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heartlikealion

1 out of 4 Mississippi third graders fail reading test

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https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2019/05/22/thousands-of-mississippi-third-graders-could-be-held-back-next-year/3766869002/

this is so sad. I know the test was a big hurdle in the past. I guess the standards changed and now it’s even more difficult for some students. 

Ds didn't attend public school in third grade so I can’t ask him about it. Plus, it has obviously changed. 

Ds had class night at his elementary school last week. One of the top students gave a speech and Dh said she couldn’t even read all of it properly. I don’t know if someone else wrote the speech but it didn’t sound like she was using words above her vocabulary level. If that’s any indication of the reading in some of the classrooms I can see why this test is tripping kids up. Now don’t get me wrong, ds doesn’t know how to pronounce everything and I definitely have some blind spots. 

Anyway, this is sad to me. I know his school is offering a camp with different options so children can catch up or advance ahead, depending on their situation. I am not sure how easily they can get to/from the camp though, as the hours are like 8-12 and parents may have no way to pick them up at noon. 

I do believe ds’ school may be a little corrupt too. He told me about a teacher correcting some of his answers recently — during standardized testing. I said that’s ridiculous. They should have test proctors or move teachers to other rooms. I didn’t know what to say or do. I did nothing. I had not witnessed it. Last time he made a comment like that I realized it was just an iready assessment. I told a teacher friend and she said that still matters because funding can be based on iready results. Ugh. I don’t know if it’s just that one teacher   at his school that acted that way or what. 

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I honestly love the third grade gate - provided the school actually is serious about remediating (and teaching the teachers how to accomplish that) the outcomes long term are SO much better for the students.  The poor performing districts they have instituted that in around here had a rough start but now, half a decade out, are seeing notable improvements in the higher grades.

What is the downside to this that makes you sad for the kids? The higher standard is actually revealing the issues so they can be managed, instead of having the children and parents believe in a competence that isn’t actually there...?

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The key here is GOOD, science based reading instruction from the get go.  Most of the schools are using materials that look good but don't teach reading the way science shows kids learn to read. 

 When I substitute teach in lower elementary I just cringe at what our local (good, fairly wealthy) school district uses to teach reading.  Then the "remedial reading" programs are just the same, ineffective programs at a slower pace.

One of my dream jobs would be to go to the local schools 3-4 days a week and work with their toughest kids 1:1 or 2:1 on reading skills.  I honestly think that with the proper materials/methods, I could get most of them reading.

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1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

I honestly love the third grade gate - provided the school actually is serious about remediating (and teaching the teachers how to accomplish that) the outcomes long term are SO much better for the students.  The poor performing districts they have instituted that in around here had a rough start but now, half a decade out, are seeing notable improvements in the higher grades.

What is the downside to this that makes you sad for the kids? The higher standard is actually revealing the issues so they can be managed, instead of having the children and parents believe in a competence that isn’t actually there...?

Oh no, I don’t want low standards. I meant sad that they are unable to pass the first time. These kids then get two other chances but if they aren’t ready, who is preparing them for the second or third chance? Is it realistic to retake relatively soon? 

I know some schools had literacy coaches come to the school a couple years ago after one test. But that was just temporary. 

I agree with the pp that I am concerned about the methods or materials — are they just not a good fit? Or is this a completely different problem? I personally think it’s probably a few factors combined. These families may be dealing with systemic racism — not great reading/writing exposure in generations prior, maybe always living in a town with poor school funding or such, etc. 

I’m going to talk to the local public librarian and get more info. Maybe I can help someone local. 

 

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I listened to a really long NPR segment on the history in this country of the methods to teach reading. I was gobsmacked.  I mean, I knew a lot of it already but to hear it all in laid out like that was so interesting.  And disturbing!  TPTB have just flat out ignored the science behind how people learn to read.

 

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https://www.npr.org/2019/01/02/677722959/why-millions-of-kids-cant-read-and-what-better-teaching-can-do-about-it

 

Pretty sure this is it. 

Edited to add--ok this article was only part of what I listened to in the car one day.  There were a bunch of stories of people who never learned to read in school and a few law suits.  It was so interesting. 

Edited by Scarlett
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i tutor a first grader who attends one of the best PS in town. He told me that his teacher never listens to the kids read, individually or in groups. The only time he reads is when he finishes his work early and his teacher tells him to grab a book to "read." 

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Well, I'm glad my kids are not in public school because 3 out of my 5 kids would likely have failed it, too. (I likely would have as well back in the day.) But they do eventually read on grade level. We are late bloomers here.

