“THE (?) Achievment Gap

The “Achievement Gap” in reading has received some attention in the past few years.  It is generally thought of as the gap in reading achievement between children who are economically disadvantaged (aka “poor”) and children who are not.  Most recently the attention has been focused on children who are not meeting grade three reading standards and the proposal that they be “held back” in 3rd grade.  I have repeatedly suggested that “we can’t wait” until 3rd grade to pay attention to children who are not progressing at the expected rate–relative to their grade level standards.  We need to pay attention to progress from preschool on throughout a child’s education.

I’d like to add to that issue other issues I think should be addressed by “The (?) Achievement Gap.”

Standards

Why is the standard “grade level reading.”  What happened to the concept of the gap between potential  and achievement.  We sometimes see that schools pay attention to “potential” when they recognize “gifted” children–whether in academic subjects or “arts.”  At the high school level we offer “A.P.” courses.  We recognize some children’s abilities by offering them scholarships or options for how to use some of their school time.  Ideally, we recognized some dimension of “giftedness” in all children  I think that was what “Multiple Intelligences” was supposed to be about.

“Achievers”

Don’t all kids have the potential to be achievers–relative to their potential?  So, is there an achievement gap for children who aren’t currently reading at “grade level” but have potential to read at and, equally important, above that level, given the kinds of instruction and opportunity to learn that they need.  Here’s a perspective on another group of children who experience an achievement gap.

https://www.learningally.org/webinar-reading-instruction/

7 Qs. Question 5: Where?

Literacy Learning Can Happen Anywhere/Everywhere!

AT HOME

Learning to read has to begin at home with primary caregivers and family.  The family initially fosters oral communication, interest in books and stories, and learning about sounds, letters and words.  Primary caregivers may also include home daycares as well as extended family.  I believe our job as advocates for development of successful readers is to work to provide resources for these primary caregivers.  Below are some sites that may be useful.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/books-for-at-risk-babies#!

http://teachmama.com/skinny-on-important-early-literacy/

http://www.everychildreadytoread.org/

http://www.keepingyourcents.com/five-strategies-for-encouraging-early-literacy/

 

IN THE COMMUNITY

Believing in the concept that “It takes a village!,” we also support the idea that there are resources outside of the home that can facilitate language/literacy development, even for the youngest learners.   See, for example,

Physicians (Reach Out and Read)

http://www.reachoutandread.org/FileRepository/ROR_FY13_AR_web.pdf

“Our story began 25 years ago inside the medical exam rooms of Boston City Hospital. There, pediatricians and educators had the incredible foresight to integrate books for children and advice for parents on reading aloud into standard pediatric care. It was a simple idea with a remarkable outcome. Today, the research to support this practice is stronger than ever: the first five years of a child’s life offer a critical window for brain growth and language development, and frequent exposure to language and reading at home sets a strong foundation for young children to learn. By encouraging parents to read aloud to their babies and toddlers,

Reach Out and Read’s pediatricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, and other medical providers play a key role in ensuring the healthy development of our nation’s youngest children.”

Whole Communities

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131002/OPINION/310020302

“Funding is only part of the solution. Getting all children in New Bedford reading on grade level will require the entire community and a shift in our thinking “

Libraries

http://readingwithred.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html

http://kdhnews.com/harker_heights_herald/community/literacy-fair-educates-entertains/article_8b72bea8-5312-11e3-9a39-001a4bcf6878.html

http://www.everychildreadytoread.org/about

The library will even come to you!

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/10/12/ready-to-read-gives-kids-boost.html

The Police Department (Yes, the Police Department)

http://www.startribune.com/local/east/225124642.html

Other Volunteer Based Programs

http://www.denverpost.com/failedtodeath/ci_24809703/childrens-literacy-center-creates-dynamic-duos-tutors-and

 

IN THE CLASSROOM AND SCHOOL

 

Starting in preschool and continuing into K-2 classrooms and beyond…..

 

Preschool becomes the Toddlers first “classroom.”

http://www.teachpreschool.org/2011/01/parent-involvement-in-early-literacy-is-the-key-to-academic-success/

Primary Grades and Beyond

http://conversationsinliteracy.blogspot.com/

http://comprehensionconnection.blogspot.com/2014/01/wednesday-wow-about-vocabulary.html

Throughout the School

http://www.teachthought.com/featured/25-ways-schools-can-promote-literacy-independent-reading/

http://www.interventioncentral.org/academic-interventions/reading-fluency/kids-reading-helpers-peer-tutor-training-manual

ONLINE

There are so many resources online that I don’t know where to begin (or end).  They include information and ideas for parents and teachers, access to books, games and activities, research, and resources (both commercial and free).

For example:

http://smartblogs.com/education/2013/09/23/kindergarten-in-action-a-focus-on-literacy/

http://www.education.com/reference/article/foundations-early-literacy-development/

http://kathycassidy.com/2013/09/14/the-early-literacy-shift-new-words-new-media-new-friends/

http://education.tamu.edu/news-archive/2013/09/improving-early-literacy-skills-risk-kindergarten-students

http://childhood101.com/2013/09/sight-words-activities/

And there are sites/links specific to struggling readers:

http://education.tamu.edu/news-archive/2013/09/improving-early-literacy-skills-risk-kindergarten-students

http://www.interdys.org/TenInteractiveBooks.htm

http://www.readingrockets.org/podcasts/experts

 

And so?  So, what tools and skills do we need to maximize the contribution of each type of stakeholder/advocate—family, school, “local” community, online community?