Those of you who remember the old RIF commercials will probably chuckle at the reference, but the statement is as true today as it was back then: reading is fundamental. Strong reading and writing skills lie at the heart of the best grades, most impressive SAT & ACT scores, and most enduring professional success.
Just because someone knows how to read doesn’t mean she reads well. Reading is a skill-based activity that improves with focused practice. That means that students should know how to read properly and then internalize the right strategies by reading challenging level-appropriate texts on a regular basis (NOTE: People magazine is never level-appropriate!)
The benefits of exceptional reading skills are almost limitless, but include many obvious and highly desirable advantages:
- increased reading speed (which mean less time doing homework)
- improved comprehension (which means more knowledge as well as better grades and scores)
- advanced vocabulary (which means more sophisticated, persuasive communication)
- decreased frustration (which means reading is more enjoyable, which inspires more reading)
Even when school is out of session, reading should be a daily practice. Reading for pleasure is a habit everyone should cultivate.
But what if a student doesn’t know how to read properly? Just as reading is practicible, this skill is eminently coachable. A student with the right teacher can learn the essential reading skills in a surprisingly short time. With dedicated practice, all of the advantages of effective reading — from better grades and scores in less time to more sophisticated and effective communication — accrue.
To paraphrase an old line, the best time to learn to read the right way is ten years ago, but the second best time is now. Why wait any longer?