How to support older struggling readers

The reasons that students remain struggling readers in middle and high school are frequently based on myths and misconceptions.

The first big myth, based on reading assessment measures, is that comprehension is the problem. The majority of reading assessments and standardized tests for older students focus on reading comprehension measures without determining gaps in the essential components that lead to comprehension: decoding, fluency, and vocabulary. A low comprehension score doesn’t tell teachers what they need to know to intervene, yet the proposed solution is often more reading “strategies.” This is generally unsuccessful because, as stated by Dr. Anita Archer, “There is no reading strategy powerful enough to compensate for the fact that you can’t read the words.”

Decades of research have shown that effective readers have a solid and automatic knowledge of how to translate the sounds of our language to the print that represents those sounds. This begins with the sounds for consonants and vowels—called phoneme proficiency—and an understanding of how speech and print work together for reading and spelling. Without this foundation, the ability to develop accurate and automatic word recognition and fluency will always be limited.…Read More

Reading scores hold steady on nationwide test

Fourth grade NAEP reading scores remained unchanged.
Fourth-grade NAEP reading scores remained unchanged.

The reading scores for fourth- and eighth-grade students on a national test held mostly steady last year, continuing a stubborn trend of minimal improvement across most racial, economic, and geographic groups.

Scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a series of federally funded achievement tests commonly referred to as the “Nation’s Report Card,” rose in two states and the District of Columbia in grade four and in nine states for grade eight in 2009. Overall, the fourth-grade average remained unchanged, while eighth-graders rose one point.…Read More