Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Drumroll Please...

And the winner is...

Decoding, Word Recognition, and comprehension scores in 1st grade are a better predictor of reading breadth in 11th grade than intelligence. How do you like them apples? Do you realize what GOOD NEWS this is!!! Let me clarify. Of the two choices, how much control do we have over our students' innate intelligence? Well, unless we are the mother or father, not a whole lot. Therefore, the area where we have nearly exclusive control - instructing the building blocks of literacy - turns out makes all the difference. The importance of those Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers to a lifetime of literacy success is incalculable. So, teach them well, O might primary teachers. Your work has a resounding impact for years and years to come.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pop Quiz

Ann Cunningham and Keith Stanovich have unearthed some astounding findings in their research with plenty of implications for primary reading instruction. After establishing many benefits of extensive and wide reading, they went about to determine the antecedents of students who read widely. They performed a longitudinal analysis of 11th graders whom they had studied as first graders, which leads us to our pop quiz question. Which of the following 1st grade measures is the greatest predictor of 11th grade reading habits?

1) Intelligence

2) Decoding, word recognition, and comprehension

Stay tuned tomorrow for the cliffhanger answer... or just read the article and show your stuff ... or guess and hope for the best.

Monday, February 19, 2007

You call that wide reading?

I previously mentioned Anne Cunningham and Keith Stanovich's article What Reading Does for the Mind and will be making several posts from this research. They cited a study done by Anderson, Wilson, and Fielding (1988) which analyzed the out-of-school time use by fifth graders. Here are some highlights. The average student was reading about 5 minutes a day which equates to 282,000 words a year. If you improve that reading to 21.1 minutes a day you will read over 1.8 million words a year. Only 10% of the students in that study were reading at that rate. Imagine if we could get every student to read a paltry 30 minutes a day - which I believe most teachers "assign" regularly!! What would be the impact on vocabulary development, knowledge, and ability.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Emily Reads

Quotes on math

My foray into assisting with 6th grade math has got me thinking about the subject more than usual. Here are some great quotes about the validity of math instruction from a math teacher/blogger.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Reading early makes you smarter!

As the reading challenge kicks off today I found an article by Anne Cunningham that describes her study of the long term effects of reading on academic success and general knowledge. Check out this gem.
This is a stunning finding because it means that students who get off to a fast start in reading are more likely to read more over the years, and, furthermore, this very act of reading can help children compensate for modest levels of cognitive ability by building their vocabulary and general knowledge. In other words, ability is not the only variable that counts in the development of intellectual functioning. Those who read a lot will enhance their verbal intelligence; that is, reading will make them smarter.

More evidence to support a big push for simply getting kids noses into books. If you don't want to read the whole article (because you'd rather watch 24 reruns) Martha Brockenbrough has a brief summary at MSN Encarta.