"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, April 01, 2013

Easier, more pleasant, less expensive path

SENT TO The State (South Carolina)
NOTE: This newspaper typically does not accept letters out-of-state. But I submitted it anyway.
NOTE: The State is running a poll: The question and the results:
Should South Carolina toughen standards that would hold back more third-graders not reading at grade level? 71% say yes, 29% say no.

An easier, more pleasant, less expensive path to high literacy

South Carolina is eager to require children to read “proficiently” by grade three. If they do not, they will be retained and given special remediation (“Education leaders: Florida holds key to SC literacy fix,” March 31).

Everything we know about literacy development says this is a bad idea, and that there is an easier, more pleasant, and far less expensive way to improve reading achievement.

First, studies show that there is nothing magic about third grade: Poor reading at any grade predicts poor reading later on.

Second, research shows that students of all ages can make remarkable progress if they develop a reading habit.

The real problem is that for many students, the only source of books is the library. Studies consistently show that better libraries, staffed with qualified librarians, are associated with higher reading scores.

We don’t need more testing and we don’t need intensive interventions. We need to improve our school libraries and support our librarians.

Stephen Krashen

Some sources:

“Nothing magic ..”: Krashen, S. 2011. Need children read “proficiently” by grade 3? Language Magazine 11,2: 24-27. 2011

Students at all ages: Krashen, S. and McQuillan, J. 2007. Late intervention. Educational Leadership 65 (2): 68-73.

Better libraries ….: Krashen, S., Lee, SY., and McQuillan, J. 2012. Is the library important? Multivariate studies at the national and international level. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 8(1): 26-36. Lance, Keith. The Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement. http://www.lrs.org/impact.php

Original article: http://www.thestate.com/2013/03/31/2702500/education-leaders-florida-holds.html#storylink=cpy

1 comment:

  1. How about sending them to school well fed, with adequate sleep, and allowing them to return home via safe streets? Failing kids who have already been failed by society is such a cruel joke. It can only be perpetrated by men and women who have no idea that if I know a kid's zip code I can pretty accurately tell you his test scores. I hope your response goes viral!