Hechinger Report examinations of reading

Are there things to learn about literacy from the venerable education source?

In November of 2021, the Hechinger Report published more than three articles relevant to reading. In this post I simply pass along three of them. Please review these three and examine others you might find useful from the Web pages of HR.

  1. Reporters Jill Barshay, Hillary Flynn, Chelsea Sheasley, Talia Richman, Dahlia Bazzaz, and Rebecca Griesbach, reported about the substantial losses in reading performance from 2019-2021. In a story entitled “America’s reading problem: Scores were dropping even before the pandemic: Remote classes made things worse,” the reporters documented those losses using both evidence from research projects as well as anecdotal accounts. Although there is some discussion of instructional methods, this story is more about conceptualizing the deficits students have experienced than about teaching.

  2. In “‘The Reading Year’: First grade is critical for reading skills, but kids coming from disrupted kindergarten experiences are way behind,” Jackie Mader provided the story of children who, because of the pandemic, did not acquire some very important literacy skills. These first graders come to school behind where educators hoped that they would be. The article will not provide illustrations of excellent instruction, but it does allow readers to glimpse the disparate range of skill levels that teacher have to address.

  3. Retraining an entire state’s elementary teachers in the science of reading: North Carolina passed a law to make every school replicate how reading is taught in its most successful classrooms,” by Ariel Gilreath, examined a policy change in North Carolina schools. Teachers (and teacher educators) must learn about and employ methods associated with “the science of reading.” Although the science of reading has not been precisely defined, putatively it is a collection of methods predicated on research about their effectiveness. Ms. Gilreath’s story reflects this, including the adoption of the program called “Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling” (LETRS), which will be familiar to some readers.

The Hechinger Report, named after highly regarded New York Times education editor, Fred M. Hechinger, provides rich and detailed coverage of education. Learn more by browsing the organization’s Web site.