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Old 05-22-2023, 10:01 AM
 
5,538 posts, read 2,454,007 times
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‘Mississippi miracle’: Kids’ reading scores have soared in Deep South states

https://apnews.com/article/reading-s...37db2fb95d5004



Mississippi went from being ranked the second-worst state in 2013 for fourth-grade reading to 21st in 2022. Louisiana and Alabama also improved substantially. Those three states were the only states to see modest gains in fourth-grade reading during the pandemic, which saw massive learning setbacks in most other states.


Quote:

Experts credit the improvement to phonics. Legislatures in those states passed laws to emphasize phonics. https://apnews.com/article/phonics-s...15b01b83bb1066

One wonders why it requires elected representatives to step in and pass laws to force change.
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Old 05-22-2023, 10:24 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
100,583 posts, read 103,059,073 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moguldreamer View Post

Mississippi went from being ranked the second-worst state in 2013 for fourth-grade reading to 21st in 2022. Louisiana and Alabama also improved substantially. Those three states were the only states to see modest gains in fourth-grade reading during the pandemic, which saw massive learning setbacks in most other states.

Experts credit the improvement to phonics. Legislatures in those states passed laws to emphasize phonics. https://apnews.com/article/phonics-s...15b01b83bb1066

One wonders why it requires elected representatives to step in and pass laws to force change.
Thank you! At least the legislatures did step in, and their involvement paid off. Maybe other states will take note.


I wonder if the 1st and 2nd-grade teachers (and maybe the kindergarten teachers as well, since reading is now being taught at that level) had to get training to teach phonics, after the requirement became law.
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Old 05-23-2023, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Honolulu/DMV Area/NYC
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Good. Hopefully this serves as a roadmap for other states to follow.
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Old 06-04-2023, 04:20 PM
 
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I'm hopeful, but skeptical, as to any long-lasting effect. Over nearly four decades of teaching in some of the same schools mentioned in the New York Times article on the same topic, my observation was that the reading level remained fairly steady at about fourth or fifth-grade level for most students, middle-school grade level for a few students, nearly college or above for about 5% of the students. A very few were nearly totally illiterate. I hope that the explicit phonics instruction is making a difference. I taught comparative phonics as part of French language curriculum, so at least my students had some kind of foundation for sounding out words and recognizing their meaning by using root words and affixes.

A major issue is lack of vocabulary that impedes comprehension. Orwell had it right when he said that limiting vocabulary limits thought. Without words for certain ideas, they are almost impossible to fathom.
One of the funniest things a student ever said to me was when I mentioned the low reading level of the school and what I was trying to do about it. "We know how to read," he said. "We just don't know all the words!"

For a few years I had a homeroom class with whom we were supposed to be doing some programmed activity. We would finish ours early and go over a Grade Level Vocabulary list that I found online. I started with the fourth grade, because that was where a lot of the unfamiliar word began. I also worked on building college-level vocabulary by pointing out wherever French influences appear in English.

From the several articles I've read, it appeared that hope would last. But then I read that the Barksdale Reading Institute is closing its doors. I hope that we don't backslide when the money dries up. The legislature still doesn't seem inclined to spend that kind of money on the children in Mississippi schools.
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Old 06-04-2023, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
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Where are those who typically condemn such statistics as the NAEP as being liberal hogwash?

And, to be honest, when you're at the bottom, the only way is up.
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Old 06-05-2023, 07:05 AM
 
15,100 posts, read 14,792,707 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhpartridge View Post
I'm hopeful, but skeptical, as to any long-lasting effect. Over nearly four decades of teaching in some of the same schools mentioned in the New York Times article on the same topic, my observation was that the reading level remained fairly steady at about fourth or fifth-grade level for most students, middle-school grade level for a few students, nearly college or above for about 5% of the students. A very few were nearly totally illiterate. I hope that the explicit phonics instruction is making a difference. I taught comparative phonics as part of French language curriculum, so at least my students had some kind of foundation for sounding out words and recognizing their meaning by using root words and affixes.

A major issue is lack of vocabulary that impedes comprehension. Orwell had it right when he said that limiting vocabulary limits thought. Without words for certain ideas, they are almost impossible to fathom.
One of the funniest things a student ever said to me was when I mentioned the low reading level of the school and what I was trying to do about it. "We know how to read," he said. "We just don't know all the words!"

For a few years I had a homeroom class with whom we were supposed to be doing some programmed activity. We would finish ours early and go over a Grade Level Vocabulary list that I found online. I started with the fourth grade, because that was where a lot of the unfamiliar word began. I also worked on building college-level vocabulary by pointing out wherever French influences appear in English.

From the several articles I've read, it appeared that hope would last. But then I read that the Barksdale Reading Institute is closing its doors. I hope that we don't backslide when the money dries up. The legislature still doesn't seem inclined to spend that kind of money on the children in Mississippi schools.
That's a good point about vocabulary. I remember when I was a kid getting regular vocabulary assignments and tests based upon what the class happened to be reading at that given moment in time.

