It is imperative that all children know how to read by the end of third grade. This is a crucial developmental milestone for all kids. A student’s reading level determines his or her ability to obtain new knowledge and retain prior knowledge. It is also predicts how well they will function academically in the upper grades.
From kindergarten to third-grade, most children are learning how to read. They are discovering how individual letters sound and how to combine letter- sounds together to form a particular word. They are studying the meaning of individual words, and how these words function within a sentence or a paragraph to communicate information.
Once a child enter fourth grade, it is assumed that s/he is capable of reading and decoding words. Therefore, teachers no longer instruct students in the process of how to read. Instead, reading instruction -from fourth grade to high school – will now focus on comprehension and critical analysis.
For learners, who have not reached proficiency by the end of third grade, will now find themselves in a predicament. These children will be expected to read at the same rate as their proficient peers. A majority of them will struggle to comprehend and retain information from their text books. Most will want to stop or will cease trying to learn.
The act of reading for them no longer make sense; it is incomprehensible. The older they get, the more difficult it is for them to catch-up and develop the reading skills they need in the upper grades.
This is unfortunate because most reading problems can be corrected if caught early. If a learner is not able to decode or to recognize words or parts of words by the end of first grade, s/he ought to be place in a reading intervention program. Reading programs explicitly instruct students in phoneme awareness, phonics, spelling, and reading comprehension skills.
Many of these programs can correct a kid’s reading deficits, but early identification is the key. It is important that parents and teachers get their students help if they suspect a problem.