The Importance of Early Intervention for Dyslexic Children & Struggling Readers
What can parents of children who struggle with reading learn from the world’s best football players?
Children who are just a few months older than their friends, at 4 or 5, have developmental advantages that make them better athletes. Of course, as they grow older, these developmental advantages wear off, but curiously, the performance gap remains.
The authors reasoned that advantages in the very early years of childhood led to an ongoing self-fulfilling prophecy. In addition, those above average young soccer players enjoyed the sport more and spent more time honing their skills.
Okay… but what does this tell us about children who struggle with reading?
If a child is overachieving (or underachieving) in the very early years of their life in any discipline, the gap between their peers is likely to remain (or widen) over time if we do not act.
It shows us the dramatic significance of those early formative years in a child’s life and it validates the critical importance of acting early to help struggling readers close the gap before it is too late.
A hugely influential research paper (Stanovich, 1986) showed that children who struggle to acquire early literacy skills will see their difficulties compound exponentially over time if the issues are not addressed. They get frustrated at the reading process, their vocabulary development suffers and ultimately they just read less than their peers, who find reading more enjoyable.