"The longer you wait to get help for a child with reading difficulties, the harder it will be for that child to catch up. Ifhelp is given in fourth grade (rather than in late kindergarten), ittakes four times as long to improve the same skills by the sameamount." says Susan Hall, coauthor of Straight Talk About Reading.

Fourtimes as long to improve the same skills by the same amount! Between Kand 4th grade. What happens in 6th grade? Is it 6 times as long? 8thgrade? 8 times as long? High school? 10-12 times as long? How long willit take a child in each of those grade levels to learn basic K readingskills?

Of course, Ms Hall is assuming that the childis being taught by a teacher skilled in reading instruction.Unfortunately, this child is very likely to be taught by a teacherwithout proper reading instruction, a common scenario given theinconsistency in teachers colleges.

Ifthat is the case, those children are lucky if they can read read enoughsight words to maybe struggle along at a 3rd grade level by the timethey graduate? Look at the special education scores in SFUSD. Forexample at Lowell, 96.4% of the all students pass the high school exitexam in 10th grade, but only 21.4% of special education students passthe same exit exam!

Tomake matters worse, many children are not referred to special educationfor reading disorders until they are in 2nd, 3rd or 4th grade! Manyteachers are still under the impression that reading is"developmental". They fall into an outdated argument that some kidscannot learn to read until they are 7, NOT TRUE. (Rememebrs Will'sfirst grade teacher?)

Atage 5, children can be taught to read. Reading is a skill, anyone candecode the letters, it is not about intelligence. Decoding words isabout systematic, direct, explicit teaching instruction. Readingcomprehension is about intelligence, not decoding. Unfortunately manykids can't get past the lack of decoding skills to even measure theirreading comprehension.

Susan Hall also states: "Beware of the developmental lag excuse for several reasons.

First,I have listened to parent after parent tell me about feeling there wasa problem early on, yet being persuaded to discount their intuition andwait to seek help for their child. Later, when they learned time is ofthe essence in developing reading skills, the parents regretted thelost months or years.

Second, research shows that the crucialwindow of opportunity to deliver help is during the first couple ofyears of school. So if your child is having trouble learning to read,the best approach is to take immediate action. Knowing how soon to actis easy if you know the conclusions of recent research.

Readingresearchers say the ideal window of opportunity for addressing readingdifficulties is during kindergarten and first grade. The NationalInstitutes of Health state that 95 percent of poor readers can bebrought up to grade level if they receive effective help early. Whileit is still possible to help an older child with reading, those beyondthird grade require much more intensive help."

Unfortunately,older children are reluctant to try to learn to read having been thevictim of so many failures. Children assume they are the reason forfailure, not the adults who were paid to teach them. More likely thannot, they have been called stupid, lazy and worse by teachers andclassmates. Many become depressed, even suicidal because they seethemselves as failures. In fact, they are the victims of adult failureto teach or dysteachea. 

It is time to do away with the "late bloomer" myth.  Reading is NOT developmental!

"Forthirty years, up until about a decade ago, the idea of “late bloomers”was widely believed among researchers and educators alike. “Latebloomer” was the endearing term for a child who was slower than hispeers in learning to read. The idea, so well captured in the term, wasthat these children would bloom in their reading—they would just do ita bit later than their peers. This common view, known among researchersas the “developmental lag” theory, was the reasonable basis forteachers’ patience with students who didn’t catch on to readingquickly—and it justified the common practice of delaying the diagnosisof reading problems until they were quite severe (Lyon et al., 2001).

But more recently, longafter many teachers ended their formal education training, researchershave been able to put the developmental lag theory to rest. Ithas been replaced by an alternate theory of early reading weakness thatdefines the problem as a skill deficit. The main difference between thetwo theories is that the developmental lag theory position thatdifficulties in learning to read would fade as the brain matured—early,urgent intervention was not necessary.

In contrast,the skill deficit theory claimed that waiting wouldn’t work; childrenwouldn’t pick up these skills unless they were taught directly andintensively. In fact, waiting would be harmful, as it condemnedchildren to falling further behind. Three longitudinal studies (Juel,1988; Francis et al., 1996; Shaywitz et al., 1999) have put the weightof research squarely behind the skill deficit theory and against thedevelopmental lag theory.

Each study tracked thereading development of children beginning in first grade. In thesimplest terms, these studies ask: Do struggling readers catch up? Thedata from the studies are clear: Late bloomers are rare; skill deficitsare almost always what prevent children from blooming as readers. Thisresearch may be counter-intuitive to elementary teachers who have seenlate-bloomers in their own classes or heard about them from colleagues.But statistically speaking, such students are rare. There is nearly a90 percent chance that a poor reader in first grade will remain a poorreader.

Source: Examiner.com – http://tinyurl.com/cbogoq