I hope the testing gate helps the kids not fall through the cracks and not just be labeled.

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18 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I listened to a really long NPR segment on the history in this country of the methods to teach reading. I was gobsmacked.  I mean, I knew a lot of it already but to hear it all in laid out like that was so interesting.  And disturbing!  TPTB have just flat out ignored the science behind how people learn to read.

 

What is TPTB? 

Thanks for sharing. I guess the low reading scores aren't so specific to my state. I mean they were talking about a different test, but still. 

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I student taught in first grade this year.  I was appalled at the instruction or lack thereof in reading, handwriting, and math.  There was NO handwriting instruction.  Very few kids formed letters the correct way.  A lot of them held pencils in a fist.  But they were demanding huge amounts of completely developmentally inappropriate writing.  There was no instruction in reading.  We basically just demanded they read.  Sometimes books on their level were provided, but most of it was in the basal reader which was the right level for very few kids.  They listened to the story read aloud and then choral read it a few times over the week.  There was no instruction in phonics. It was utterly ridiculous.  We had some kids doing well, but they could have been so much better with a little instruction.  And we had many kids who couldn’t read at all but could have been taught with some instruction.  A few would have required some one on one, but that certainly isn’t happening.  It was so sad to see first graders who pretty much had no hope of catching up because nobody would teach them to read.   

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1 minute ago, heartlikealion said:

What is TPTB? 

Thanks for sharing. I guess the low reading scores aren't so specific to my state. I mean they were talking about a different test, but still. 

The Powers That Be.

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2 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I student taught in first grade this year.  I was appalled at the instruction or lack thereof in reading, handwriting, and math.  There was NO handwriting instruction.  Very few kids formed letters the correct way.  A lot of them held pencils in a fist.  But they were demanding huge amounts of completely developmentally inappropriate writing.  There was no instruction in reading.  We basically just demanded they read.  Sometimes books on their level were provided, but most of it was in the basal reader which was the right level for very few kids.  They listened to the story read aloud and then choral read it a few times over the week.  There was no instruction in phonics. It was utterly ridiculous.  We had some kids doing well, but they could have been so much better with a little instruction.  And we had many kids who couldn’t read at all but could have been taught with some instruction.  A few would have required some one on one, but that certainly isn’t happening.  It was so sad to see first graders who pretty much had no hope of catching up because nobody would teach them to read.   

That just makes me sad.  And MAD.  I mean what the heck.  Who is in charge of the curriculum, or lack there of?  That makes me wish I was a teacher!  

In 1972 my mom read a book on teaching kids to read by phonics.  She (born in 1945) had learned that way.  So even though she was only 27 teaching my brother to read with phonics at age 3 was a piece of cake for her--especially with that book she had on how to teach it.  I was 4 years older and had not learned phonics at school.  But listening to my mom teach my brother and just the exposure to mom who was a big reader was enough for me.  I never had trouble.  And also, by the time my son was born I fully knew from my mom, SWB etc that phonics was the way to go.  It was nearly effortless for my son to learn to read.  

It is difficult for me to believe that in this day and age people in charge of academics for children still can't figure it out.

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Teachers aren’t allowed to teach the way kids learn, even if they know, and most don’t.  The district says what you cover every day.  It doesn’t matter if the kids aren’t ready for what is on the agenda.  It doesn’t matter if they’ve already mastered it.  

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38 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/02/677722959/why-millions-of-kids-cant-read-and-what-better-teaching-can-do-about-it

 

Pretty sure this is it. 

Edited to add--ok this article was only part of what I listened to in the car one day.  There were a bunch of stories of people who never learned to read in school and a few law suits.  It was so interesting. 

 

I think this might be based on the same podcast. Hard Words: Why aren't kids being taught to read from American Public Media and the Educate podcast. It was really interesting and it seems some districts are training ALL of their elementary teachers in reading instruction. 

I just listened to this podcast (School Sucks Podcast: Toxic Profession) last night that is from that teacher in FL that resigned. It's a modern John Taylor Gatto letter. He added up how much time is dedicated to testing and the corporate atmosphere it creates where all the principals care about is increasing their numbers. (I happen to think a lot of the tests are poorly designed and result in bad metrics to start with. Teachers are the ones that can tell you how much a student has improved.) He talks about not being able to fail students and all of the reasons the current culture is toxic. He has some ideas why many are failing reading and offers some suggestions. Worth a listen. 

Same goes for writing instruction. If you read Writing Revolution, it makes sense why kids are struggling with writing in high school. 

