The Results: All of my students in grades 4+ are fully literate. These students are reading at a higher level than the average 11th/12th grade student. Students who actively participated in the reading program surpassed the predicted growth metric by an average of 6.7 points. Students who did not actively participate in the reading program fell 1.2 points shy of the predicted growth metric. To put this into perspective, students average about 5 points of growth per year on this assessment.
Have you looked at your child's handwriting recently? Do you struggle to decode their awful illegible scrawls on the page? A lower case b looks the same as a 6, if you can even ascertain that. 1's and 7's have been known to look the same. Is that a c or an o? It reminds me of my visits to the eye doctor. I'm heavily nearsighted. When I'm asked to read the eye chart, I guess "eh, that's either a C or an O or a Q-- an F or a P... or maybe a R?" Handwriting shouldn't be that hard to read! I can pull out a magnifying glass but I'm still not going to understand what they're writing.
As infants, the first language we begin to develop is our listening vocabulary. Long before we are able to speak in cohesive sentences, read our first words or write our names we are able to understand the people surrounding us. As toddlers, we begin to learn to speak. Next, we learn to read and finally, we learn to write. It is through the words, pages and books that we read that we develop the writing skills required for success in both school and our careers. In a 2005 study, 70% of 300 surveyed college instructors felt that students were unable to comprehend college-level reading or complex written materials.1 Thus, it is imperative that we encourage a higher level of literacy in children and maintain the development of our students’ reading brains.