I believe strongly that nothing else should be taught to a child until they’re up to reading level. Forget math. Forget science, social studies, gym, music, art. That also includes spelling, grammar, punctuation, and all the other literacy aspects that come after you have learned to read. All of that doesn’t matter if a child can’t read.
I have two students that definitively can’t read. They know their letters. They know letter sounds. They can memorize sight words. But that doesn’t mean they can read. They certainly can’t read at a second grade level.
And I strongly feel that reading is something you have or you don’t at this age. It’s like riding a bicycle. Once you can do it, it’s done. You might wobble here or there, maybe even fall down completely. But the person knows whether or not they can ride a bike. Those two students can pedal more than a couple of feet. And they definitely still need training wheels.
The most important grade in my opinion, is Kindergarten. Kindergarten is the age where you first learn to read. If you fall behind in Kindergarten, then you’re going to be behind the rest of your life.
I am thankful everyday that I’m a strong reader. Being a good reader makes everything else in life easier. Math is easier because so much of math is reading the directions. Science can’t be done without reading. Social studies is only reading. Not to mention all the aspects of the real world: signing a contract, reading instructions, street signs, emails, texts. It’s all easier if you can read.
If you’ve ever written somebody an email and they write you back asking you a question that could be answered if they just read the email—you just might be a strong reader.
If you’ve ever been the only person to read a sign in a store telling customers what to do and you follow it while all the other customers act like they don’t know what’s going on—you just might be a strong reader.
If you’ve ever checked out a novel from the library and returned it within the 3 week lending time—you just might be a strong reader.
If you’ve ever read the fine print on anything and understood it enough to avoid being trapped—you just might be a strong reader
If you’re reading this right now and the voice in your head is that of Jeff Foxworthy—you just might be a strong reader
My point is teach your children to read before they start school. The rest of their life will be easier.