 

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17 minutes ago, Terabith said:

Teachers aren’t allowed to teach the way kids learn, even if they know, and most don’t.  The district says what you cover every day.  It doesn’t matter if the kids aren’t ready for what is on the agenda.  It doesn’t matter if they’ve already mastered it.  

No time to sneak in a little phonics contraband?

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The numbers reported in the article are totally meaningless.  What is the cutoff? 

If, for example, they decided to make it "average" third grade reading proficiency, then by definition, half of third graders would fail.  If they decide to make it at the bottom of what is usually considered the "average range" for these sorts of assessments, then by definition, a quarter of third graders would fail--because the bottom of the average range is typically set at the 25th percentile.

In other words, it makes sense that 25% failed.  It has nothing to do with teaching or not teaching and everything to do with the normal variation of ability within a population.

More to the point, if you look at national statistics (I'm looking at the 2015 MAP score distribution), the 25th percentile third grader is reading at a dead average second grade level.

Edited by EKS
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7 minutes ago, Terabith said:

Teachers aren’t allowed to teach the way kids learn, even if they know, and most don’t.  The district says what you cover every day.  It doesn’t matter if the kids aren’t ready for what is on the agenda.  It doesn’t matter if they’ve already mastered it.  

True. I’m sure they’d hands are tied in a lot of ways. 

A friend of mine says 1 in 5 kids is dyslexic?? Many undiagnosed I’m sure. But one in five?? 

I know many kids have undiagnosed vision issues. Our behavioral optometrist offered free vision tests to kids that failed the reading test. I don’t know how many people knew, though. 

While tutoring this past semester (ESL students) I would see a need for the basics and here we were mainly just completing the homework. My boss would say, “make them read to you” and the reading material in their homework packet was either too hard or if notice other red flags like difficulty with words that I would think they should be able to sound out/know. I’d often use my own materials. She’d tell them to write their spelling words several times. I’d have them spell them with the tiles and sound it out. 

Kids would read to me and I’d ask if they knew what we just read. I’d ask if they knew specific words on the page. They often had no clue. This would happen with the teens that haven’t lived in America long and I knew it was a language barrier. No, they don’t know that because they don’t know the English word. Of course this paragraph is meaningless. I’d attempt to explain words, draw pics, offer the translation (which didn’t always translate. Not everyone was from the same Spanish-speaking country or the phone gave bad translations). Sometimes another “tutor” didn’t know something and therefore the kid was told wrong. We had one bilingual teen there, possibly not being paid but just there to kill time with his sibling til Mom got home, and he wasn’t necessarily suited to be helping. I had to gently correct him and my boss before. But ESL is a whole ‘nother topic... or is it? I wonder how many of these kids failing the tests are ESL students? I know this district has little to none, but the town where I tutored has many. 

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Please disregard my autocorrect as I discuss issues with literacy lol 

pencil grip and letter formation - oh boy. That’s another hot mess. I see so many things. At what point do you correct it vs ignore it? I saw awkward letter formation for varying ages. 

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47 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

Well, I'm glad my kids are not in public school because 3 out of my 5 kids would likely have failed it, too. (I likely would have as well back in the day.) But they do eventually read on grade level. We are late bloomers here.

I hope the testing gate helps the kids not fall through the cracks and not just be labeled.

Here at least it flags them for additional intensives in small groups until they read well enough to pass the exam.  However long it takes.  No labels, just extra help as a pull out, I think.

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NYC did the 3rd grade gate for a while.  It didn't help in the long run.  In our area, it comes down to full inclusion...the classrooms are one-size-fits-all, if the student is below that level he is pulled out for 'remediation' -- so he has to do his zpd (zone of proximal development) level work and still be exposed to the higher level work in the whole class ELA block that he doesn't have the skill to comprehend.   In the past, it was three reading groups per room, about 6 months apart in skill level and students went thru the phonics program with leveled readers in a sequential manner -- much higher success rate.   What the successful districts do here is provide a Transitional First Grade classroom. At the end, students may re-join the original cohort if they made enough progress, or stay with the new cohort and not struggle. 

ENL really doesn't have anything to do with it.  In your linked article, its states that those results aren't included.  For us, we found the culture of literacy mattered as well as the family expectation of doing enough work outside of school to acheive mastery if work inside isn't sufficient.  Those parents are aware of Accelerated Reader and use the public library, so their dc are always provided with appropriate material and practice time.  The summer slump doesn't affect them.  This is college grad time here; I'm celebrating my young friend who knew no English at Kindy and graduated from U Mich.  We had some great book discussions in K-3 via summer reading at the library.

Edited by HeighHo
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@Heigh Ho oops I missed that part! 

