Should Young Children Be Taught to Read?

Should young children be taught to read?Should young children be taught to read? Most people will say, “Yes!” We want children to read, and we want them to love reading. However, saying we want kids to read is not enough.

More Than Words

Looking at promotional and educational literature for early learning organizations and public schools seems to indicate a great emphasis on reading. That’s good, right? Sure, everyone is talking about reading. Special reading and literacy events are everywhere. There are “Literacy Buddy” events, and we even have Accelerated Reader programs in the public schools. Everywhere we are assured that “early literacy” is a top priority. The experts would like nothing more than for all children to learn to read at as young an age as possible. It’s a wonderful public relations campaign.

These efforts are not always what they seem. Unfortunately, the techniques advocated by many childcare experts will not result in children reading at an early age, or even at all in many cases. Instead of using phonics, early education experts claim that all we need to do is expose kids to reading and printed words (the “print rich environment”) and that this will eventually result in children reading – like magic! Many people involved in early childhood don’t want kids to read at an early age — they say it’s “developmentally inappropriate.” These people don’t give kids enough credit!

Watch out for the phrase “reading readiness.” If a child is ready to read, they can read! Reading readiness, or “emergent reading,” is what is taught at virtually all preschools except Grace Community School. Children, deliberately or not, are held back, on the advice of so-called early learning experts. Other daycares (they don’t call themselves schools!) use what is known as “whole language” instruction — more about that later.

The Grace Community School Difference

And now we have Grace Community School. We don’t teach reading readiness or emergent reading, just reading! Why wait for kids to learn? College Can Begin at Two! Children are natural learners. They want to learn! They just need some help. The Grace Community School reading program uses phonics, the only method proven to consistently teach children to read. In addition, we provide constant training in our phonics program to our teachers. Our facility directors are career managers, and we’re here year after year ensuring that our students get the education they deserve. It’s all about standards – and we exceed them!

Children are natural learners. They want to learn! They just need some help.It’s About Standards

Speaking of standards, you might be interested to know about the State of Florida’s educational standards for young children. The Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards for Four-Year-Olds (2011) encapsulates what the State of Florida says children are supposed to learn in their Pre-K year. State-funded VPK facilities use these standards to decide what and how to teacher their Pre-K classrooms. It is telling that it does not include real reading, only something called “emergent reading” or “emergent literacy.” Essentially this means changing the environment around the child so that, through play and talking and practicing, they will “pick up” reading almost through osmosis.

"Emergent reading," "emergent literacy," or "reading readiness" isn't real reading! (from State of Florida Standards for Four-Year-Olds)
“Emergent reading,” “emergent literacy,” or “reading readiness” isn’t real reading! (from State of Florida Standards for Four-Year-Olds)

This is what the typical preschool is aiming at – getting kids so they will be ready to learn to read when they enter elementary school, although, in reality, they aren’t great at this, either. On the other hand, students who go through Grace Community School’s entire reading program have test scores far beyond what is typically achieved or even considered possible. Our students enter Kindergarten reading! Kids entering public school Kindergarten are not tested on their reading skills  – because children who have attended a typical Pre-K program cannot read! Grace Community’s average Kindergarten graduates score on national standardized tests at the second-grade level, and bright children often read at the fifth-grade level! These are real, tangible results, full achievable when children are given the chance to fulfill their potential.

In part 2 of this series, we’ll look at whole language instruction, handwriting, and more ways that Grace Community School prepares your child to succeed We want to spread the word about education and quality childcare. If you enjoyed this post, please click one of the share buttons below and let your friends know!

Part 2: Preparing Your Child for Success

Published by

Rev. Aaron

Reverend at Grace Community School.