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Educators Wonder Why Kids Cant Read

If we want our children to do better in school, then it's important to understand the reasons why they are not. The last couple of decades brought conflicting views on methods of reading instruction which was tried in schools across the country. The question became - are phonics versus whole language methods better for beginning readers? As it turns out, educators are now struggling to blend these reading programs and tailor them for each child. Known as "the reading wars," initially waged during the 1980s and '90s, it was around 1987 when personal journals became one of the latest classroom tactics for teaching kids to read. Known as whole language, it was an instructional philosophy emphasizing that children focus on meaning, which contrasts with phonics based methods of teaching reading and writing.

Then, many people believed that children were poor readers because the old school approach emphasizing phonics. The fact that memorization ended up turning reading into a chore alienated many of the kids from reading, period. The National Reading Panel reported findings about Phonics for Reading as a research-based program that: delivers direct instruction in phonics increases fluency with Second and Third levels provides word-recognition and spelling instruction, plus story reading, and independent activities. It is also important to realize that the parents are a child's first teachers. Toddlers learn a lot at home so it is critical to talk alot. Children will learn about spoken words just from listening to their parents.

Parents take note: read to your child; share books you loved and try some new ones from the library and then reread favorites over and over again. It is also important to realize that the parents are a child's first teachers. Toddlers learn a lot at home so it is critical to talk alot. Children will learn about spoken words just from listening to their parents.

Parents take note: read to your child; share books you loved and try some new ones from the library and then reread favorites over and over again. Whole language learning proved to be a disaster. Eight years after this method first appeared in California grade schools, by the mid-90s, the fourth-grader's reading scores had plummeted to the bottom of the national list.

Source: The National Assessment of Educational Progress(NAEP). By 1997, Congress formed the National Reading Panel to evaluate the research on teaching practices wiht the intent on determining what worked. Then soon after, a federal program called the No Child Left Behind Act required school districts to use scientifically proven instructional methods.

The goal? This will hopefully make children proficient in math and reading by the year 2014. Six years after No Child Left Behind's passage, a lot of data has been collected about the academic performance of both students and schools. Today there is a trend towards balanced or comprehensive literacy, and most educators agree that there's no one single program that fits all children for developing reading skills.

Author Kristin Gabriel works with Rocco Basile (http://www.roccobasile.org) of the the Basile Builders Group based in New York. Basile is involved with several charities including Children of the City and the Joe DiMaggio Award Committee for Xaverian High School.



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