Thank you for sharing. That reminded me a bit of my first grade experience. I was in a room called K-1. I wasn’t prepared for the regular grade 1 as I moved from out of state and due to cut off dates ended up skipping K without ever learning to read. They decided to keep me in first grade boy move me to the room where there were fewer first graders. The main teacher worked with the K students. I mainly worked with the teacher aid in a smaller group. 

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I listened to that APM podcast again. At about the 24 minute mark they said 60% of K’ers tested below benchmark for reading. The year they implemented phonics training, 0% were below benchmark.  Across the district it went to 8 in 10 were above the benchmark score up from 5 in 10. 

That is a significant increase. The way the whole word people describe phonics lessons, I have to agree. Phonics books and lessons are soo boring. I couldn’t wait to move past that stage and into books with actual story lines. However, I am so glad I stuck with it. My middle is dyslexic and struggles with decoding and spelling. I can’t imagine where he would be if he didn’t have all of this time to let some of that phonics sink in. 

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9 minutes ago, Plum said:

I listened to that APM podcast again. At about the 24 minute mark they said 60% of K’ers tested below benchmark for reading. The year they implemented phonics training, 0% were below benchmark.  Across the district it went to 8 in 10 were above the benchmark score up from 5 in 10. 

That is a significant increase. The way the whole word people describe phonics lessons, I have to agree. Phonics books and lessons are soo boring. I couldn’t wait to move past that stage and into books with actual story lines. However, I am so glad I stuck with it. My middle is dyslexic and struggles with decoding and spelling. I can’t imagine where he would be if he didn’t have all of this time to let some of that phonics sink in. 

I remember that statistic!  Shocking.  I am so glad my mom helped me with teaching my son phonics.  My dh struggled in school because he wasn't taught to read the way he needed to learn.  I saw the exact same thing in his son (at age 13)  My dh taught himself to read by sheer force of will in his early 20s.  

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I well remember the steps that sometimes seemed silly.  Before a year old you show them a book...teach them the right way to hold it.   By the time they are two, you run your finger along the words as you read.  You show them the cover, the title, the author, the title page.  Meanwhile you are teaching them to recite their ABCs.  Then show them that each letter has a sound. Then you show them how the sounds go together to make words.  Then it got more complicated and there was a specific order of teaching phonic sounds.  

It was fun!  I wish I had a kid to teach to read.  LOL

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9 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I well remember the steps that sometimes seemed silly.  Before a year old you show them a book...teach them the right way to hold it.   By the time they are two, you run your finger along the words as you read.  You show them the cover, the title, the author, the title page.  Meanwhile you are teaching them to recite their ABCs.  Then show them that each letter has a sound. Then you show them how the sounds go together to make words.  Then it got more complicated and there was a specific order of teaching phonic sounds.  

It was fun!  I wish I had a kid to teach to read.  LOL

Our steps were different. 🙂 
I thought about everything reading was after the "this is a book" stage.  We did a lot of puzzles that had to be done in specific order so they got used to knowing that there is a specific sequence to the sounds and text.  We practiced hearing sounds slowly and quickly so they could hold a whole word's worth in their head while slowly sounding it out.  We did not introduce reciting the ABCs because I find that to be cruel and heartless.  A child has no use for the names and then to have to re-associate the letter with a sound and slow the progress.  Names came later, after reading, when we talked about how silly it was that "aitch" was given to the symbol 'h' and he was writing enough to want to learn how to alphabetize things.

I really enjoyed the stage, too.  It moved quickly, but it was one of my favorite times.

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13 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I well remember the steps that sometimes seemed silly.  Before a year old you show them a book...teach them the right way to hold it.   By the time they are two, you run your finger along the words as you read.  You show them the cover, the title, the author, the title page.  Meanwhile you are teaching them to recite their ABCs.  Then show them that each letter has a sound. Then you show them how the sounds go together to make words.  Then it got more complicated and there was a specific order of teaching phonic sounds.  

It was fun!  I wish I had a kid to teach to read.  LOL

You know even this isn’t necessary.  I have three above grade level readers now (one who struggled a lot) and an emerging reader - I literally NEVER did anything formal with books or the alphabet in the early years.  They got read some stories, and otherwise no work with the letters or phonogram sounds until they’re ready to begin reading practice at 5-7.  

 

And yet by 8 they’ve all been fluent. 

