Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes
For young learners, it is important to acquire the basic, underlying skills of literacy. The development of phonemic awareness, phonics, and vocabulary is a cumulative process and should be the primary focus in the early stages of schooling.
Unfortunately, young children today are being pushed way too early to “read” complex text and understand nuance. This practice is developmentally inappropriate and only results in children guessing at words, becoming frustrated, and losing confidence. Misinformed teachers and administrators will emphasize the importance of critical thinking and reasoning as early as possible. Schools are being pressured to have children as young as five years old read fluently and with understanding. This is faulty logic; at this stage, children need to build their language skills and understand the alphabetic principle, namely, that 26 letters, when combined, are symbols for the 44 sounds (phonemes) in the English language. Foundational skills in reading and writing are being neglected in favor of reading strategically, writing persuasively, and defending an argument. It is unrealistic for many children and causes more harm than good.
Systematic, explicit instruction is the key to building a strong foundation. At High Five Literacy and Academic Coaching, we understand the learning process deeply, and we are well prepared to work with children just starting their school careers to ensure that they learn to read accurately and smoothly. When this is accomplished successfully, the brain is free to make meaningful connections. This short window of opportunity is when the brain needs to be primed to develop the correct neural pathways. Left to chance, children begin to develop coping strategies such as guessing and “word solving” based on what they think rather than what is written. High Five Literacy and Academic Coaching works with families, not just the child, to teach correctly from the start!
Who is this for?
Emergent readers and writers, children needing extra readiness, as well as children who exhibit strong foundational skills and show an interest in wanting to read and write at a higher level will improve tremendously since the rate of growth in four to six year olds is profound!
The three key research conclusions that support seeking help early are:
- 90 percent of children with reading difficulties will achieve grade level in reading if they receive help by the first grade.
- 75 percent of children whose help is delayed to age nine or later continue to struggle throughout their school careers.
- If help is given in fourth grade, rather than in late kindergarten, it takes four times as long to improve the same skills by the same amount.
“Parents who understand these research conclusions realize they cannot afford to waste valuable time trying to figure out if there really is a problem or waiting for the problem to cure itself.” – Susan Hall, Ed.D.