I was not aware, but there are a significant amount of students who are not able to read by the time they reach third grade, or rather there are a significant number who can’t read at the third grade level. Why do education professionals look so closely at third grade? It is at this point that teachers no longer teach their students how to read but instead how to learn by what they’re reading. If students are unable to read, not only do they miss out on the very initial steps of reading to learn, but they continue to fall behind as they progress through school.
Such students are less likely to graduate from high school primarily because they struggle so much to learn in ninth grade where every class depends on extensive reading. Dropping out of high school, these students struggle to find jobs that provide a living wage. The end result is these illiterate individuals are more likely to receive government assistance.
And guess what? Lack of reading skills can be linked to early education. Of course, it’s not necessary to ensure that a three or four year old be able to read a book, but these children who are able to distinguish a letter from a number, who are able to recite the alphabet, and who can count to ten are better prepared to move forward to deciphering words and sentences whereas those who cannot do these simple skills before progressing to kindergarten and first grade begin at a remedial level. Teachers must spend extra time on these basics, and not every teacher will. Recognize that early child education is not intensive schooling. It is preparation to learn, and it is creating an excitement to learn.
Illiteracy affects a student’s self-esteem, concentration, and ability to function outside of school. One study cited that 85 percent of youths in prison could not read, 70 percent of imprisoned adults could not read above the fourth grade level, and as cited above 90 percent of those receiving welfare are unable to read.
I have found that early child education that encourages learning and prepares students to read is essential. Learning to read can begin as early as two or three years old and should be accomplished by the time the child is eight years old or has reached the third grade.
My goal is to use my passion for music cognition and follow the research demonstrating that music can be a component of both early education and the first years of elementary school; can help students with learning to read and calculate basic math problems; and should be an essential part of all forms of education as early as birth through at least third grade.