Ok...then I get it and we are having two distinctly different conversations. From the beginning of the thread my entire point has been in the context of the OP's specific question of his students age and his new introduction to a musical instrument.
My opinions were targeted to specific circumstance and not broad normalities.
But in fact so were mine.
Also....I guess my definition of "reading" is different than most others. I wasn't aware that there was any other meaning attributed than "drum set notation" in the context of a new young student of the drum set being taught "reading". When I started reading for my drum set it was "drum set notation". I guess I'm asking what is the difference between "drum set notation" and "regular drum notation" that you are referring to? Are we simply talking time signatures, tempos and counting principles? Thanks David.
Drum set notation versus "regular drum notation" - or I guess, I might have better called it - "basic drum notation"
Drum set notation is actually fairly complex - even in its most basic form. Almost always containing 2, 3 or 4 separate independent rhythm parts to be played concurrently. With each separate part requiring the ability to read it - before the student can begin approaching performing it all simultaneously.
In it's full blown practical form - drum set notation is yet even more complicated - possibly THE most complicated form of notation period. Why? Because it often freely mixes it's multi-part, independence challenging style reading with the ability with all manner of subjective, interpretive and improvisatory aspects as well. At one moment requiring to accurately play some some multi-part independence workout, then asking the player to entirely make up what to play in a section based solely on what they hear around them (with only slash marks provided visually). Then have to read cues of what other players are playing and musically incorporate their part into the drum part without at all being told how to accomplish that.
No other reading instrument really has to do all of this at the level that drum set notation requires.
So you're right - drum set notation isn't for beginners.
But regular notation - for a beginning drum set student, any decent beginning snare drum book is essential.
Because playing the drum set well - isn't JUST about stringing beats together. One absolutely must be able to execute the single rhythmic lines - that make up beats, but also make up fills, marches, and train beats, and disco hi hat parts and unison figures with the band.
Which requires any good drummer to have the language of rhythm down COLD - not just sort of know it - but really be able to hear it, understand it and execute it.
Think of all the threads here on DFO where guys are confused with trying to figure out some fill, or accent pattern from some recording.... something with pushes, or irregular accents, or whatever... and 90% of the - the examples are simply not that complicated. But the struggle stems from the lack of really owning the basic rhythmic vocabulary that is contained in most beginning snare drum books.
This is the reason for EVERY beginning drum student to learn to read music - because it is by far the easiest, quickest and most successful way to teach that basic rhythmic vocabulary. Without which that player will be handicapped throughout their entire playing life.
Whether that student ever goes on to confront a proper drum set chart couldn't be more inconsequential. Because prepping for drum set setting is the LEAST important reason for that beginner to be taken through that basic snare drum book. The least important reason.