Every learner needs adequate reading skills to master the subject content of the relevant school year (in other words the school grade) they are in.
We at Stimulus Maksima! define adequate reading skills as the competency that somebody has to read and understand material graded for his or her specific age or school grade at a prescribed speed.
When for instance a learner is in the 10th school year (grade 10), the content of text books, educator presentations, assignments and examinations should contain vocabulary equal to the 10th school year’s (grade 10) level. This requires that the learner should have the competency to read and understand the content of text books and presentations at the required speed, combine it with pre-knowledge that he/she may have of the specific topic, save the combined information and later recall it. When this is achieved, it means that the learner can read and understand the relevant material at the required comprehension and speed, also referred to as the required, appropriate or adequate reading age.
The first six years of a child is normally considered as the “preparation for reading” years, and the first three school years commonly considered as the “learn-to-read” phase. From the fourth school year, a learner is considered as “being able to read”. This misperception about adequate reading skills leads to numerous problems for many learners throughout their school careers. Sooner or later inadequate reading skills in individuals or groups starts having an effect on the progress of all learners in a class as the class as a whole can only progress at the pace of the slowest learner in a class. This can result in the underperformance of all learners in a specific grade and eventually the overall academic performance of a school as a whole. The higher the grade the more difficult the subject content becomes, which requires the ongoing improvement of reading skills. Reading comprehension and speed at a specific grade does not only strongly correlate with, but actually determines the learner’s academic achievement.
Learners failing to keep up with the reading skills required for their specific grade often show signs of the following:
- Low confidence and self esteem, often expressed in destructive and undisciplined behaviour.
- Lost of interest in school work resulting into under performance.
- Trying to find ways to compensate for their inadequate reading skills.
- Emotional problems, resulting in socialising problems.
- Loosing hope to pass a school year, finishing their school career and joining a tertiary institution.
- Loosing hope of being employed after school.
- Loosing hope to fulfil their specific passion in life, and many more.
An improvement in reading skills can address and rectify the cause of most of the above mentioned symptoms often within a very short period of time.
Once learners have experienced the benefits and advantages of achieving adequate reading skills and their required reading age, they usually continue to thrive academically at school and university or professionally in their chosen careers. The truth is that there is no finishing line. All of us remain “learn-to read” readers until the day that we stop reading. After we stop reading, our reading skills will gradually start to decrease again.
Reading Rocket, our learn to read and reading improvement system, is designed to determine the learner’s reading age when starting and during the reading development journey. We use the internationally accepted Education Development Laboratories (EDL) tables that define reading age in relation to words per minute at the comprehension levels tabled below as a base:
|Grade or Calibrated level of Content||Words per Minute||
80 % literal understanding of the content
|7||195||80% literal understanding of the content as well as being able to read with insight|
|10||224||80% literal understanding of the content, being able to read with insight as well as to apply skills as a critical reader|
Our team at Stimulus Maksima! offers tools and solutions that help our clients, from toddlers to adults, to improve their English and Afrikaans reading and learning skills.