Children who do well in reading from the beginning rarely stumble later on. Those who have difficulty in the primary grades tend to remain behind their classmates as the years go by—even though they receive remediation. This fact, reconfirmed again and again, is a painful testimony to the importance of addressing reading difficulties as early as possible in a child’s life. As important as it is to hold out hope for every struggling reader in our middle and high schools, there is no substitute for an all-out effort to ensure that all of our children start out right, so that they never have to experience the consequences of failure and frustration that are so prevalent in our schools.

“The way children initially are taught how to read is critical to their success. We’ve waited until children are struggling and then put so much money into remediation. But I’m just not sure how well that has worked. The way a child learns how to do something the first time makes all the difference.”

—Jennifer Schindler,


El Vista Elementary School

Modesto, California

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