Why is the STEM Curriculum So Important to Your Child’s Future Success?
If you have a child on the verge of starting kindergarten, then you’ve probably been coming across a lot of information about STEM in your research. So what is the STEM curriculum and why do you need to worry about it? STEM is an acronym that stands for:
In the past 20-30 years, many of the best-paying jobs have been in fields that require a strong background in STEM, such as:
- Computer Engineering/IT
- Internet Marketing
- Website Design/Programming
- Health Care
- Clean/Renewable Energy
Despite the clear need for students with a background in STEM classes, there has been a consistent shortage of students graduating in the US with these vital skills. In fact, some educators and school districts have adopted an “it’s never too early approach” to teaching STEM to students. Some schools are now stressing STEM classes and activities as early as kindergarten and first grade.
In today’s economy, there is no question that students with a strong STEM background have an advantage in the job market as demand still outpaces supply (at least in the US). Sadly, the increased emphasis on teaching kids STEM typically comes with reduced attention on an even more critical skillset: reading.
3 Reasons Why Reading and Success in STEM Classes Go Hand in Hand
If there is one skill that cannot be sacrificed to learn STEM subjects, that skill would be reading. In fact, this brings us to the first reason why reading and success in STEM go hand in hand.
1. Reading Comprehension Predicts STEM Success
According to a recent Washington Post article, research shows that students who fail to master reading are up to 4 times more likely to drop out of school before graduation. In fact, 3rd grade seems to be a very critical point in a student’s education. In kindergarten through 3rd grade, most students learn and master reading.
But after 3rd grade, students increasingly use their reading skills to actually read to learn. By graduation, up to 70% of all assigned reading is in textbooks and non-fiction sources teaching students critical skills, including in the STEM subjects. So if a student isn’t proficient in reading by 3rd grade, they will start falling behind their peers in all subjects, including STEM.
2. Reading Skills Help Students Interpret and Analyze STEM Materials and Study Aids
STEM subjects tend to have a lot of charts, tables, schematics, blueprints, and other technical learning aids. Without a solid foundation in reading comprehension, students will struggle to review and accurately interpret STEM study aids on their own. In fact, STEM mastery ultimately requires integrating problem solving, vocabulary building, and even technical writing which all require strong reading skills.
3. Reading is How Students Learn to Teach Themselves
There is simply not enough time in class for students to learn everything from the instructor. Typical classroom instruction at the higher grade levels instead focuses on helping students learn how to teach themselves complex topics. At these levels, class time is more likely to be devoted to discussing what students read on their own time vs. learning new concepts from their teachers. In college and university levels, this trend only intensifies and includes STEM related subjects.
In other words, without a firm mastery of reading and reading comprehension, students will fall increasingly behind their peers, especially in STEM classes. Conversely, mastering reading earlier in life gives a student a growing advantage over average or struggling readers.
Why Most Schools Are Failing Our Children When It Comes to Reading and STEM Mastery
Educators are increasingly asked to do more with less year after year. This means less class time and fewer resources to try and teach more and more students. For children who come to kindergarten already knowing the alphabet, phonics and basic reading, they tend to master reading and STEM subjects just fine. But if your child is struggling when kindergarten begins, they could be completely left behind by 3rd grade. There simply isn’t enough 1-on-1 class time to devote to helping struggling students boost their reading skills. And with weak reading skills, the odds of a student reading and understanding STEM textbooks and concepts decreases considerably.
With Red Cat Reading, Help Prepare Your Child For STEM Success!
Regardless of whether your child is at, below, or above reading level, Red Cat Reading improves their chances for success in STEM classes. We start with a professional reading assessment by one of our teachers using video to make sure we know their strengths and weaknesses before they start. An incorrect assessment can start a child off on the wrong foot and dramatically increase the risk of academic struggles down the road. So, we take the time to assess your child properly and design a curriculum that puts them on the path for reading and STEM success!
Next, our Leveled Reading books are designed to quickly build up your child’s reading skills and confidence, one book at a time. To boost comprehension and make learning fun, we also provide educational videos, songs, worksheets and interactive ebooks. And to ensure your child stays on track for reading and STEM success, we continue to monitor progress and make corrections as necessary.
In just 3 months or less and by reading just 1 book a day, Red Cat Reading can help prepare your child for success in STEM classes throughout their academic career. Just send us a message and we will set you up with a teacher to carefully assess your child’s reading.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up now for your Free Account with RedCatReading.com to give your child the best head start in life and prepare them for future STEM success!
By Peter Galante