Reading and How it Determines Success - Reading at an Early Age

Category: Learning to Read

Have you ever wondered why some people are more successful than others? Do they have an edge that you don't have? If they were lucky enough as children to have been read to by their parents... and if they continued reading practice to become good readers... then the answer is definitely yes! Individuals who have enhanced reading skills do have an edge over those who don't. Let's take a look at the importance of beginning one's reading education at an early age... and continuing one's reading education as an adult.

The following extract from a September 2004 advertisement by Shea Homes, an Arizona building contractor, dramatically points out why learning to read at an early age is important:

Children who learn to read at home love school immediately. Their self worth grows... and so do their social skills. They are better prepared to be successful in life. As teenagers, they are better equipped to avoid drugs, dropping out... and the rate of teen suicides is lower among kids who are literate from an early age. Here's a shocking fact: When the State of Arizona projects how many prison beds it will need, it factors in the number of kids who can read well in the fourth grade.

Reading to children helps them meet the goal of the No Child Left Behind legislation, which is that children should read at a third grade level by the end of the third grade, i.e., to read one-word-at-a-time, out loud, in a smooth manner. Children who meet this goal are defined as Fluent Oral Readers. But this is only half the battle... oral reading skills alone are not sufficient.

After 3rd grade children enter a world that requires silent reading skills... the opposite of oral reading skills!

  • Fluent Oral Readers - read one word at a time, out loud and smoothly

  • Fluent Silent Readers - read groups of words, without vocalizing

Children who employ oral reading habits and skills to read silently, are by default, slow readers. Hence, when children, armed only with oral reading skills, move into a world of silent reading in fourth grade and beyond, as slow (poor) readers, they suffer from the well known "fourth grade slump," with all the attendant negative issues surrounding poor reading skills.

Individuals, of all ages, who employ oral reading habits and skills to read silently are slow readers. Slow readers in elementary school become worse readers in high school and enter adulthood lacking minimal levels of reading skills necessary to achieve a successful life.


Reading education effectively stops after the third grade. Why? Because the "end goal" of the No Child Left Behind Legislation is to have children read at a third grade level by third grade, i.e., to produce generations of children who are Fluent Oral Readers. The Literacy Company's thesis is that teaching Oral Reading Skills should be the interim goal. The end goal, the final goal, should be to teach silent reading skills.

Slow readers, who have not learned silent reading skills in elementary school become worse readers in high school and enter adulthood lacking minimal levels of reading skills necessary to achieve a successful life.

Answering again the two questions we asked at the beginning of this article; on Fluent Reading Tips; in the silent reading world, in which we all live, there is absolutely no doubt that individuals who have not mastered Silent Reading Skills are not destined to lead a much less successful live. Fluent Readers do have an edge over everyone else!

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Article keywords

reading success, young readers, oral readers, silent reading, reading, skills, readers, read, oral, silent, fluent

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