Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Flash Discovery: Reading is important!

I just got a little gift in the mail called, Annual Growth For All students, Catch-Up Growth For Those Who Are Behind, compliments of the National Children's Reading Foundation. The book chronicles a decade's worth of work in the Kennewick School District in Washington state. They set out in 1995 to get 90% of their 3rd graders reading at grade level, and by golly, they did it. They share all the gory details of how they got it done and their accomplishments are encouraging and challenging at the same time. This quote on page three dovetails nicely with the thinking I've been doing on the primacy of primary instruction in reading. Check this out.

Students who fail to learn to read in the primary grades rarely develop into great readers in middle and high school. They generally enter kindergarten behind, read two to three years below grade level in elementary school, and are still two to three years behind their average classmates in middle and high school. Districts that lack the organizational will to teach their students to read at or above grade level by second or third grade, when it is relatively easy and inexpensive to do so, rarely get them to grade level thereafter when it is much harder and more expensive.

That doesn't leave much wiggle room. Get to work in primary grades when you've got a fighting chance to make a difference.

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