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TextProject president and CEO Elfrieda H. (Freddy) Hiebert blogs about important issues in reading research and practice.
The inclusion of kindergarten in the CCSS about text difficulty represents an implicit assumption about beginning reading that also requires consideration—that earlier is better. Does beginning reading in kindergarten truly ensure that high school graduates are better at reading the complex texts of careers and college? In this essay, I review research on both the explicit and implicit assumptions within the CCSS regarding formal reading instruction in kindergarten: the dumbing down of kindergarten texts and the pushing down of reading instruction to kindergarten.
Beginning readers need substantial and consistent data about language they are learning.
Students from high and low socioeconomic homes have been found to make similar gains on reading during the school year (Alexander, Entwistle, & Olson, 2004). It’s what happens in the summer that contributes to a growing gap in low- and high-income students’ reading. During the summer, low-income children either fall or stagnate during the summer, while higher-income children continue to progress or maintain their reading levels. By fourth-grade, the accumulated differences over several summers are reflected in a significant gap between low- and high-income students.
Teachers should use the lexile rating as an initial piece of information, much like a check of someone’s temperature. A temperature can be high or low for lots of different reasons. The average sentence length and average word frequency gives teachers more specific information that is useful for decision-making.
Considerably less is known about reading processes in syllabic and semi-syllabic writing systems, such as those used by a sizeable proportion of the world’s population. In this column, we consider the generalizability of features of the TExT model to alphasyllabic languages, such as those in use in India.
Might it be that the immunization effort of the past decade in early reading education has contributed to problems that are far more serious than word recognition ever was? Might it even be that students’ word recognition is, in fact, quite good and that it is their background knowledge and engagement in reading that is the real problem?
There are some children who come to school who officially learn to read in school but who have had hundreds of hours of experiences with books, print, and language play.
Any text written in English is decodable at some level in that the code never deviates from the alphabetic system. However, the degree to which the letter-sound correspondences within words are common or consistent can vary considerably.