Just got an e-mail for more continuing education opportunities, this time about reading, so I should pay attention. Doubly so, since they promise to tell us about the Matthew Effect. Never heard of this, so a little Googling is in order. Simple concept, really. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer…in this case, as readers.
Those who learn to read well by 3rd grade tend to just get better and better at their reading. Those who don't, don't. It must be true…studies show it.
Obviously, reading teaching and intervention for strugglers really need to be thorough and intensive through age 8 or 9. Again, reading patterns and modeling at home seem all the more important. If the schools and parents together don't get a youngster to effective reading in those first few years, there will be persistent difficulty in reading for that student.
I am perfectly willing to say the schools need to be sharp about this. But at the end of 3rd grade a child will have been in school for the equivalent of about 600 full school days. Even if 1/4 of the school day is given over to reading instruction, that's about 900 hours in 4 years. 1 hour of reading instruction in school, though, is probably worth about 10 minutes of what some one-on-one out loud reading at home would do.
So those signs on the school readerboard that say "Read 20 minutes a day with your child" should add, "it's a day's worth of school."