I also remember sitting and reading with an encyclopedia sitting next to me so that I could look up unfamiliar words.

My own kids had vocabulary assignments and tests. They also did a lot of reading at home. Good readers tend to build strong vocabularies over time.
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Old 06-05-2023, 08:07 AM
 
Location: On the Chesapeake
43,336 posts, read 57,552,600 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by springfieldva View Post
That's a good point about vocabulary. I remember when I was a kid getting regular vocabulary assignments and tests based upon what the class happened to be reading at that given moment in time.

I also remember sitting and reading with an encyclopedia sitting next to me so that I could look up unfamiliar words.

My own kids had vocabulary assignments and tests. They also did a lot of reading at home. Good readers tend to build strong vocabularies over time.
Research is showing that there is a stubborn cohort of kids entering Kindergarten, typically knowing about half the words (2500 or so) than is considered optimal (5000).

https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0404074947.htm
https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1140020.pdf

The main driver is lack of being read to when young. Parents who themselves aren't readers aren't going to read to their kids.

We had a "Word of the Day" (systemwide implementation although the words were school developed) every single day of the thirty one years I taught. They were later called, at least in high school "SAT Word of the Day" and we were required, in all disciplines, to incorporate that word in our lessons.

As an aside, there are numerous kids who start school who don't know their real name.
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Old 06-05-2023, 08:33 AM
 
18,101 posts, read 16,464,466 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
Research is showing that there is a stubborn cohort of kids entering Kindergarten, typically knowing about half the words (2500 or so) than is considered optimal (5000).

https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0404074947.htm
https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1140020.pdf

The main driver is lack of being read to when young. Parents who themselves aren't readers aren't going to read to their kids.

We had a "Word of the Day" (systemwide implementation although the words were school developed) every single day of the thirty one years I taught. They were later called, at least in high school "SAT Word of the Day" and we were required, in all disciplines, to incorporate that word in our lessons.

As an aside, there are numerous kids who start school who don't know their real name.
1. One of my daughter's good friends was a K teacher. One year, opening day 2021 IIRC, two kids showed up wearing diapers.

2. Over '20 and '21/covid many inner city kids, overwhelmingly members of the low word count cadre you noted, literally regressed in reading and verbal skills.

3. Somehow/someway we need to reach the point where we can have honest discussions about race/culture and K-12 underperformance. Until then we will continue to spin our collective wheels.
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Old 06-05-2023, 09:05 AM
 
4,223 posts, read 4,033,918 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
Research is showing that there is a stubborn cohort of kids entering Kindergarten, typically knowing about half the words (2500 or so) than is considered optimal (5000).

https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0404074947.htm
https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1140020.pdf

The main driver is lack of being read to when young. Parents who themselves aren't readers aren't going to read to their kids.

We had a "Word of the Day" (systemwide implementation although the words were school developed) every single day of the thirty one years I taught. They were later called, at least in high school "SAT Word of the Day" and we were required, in all disciplines, to incorporate that word in our lessons.

As an aside, there are numerous kids who start school who don't know their real name.
I would add that there is a significant subset of these children who don't have regular conversation with any adults, so their speech patterns don't get corrected as they would through regular discourse.

I'm sure that you've gone through the professional development that focuses on parent-child discourse with the example of going to the grocery store. Some parents engage with their children, making every trip a lesson. Others discipline their children for asking too many questions. The topic of the PD included the example of teaching about eggplants, their color, their classification as a vegetable, and more.

I saw this in action yesterday when a mother of a young child, probably 4 years old, asked him how to spell "milk" as he was riding through the store on the bottom of the buggy. She spelled it out and reinforced the "l" sound as she repeated the word.

Contrast that with the mother of one of my students who the custodian for my classroom for a while. She came in to ask one day how to spell the same word that she had written down for a report. She had it spelled "merk" because that was how it is pronounced in her peer group, like the first part of "meerkat". When you don't hear the "l" in "milk," how are you supposed to know it's there?

When the parents also have a fifth-grade level vocabulary, then their children are at a disadvantage. This is one of the reasons that high-quality preschool is so important -- to catch children while their brains are still malleable enough to take advantage of the language-learning window that begins to close by kindergarten age.
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Old 06-05-2023, 09:30 AM
 
Location: NMB, SC
36,506 posts, read 14,148,213 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
Research is showing that there is a stubborn cohort of kids entering Kindergarten, typically knowing about half the words (2500 or so) than is considered optimal (5000).

https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0404074947.htm
https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1140020.pdf

The main driver is lack of being read to when young. Parents who themselves aren't readers aren't going to read to their kids.

We had a "Word of the Day" (systemwide implementation although the words were school developed) every single day of the thirty one years I taught. They were later called, at least in high school "SAT Word of the Day" and we were required, in all disciplines, to incorporate that word in our lessons.

As an aside, there are numerous kids who start school who don't know their real name.
Funny..I have an app on my iPhone for word of the day and I check it and try to use it.
I believe one should never stop learning.
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