I believe that sight reading is one of the most important skills we can teach our students. Sight reading ability is a great indicator of the student's overall understanding of music and music theory. If a student is a good sight reader, chances are they are pretty musically-literate overall!
In fact, sight reading is a big part of my own teaching philosophy. One of my three main objectives in my teaching is to help my students become musically-literate sight readers.
Being able to sight read well is of the utmost importance if one wants to be a proficient pianist. Students should learn all of the necessary concepts and skills to become good sight readers and well-rounded musicians.
So why is sight reading so important? Here is a list I came up with:
Good sight readers...
...are able to accompany somebody or make music in a group at the drop of a hat.
...are very good at recognizing and naming notes quickly.
...can probably learn new repertoire quickly.
...are good at looking ahead while playing.
...can become familiar with a lot more repertoire without necessarily needing to study it in depth.
...are well-rounded musicians!
It is one thing if our students can study a piece for weeks, months or years and then play it amazingly well (and this is definitely good!) But if they cannot sit down and play a new piece of music placed in front of them, are they truly good, well-rounded musicians?