Fla. Pushes Longer Day, More Reading in Some Schools
Two years ago, Florida took a step no other state has taken to improve students' reading skills: It required its 100 lowest-performing elementary schools to add an extra hour to their school day and to use that time for reading instruction. Early results suggest the new initiative may be paying off.This EdWeek article is typical of how the media covers education since little consideration is given to important nuances.
The Florida plan, essentially, appears to be adding an hour each day for reading instruction that is designed to raise reading scores.
As is typical of such coverage, the real response should be "well, duh" as it seems highly likely that this strategy would work.
What is missing, however, is any consideration of how credible reading test scores are as metrics of reading ability and possibly more importantly any student's commitment to reading as a pleasurable and valuable part of her/his life.
The real story here is that Florida represents the complete failure of bureaucracy to confront authentic reading.
I don't know if students need another hour in school, but it is clear what students need in terms of reading: Greater access to books in their homes and schools (libraries), and large blocks of time for choice reading.
I suggest a better headline for any coverage of Florida's plan:
More Time for Reading Instruction and Reading Tests Is Not Reading