How early should we start teaching Reading? (2020 notes)
My presumption has been that early-age differences in reading ability usually disappear before high school. But I can't find any backlinks here to pieces support that. So what's right?
(2019) Since 2001, when the federal No Child Left Behind legislation made standardized reading and math scores the yardstick for measuring progress, the time devoted to both subjects has only grown. In turn, the amount of time spent on social studies and science has plummeted—especially in schools where test scores are low. And yet, despite the enormous expenditure of time and resources on reading, American children haven’t become better readers. For the past 20 years, only about a third of students have scored at or above the “proficient” level on national tests. Not really relevant to when to teach, just that our methods are often bad.
(2010): A University of Otago researcher has uncovered for the first time quantitative evidence that teaching children to read from age five is not likely to make that child any more successful at reading than a child who learns reading later, from age seven.
(2004) For thirty years, up until about a decade ago, the idea of "late bloomers" was widely believed among researchers and educators alike. "Late bloomer" was the endearing term for a child who was slower than his peers in learning to read. The idea, so well captured in the term, was that these children would bloom in their reading—they would just do it a bit later than their peers. This common view, known among researchers as the "developmental lag" theory, was the reasonable basis for teachers' patience with students who didn't catch on to reading quickly—and it justified the common practice of delaying the diagnosis of reading problems until they were quite severe (Lyon et al., 2001).
Over at Sudbury School: None of our graduates are functional illiterates. Some eight year olds are, some ten year olds are, even an occasional twelve year old. But by the time they leave, they are indistinguishable. No one who meets our older students could ever guess the age at which they first learned to read or write. Not a real study, obviously.