Is Your Child Suffering Because of the Reading Gap Between Kindergarten and First Grade?

When children learn to read at an early age, they become more fluent readers with a greater capacity for learning and academic success. We know that reading is the foundation of education and vital to future success, yet 75 percent of kids in America are not proficient readers. It’s evident as early as kindergarten and first grade.

What is the Reading Gap?

Students learn letters and sounds in kindergarten, but not the concepts that go along with reading. Yet, when they get to first grade, there’s an expectation that they should be reading, comprehending, and understanding. It’s not the teachers fault, or the students’ fault. They just don’t have the right tools.

Most curriculum publishers simply don’t offer programs that bridge the gap between reading readiness and actual reading. Yet schools are obligated to purchase these district-approved curriculums because they teach to standards-based testing.

Reading begins when a child learns to recognize letter sounds

Letter and sound recognition are of primary importance at the early reading stage. Once children understand letter-sound correspondence, they can begin learning how to sound out, or decode, words.

Think of it like building a house. It’s critical to start with the foundation and build upon that. Without a solid foundation, you can only build so far up.

You Don’t Have to Know All the Letters to Read

In fact, we don’t teach the letters in alphabetical order. The Learning Dynamics Reading system begins with the most familiar letter sound: M. Just about every child knows the word “mom” – and the familiarity of the M letter sound immediately gives kids the confidence they need to learn the next letter sound. After learning just eight letters, kids are ready to put them together into words and read their first book.

This simple yet effective reading program teaches the actual concepts of reading, while building confidence by giving students books containing only the concepts they have learned up to that point. There are no surprises, so students don’t get frustrated and give up. Within three to four weeks of starting, most students are reading their own books and their confidence soars. As an extra bonus, they get to keep their books and build their own personal library.

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Why Learning Dynamics Works

Learning Dynamics spent 17 years in the classroom with teachers, engaging with thousands of elementary students, to find out what truly works when it comes to bridging the gap between reading readiness and actual reading.

As one of the leading experts in early education, Bonnie Grossen studied the Learning Dynamic system and showed how it uses six key elements in teaching early reading. These same elements are also identified by the NICHD as essential in teaching early reading:

  • Teach direct phonemic awareness.
  • Teach explicit letter-sound correspondence.
  • Teach frequent letter-sound relationships systematically.
  • Demonstrate how to sound out words with letter-sound blending.
  • Use connected, decodable text to practice letter-sound relationship.
  • Read interesting stories to develop language comprehension.

Read the University of Oregon study here.

Closing the Gap

In a classroom full of 30 children, there will be 30 different learning speeds. The good news is that even struggling readers can learn to read with the right tools.

The three major roadblocks to the kindergarten/first grade reading gap are:

  • Lack of access to books
  • Not spending enough time reading outside of school
  • Lack of parent knowledge to support child’s reading efforts

Learning Dynamics provides and effective solution to each of those roadblocks by providing:

  • 53 full-color books to build a personal library and encourage a sense of ownership in young readers
  • Scheduling daily parent/child or teacher/student reading time
  • Providing detailed, step-by-step instructions to guide parents and educators

The books are one of the most important parts of the Learning Dynamics Reading System. Each book is designed to help little readers achieve success in just four weeks. Learn more.