start teaching him/her how to read. That will improve your child’s cognitive development and help your kid do better in school.
In fact, about 38% of grade four students read below their level. This was established by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP.) It is the only institution that provides surveys on students’ performance and academic subjects in the United States. According to their report, 38% of fourth-graders are at a below basic reading level of 208.
For a better understanding, the upper limit of the reading scale in the US is 500. Fourth graders should be at 217, eighth-graders should be at 264, and twelfth-graders should be at a 291.
On top of that, the levels of achievement in grade four are split into 3 categories: the advanced with 268, proficient with 238, and basic with 208. Here is how NAEP defines the basic reading achievement level:
“Fourth-grade students performing at the Basic level should demonstrate an understanding of the overall meaning of what they read. When reading text appropriate for fourth graders, they should be able to make relatively obvious connections between the text and their own experiences and extend the ideas in the text by making simple inferences.”
While NAEP clearly defines the basic reading achievement level, there is clear proof that more than a third of fourth-graders are below the basic level.
If you are a parent who has a child with reading difficulties, your best shot is to do your research on phonemic awareness, which really works for such cases. It also shows that if you start teaching your child to read early in life, he/she will not have reading and spelling difficulties.
Moreover, the National Reading Panel reviewed over 1,900 studies. It concluded that if you provide your child with phonics and phonemic awareness instructions, your child will achieve better results compared to other language programs.
Is Reading Early Beneficial?
That is a common question for many parents.There are countless documented benefits for your child if you teach him/her how to read early through phonics and phonemic awareness instructions.
It has been established that a child who possesses early language and reading abilities will do well in school, and I refer to all grades here. On the other hand, kids who have language and reading problems early in life may have issues with learning in school later on.
A study conducted in Sweden determined that “the subgroup of children with parents who had reported a history of reading problems at school entry scored significantly below average on sentence reading in Grade 4.” At the same time, kids who didn’t show much interest in books and stories scored just as low on sentence reading in grade four.
Of course, this is just one study. However, there are many more that arrived at the same conclusion. So, what is our take out here? Parents should start teaching how to read early enough.
How Early Should A Parent Start Teaching Their Child To Read?
No age is set in stone. All kids are different, which is why no official guidelines exist in this regard. However, as a parent, what you can do is to start exposing your child to books and reading soon enough? You can cultivate your child’s interest in reading as early as they learn how to speak correctly. The sooner you do that, the better. After all, every little one loves stories.
As your child gets older, restrict any form of distractions such as TVs, Mobile phones, etc. to help maintain their concentration. If they see other things as the primary source of entertainment, books will definitely become boring. So, Purchase children’s books, put them around the house, and encourage them to read more.
Regarding the public opinion on how soon a child should start to read, most people think it’s more appropriate for that to happen in kindergarten or the first grade. Nevertheless, studies have repeatedly shown that it’s not the most beneficial approach. In fact, it is well known in the academic world that kids with phonemic awareness do better in kindergarten, which goes on and on.
Parents should start teaching their children how to read as soon as possible, preferably before they join kindergarten. Not only will the child perform better in the first years of school, but with good phonics and phonemic awareness instruction, he/she will perform better overall during all school years.