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

Saturday, May 07, 2016

LEARNING TO READ: There is nothing magic about grade 3

There is nothing magic about grade 3.
Comment posted in response to: New York City Aims to Place Reading Coaches in Every Elementary School (Education Week)

"Grade 3 is very predictive," Esther Klein Friedman, the executive director of literacy and academic intervention services for the New York City education department, said in an interview recently. "We figure if we've got [students] solidly locked down in reading by the end of grade 2, we've got a really good foundation to sit on."
There is nothing magic about grade 3.  Yes, reading at grade 3 does predict reading achievement later on, but reading at any grade correlates with reading achievement at any other grade.
Also, there is no reason to expect that poor reading ability at any age inevitably leads to poor reading forever. A great deal of research confirms that readers can improve dramatically in reading at any age, including adulthood, if they have access to interesting and comprehensible reading material. (Krashen and McQuillan, 2007; Sullivan and Brown, 2014).

Krashen, S. 2011. Need Children Read "Proficiently" by Grade 3? Some Possible Misinterpretations of the "Double Jeopardy" Study.  Language Magazine 11,2: 24-27.
Krashen, S. and McQuillan, J. 2007. Late intervention. Educational Leadership 65 (2): 68-73.
Sullivan, A. & Brown, M. (2014). Vocabulary from adolescence to middle age. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies, University of London.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe instead of thinking in terms of grade 3, we should be thinking about ages 8-9. There are huge differences between an 8 and a 10 year old - social, emotional, intellectual. Some may be developmental, some school-based.
    The kids we'll lose are starting to get lost in 4th of 5th grade, 9 and 10 yo.
    So difficulty in reading is probably due in part to missing a developmental window. That's about age, not grade.