Will your little Johnny graduate from High School?

Not if he's falling behind in reading skills. The numbers don't lie. All research statistics point to basic reading skills being the number 1 factor in whether or not a child will graduate from high school and go on to be successful with his life.

Not only does a child need to be a successful reader, but he needs to do so by 3rd grade. Third grade is the crossroad in a child's life where he switches from learning to read, to reading to learn. If Johnny is still struggling to read in 3rd grade, he will struggle with every other subject in school, whether its word problems in math, history exams, or science experiements.

Statistally speaking, of all third graders that don't read well,

70 percent of all prisoners can be classified as illiterate

85 percent of all juvenile offenders rate as functionally or marginally illiterate

43 percent of those whose literacy skills are lowest live in poverty

Yet, his fate does not have to be sealed by 3rd grade. If you fear your little Johnny is not ready to conquer "reading to learn", there are steps you can take to help him improve:

1. You can read to him. The more you read to him, the more his vocabulary increases and he'll be able to better sound out words that are already familiar to him.

2. Go back to the basics of teaching phonics. Start all over with teaching him letter sounds and how to sound out chunks or syllables of words.

3. Don't rely on his teacher to correct his mistakes or catch all of his weaknesses- afterall, you know him best. Most teachers have more students than they can handle. If Johnny is behind, the chances that she'll be able to work with him and give him the attention he needs are very slim.


4. Give him lots and lots of practice everyday in common situations. For instance, take him to the grocery store with you so he can read your list out loud and read the labels on the shelves. OR take him out to dinner and have him read the menu choices.

Source: National Institute for Literacy

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