Why Reading at a Third Grade Level by Grade Three is Important

Association of Educators
February 3, 2014 — 848 views  

Third grade level is a game changer in a student's academic life, says a recent study. What makes it so important? What makes third grade so special is the fact that it is the year when students move from their learn-to-read stage to their read-to-learn stage. Third grade reading involves understanding some deep content for students, be it reading comprehensions on Native Americans, or the planets. It is said that this is when children who haven't picked up fluent reading start falling back. The frustration that starts at third grade reading often culminates into a fear and avoidance to reading. School assignments ask them to be aware of domain-specific and academic words. Aside this, subjects like science and social studies require them to be competent in deciphering the content, which often seems like an insurmountable task to these kids. And the gap just keeps growing, as the academic years tick past. The likeliness of students who fall back in their third grade to dropout during high school is more by nearly four-fold.

Institutions Exercising Damage Control

A growing number of schools are realizing how important a role third grade level  plays in molding a student's academic growth. They're setting hard lines to ensure that those who aren't up to the mark in their reading abilities are held back from moving on to the next grade until they achieve it. Bills concerning mandatory retention are already in place in states like Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma and Indiana, while many other states, like Iowa, Colorado, Tennessee and New Mexico, are still considering it.

The Role of Parents and Teachers

Educational researchers have been skeptical about the retention move, as they believe reading problems won't just go away or sort themselves out by withholding a student for a year or so. What would help is if parents and teachers actively involve in working out individual learning plans, so better progress can be made. This could involve summer school, or additional tutoring or student specific instructions, so they pick up the curriculum better.

Strategies you Could Employ to Aid Academic Progress

Get them started when they're young; Enroll kids in pre-school programs so they can easily get accustomed to school when they start. A study showed that children aged four who attended preschool programs prior to starting out with their formal education had a 90% chance of being more school-ready, when compared to the rest. This could be due to the positive learning skills in math or reading that the pick-up in pre-school. Schools can develop systems and strategies to identify the students who struggle with reading comprehension or another learning process, and subject them to individualized study plans. They should give them the platform to relentlessly practice, until they get a hang of it. Aside this, they need to monitor them on a regular basis, to understand their standing, and revise study plans accordingly. Keeping the parents in the loop is a good idea, as they may provide better insight on what might help, while chalking out study plans.

Association of Educators