Seattle Times series on reading
What can we learn from five valuable articles?
In November 2021 The Seattle Times assembled five articles focused on reading education in five different U. S. states. The articles addressed policy, practice, and current events. They are worth a read.
In “Reading scores were dropping before the pandemic. Remote classes made things worse,” Jill Barshay explained the influence of the pandemic in this way: “More than a dozen studies have documented that students, on average, made sluggish progress in reading during the pandemic. Estimates of just how sluggish vary. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company calculated that U.S. students had lost the equivalent of almost half a school year of reading instruction. An analysis of test scores in California and South Carolina found that students had lost almost a third of a year in reading. A national analysis of the test scores of 5.5 million students calculated that in the spring of 2021 students in each grade scored three to six percentile points lower on a widely used test, the Measures of Academic Progress or MAP, than they did in 2019.”
Under the headline, “In Delaware, educators are making early literacy a priority,” Christina A. Samuels of the Hechinger Report documents how, in Deleware, “…the pandemic’s disruptions have increased the stakes here and everywhere. Nationwide, student reading scores on the widely used Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP, dipped three to six percentile points in 2021 compared to 2019. Delaware saw English and language arts scores decline on its own tests as well.”
Ariel Gilreath of The Hechinger Report described “A new law in North Carolina [that] aims to fix the problem by bringing uniformity to reading instruction. The law, which passed this spring, will require educators in elementary schools and students and faculty in higher education programs to learn how to teach reading the way Maria Creger does.” Her headline was, “A new law in North Carolina aims to retrain an entire state’s elementary teachers in the science of reading.”
Emily Donaldson and Talia Richman of the Dallas Morning News, under the headline, “Is Texas’ big reading push enough to make up pandemic losses? Here’s how one district helps students,” reported on “… a new state law [that] requires public schools to offer intervention for students lagging behind academically. Legislators overwhelmingly backed the bill, which requires districts to provide students who failed state tests with 30 hours of focused tutoring or to be matched with highly rated educators.”
Rebecca Griesbach of AL.com wrote about how Alabama schools are preparing and using teaching assistants in literacy instruction, as “…staff are doubling down on the presence of Title I aides. And they’re expanding that expertise in developing a team of trained reading educators as they work on after-school tutoring and community support” under the headline, “This Alabama school battled pandemic reading woes with teacher support, training.”
These articles were written by veteran education journalists. They include many valuable resources. Highly recommended.