A study recently conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation revealed that a third- grader’s ability to read can predict his/her success later in life, according to an article in The Salt Lake Tribune.
"Up to third grade, children are learning to read," Abel Ortiz told The Salt Lake Tribune, the foundation's director of evidence-based practices. "Starting in fourth grade, they are reading to learn. So if they don't learn to read by third grade, that greatly impacts their ability to learn in later years."
She also added that this can affect a student’s ability in high school and college, which could ultimately affect one’s long-term income.
In 2009, 68% of fourth-graders scored below the proficient reading level on the national assessment reading test.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation gave several tips for helping young students learn how to read. The foundation advised improving health and education in early childhood, encouraging parents to help students read and read to/with them, improving reading programs in many schools and engaging students in reading/studying over the summer break to reduce mental absences from school.
Many others believe that adults should use sophisticated vocabulary with young children. Some experts advise parents to not only read with their children, but also ask them to explain what the stories they read are about and discuss new words with which they are unfamiliar.
Other experts believe that reading to young children before schooling begins is one of the best ways to increase language development and decrease the chances of later grade-school reading problems.
Some policy-makers are pushing to force schools to hold back first-, second-, or third-graders who are not reading at proficient levels, compared to their age. But, many believe this policy is too strict. Other policies that some schools have adopted require schools to notify parents if their child is not reading at proficient levels.