In the course of one's education there are very few years dedicated to teaching a child to read because the reading demands increase dramatically after 2nd grade. This is why early intervention is critical. Below is a brief look at some of the ways the reading and writing demands shift after 2nd grade. For children who are not fluent readers these new expectations can be very overwhelming. However, hope is not lost. There are ways to continue to address and remediate the underlying deficits while teaching the child strategies and giving them tools to stay afloat academically.
The nature of the expectations for reading and writing change as a child progresses through school. After the second grade there is a shift in curriculum away from learning to read toward reading to learn. After the third grade, a child should have the ability to read and comprehend a variety of genre and styles of print. A child should be able to recognize and benefit from varying organizational structures used in curriculum material, use word knowledge for comprehending increasingly complex material, learning new words through reading, and extract the main idea from details and summarize information.
In addition to the increased reading demands, there is also a significant increase in the demands for writing. After the third grade a student should be able to use a variety of genres and styles when writing. The student should be able to organize information for clarity and cohesion as well as move seamlessly between oral and written discourse. After third grade students begin to use writing for learning, i.e. note taking, summarizing, and outlining. Written language also becomes a significant, additional source of learning.
For children in high school these demands are even greater because the mode in which instruction is provided relies heavily on a lecture note-taking relationship. For high school children with a language-based learning disability, they are often at a great disadvantage especially if their deficits lie in auditory comprehension and written expression. A child must have good auditory comprehension skills in order to attend, process, and identify the important information presented orally. The secondary demand is to then translate that information into a written format through taking notes. Deficits in these areas make it difficult for the child to access information efficiently and accurately. Over time other areas of language will begin to suffer.