It is no coincidence that at the age of 10 or so, many students seem to experience new challenges with reading. Even kids who previously held high marks in reading may see a decline in grades and begin to feel more challenged by their lessons. This phenomenon, known as the “fourth grade reading slump” is a common occurrence with students at this grade level.
The fourth grade reading slump can be addressed using online reading programs for schools, but before tackling the issues, it is important to understand the cause of the problem. In the typical elementary school curriculum, students at the fourth grade are transitioning from “learning to read”, to “reading to learn”. In other words, up until now the majority of literacy instruction was focused on helping students to develop their decoding and word recognition abilities (ie: letters represent sounds, different letter combinations make different sounds, different sound combinations create words). But after the third grade, the focus moves to comprehension of texts and critical thinking about those texts. In other subjects, a greater weight is placed on using print text as learning materials. Therefore, it is understood that the benefits of using elementary reading programs online can extend to other subjects as well.
If by the fourth grade, students are not able to read with fluency and automaticity, they will spend excessive amounts of time and energy trying to figure out words in the printed text. Putting the working memory into overdrive is cognitively exhausting and the way it impedes a student’s confidence can be emotionally discouraging. Successful reading programs for elementary school students can address these challenges before they create lasting academic or emotional struggles.
How to Help Students Survive the Slump
Even if the “fourth grade slump” cannot be avoided, it can be managed. Using online reading programs for schools is an excellent option as it provides targeted and individualized instruction for elementary students. Essential Skills elementary reading programs online can help to develop and reinforce reading skills by using engaging, interactive activities that cover phonemic awareness and phonics, word recognition, vocabulary, spelling, comprehension, grammar, and writing.
Teachers and parents must invest in tools and online resources such as successful reading programs for elementary school students, and utilize these quality literacy interventions for struggling readers before they transition into middle school. At home, parents can help by developing their child’s oral language and by reading books independently and together to develop a love of books and reading. It’s also important that parents set aside time to discuss a variety of subjects and experiences with their child. This means exposing school-aged children to a variety of rich texts and learning experiences, including the use of online reading programs for schools.
We all have a part to play in helping students experience success and develop positive reading identities. Learn more about elementary reading programs online that can help teachers and parents provide the support and direction kids need to get over the fourth grade reading slump.