Response to the Feb. 24 blog post “Read by 4th campaign touts progress and looks ahead,” by Darryl Murphy.
This article shows a whole lot of misunderstanding of what the term "reading level" means and does not mean. There is much misunderstanding of what "reading on grade level” means.
At every grade level, there is a range of reading ability among students. That range is caused by many factors, including the language spoken at home and [a child’s] ability to attend, concentrate, and persist. That range of reading levels grows and widens over time as students progress through the grades.
There is even more misunderstanding of the meaning of the fact that children who do not read at grade level by 3rd grade are unlikely to do well in reading in future years. Reading disability shows up by 3rd grade and will persist over time. There is no miracle cure. Many students do not learn to read well until later years.
Every student at every level deserves appropriate reading instruction in school.
What we need most are certified reading specialists in every school. And I mean certified reading specialists who actually teach struggling students in very small group settings. There should be "regrouping" in elementary school settings to reduce class size for reading on a daily basis.
Unless we provide children in our schools with first-rate reading instruction, we will not begin to approach our goals.
What is lacking in the Read by 4th campaign is an understanding that reading instruction occurs in schools and that our schools are terribly short-changed. Unless we provide our schools with all of the resources our children need – including a school library with a certified school librarian – we will never make significant progress,
The writer is a retired District administrator, an attorney, and the author of “Whose School Is It? The Democratic Imperative for Our Schools.”