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1 minute ago, HomeAgain said:

Our steps were different. 🙂 
I thought about everything reading was after the "this is a book" stage.  We did a lot of puzzles that had to be done in specific order so they got used to knowing that there is a specific sequence to the sounds and text.  We practiced hearing sounds slowly and quickly so they could hold a whole word's worth in their head while slowly sounding it out.  We did not introduce reciting the ABCs because I find that to be cruel and heartless.  A child has no use for the names and then to have to re-associate the letter with a sound and slow the progress.  Names came later, after reading, when we talked about how silly it was that "aitch" was given to the symbol 'h' and he was writing enough to want to learn how to alphabetize things.

I really enjoyed the stage, too.  It moved quickly, but it was one of my favorite times.

That’s more like what we did, in kindergarten.

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As mom of kids in b&m school who are tested regularly, I have mixed feelings.  On one hand, there needs to be some accountability for schools to help the kids who need more help with the basics.  The way our state does it, they try to prepare the kids for the 3rd grade tests, but those who "fail" are given additional help later.  They are not retained.  I agree with this approach in general.

The other side of it is that kids' test results can be extremely unreliable.  One of mine tested at a pretty high level in 3rd grade (advanced or accelerated, I can't remember), but in 6th grade they said she was not meeting state standards.  Same kid - what changed?  My other kid's result decreased from the beginning to the end of 3rd grade (this is my voracious reader).  I have observed that both of my kids go up and down from year to year on all of their standardized tests.  So when I see a poor result on a group test, I honestly blow it off.  I have a pretty good handle on my kids' general strengths and weaknesses.

And furthermore, how do we know the tests are even designed properly to gauge who is on track in 3rd grade?  I've seen some pretty awful tests.

So, I'm thinking, what does a 25% fail rate really mean?  It means 75% passed and won't get extra help - hopefully they don't need it.  Of the other 25%, some of them probably had a bad day or misunderstood some test questions.  Others probably need help, and hopefully will get it.  I'm not sure I view that as a big tragedy.

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As for teaching kids to read - it's always been a thrill for me (I had volunteer gigs etc).  Pre-motherhood, I had long made a hobby of planning and writing materials and collecting books etc.  Well, come time to teach my kids, and that stage went by ridiculously fast.  I had to donate most of my stuff unused, LOL.  A good problem to have, I know.

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2 hours ago, Terabith said:

I student taught in first grade this year.  I was appalled at the instruction or lack thereof in reading, handwriting, and math.  There was NO handwriting instruction.  Very few kids formed letters the correct way.  A lot of them held pencils in a fist.  But they were demanding huge amounts of completely developmentally inappropriate writing.  There was no instruction in reading.  We basically just demanded they read.  Sometimes books on their level were provided, but most of it was in the basal reader which was the right level for very few kids.  They listened to the story read aloud and then choral read it a few times over the week.  There was no instruction in phonics. It was utterly ridiculous.  We had some kids doing well, but they could have been so much better with a little instruction.  And we had many kids who couldn’t read at all but could have been taught with some instruction.  A few would have required some one on one, but that certainly isn’t happening.  It was so sad to see first graders who pretty much had no hope of catching up because nobody would teach them to read.   

This is so disheartening.

But also very much what I saw when dd was in early elementary. We were literally told, "Do not try to help your student (kindergarten) sound out words. You will only confuse them." I was like, huh? But I was very hands-off, much more than I should have been, really. I had a newborn with minor health issues and some mild baby blues, and dd picked up reading extremely easily so I did the best I could. But today, even though she reads at a college level, she says she wishes she'd had phonics instruction like her brother had. I'm considering quickly running through the AAR TM's with her over the summer if she wants.

And the handwriting -- don't even get me started! Watching her form some of her letters pains me -- I literally can't watch her write. I could kick myself for not paying better attention in K-2. I just assumed she was being taught because the work she brought home looked great. But yes, tons of inappropriate writing and ZERO instruction. I tried to remediate handwriting some when we started homeschooling in 3rd, but by then it was too late. 

She was lucky because she's an extremely bright kid who learns well with just about any kind of instruction (or lack thereof). Poor ds would have been LOST. Thank goodness we woke up before he got to school age.

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23 minutes ago, SKL said:

As mom of kids in b&m school who are tested regularly, I have mixed feelings.  On one hand, there needs to be some accountability for schools to help the kids who need more help with the basics.  The way our state does it, they try to prepare the kids for the 3rd grade tests, but those who "fail" are given additional help later.  They are not retained.  I agree with this approach in general.

The other side of it is that kids' test results can be extremely unreliable.  One of mine tested at a pretty high level in 3rd grade (advanced or accelerated, I can't remember), but in 6th grade they said she was not meeting state standards.  Same kid - what changed?  My other kid's result decreased from the beginning to the end of 3rd grade (this is my voracious reader).  I have observed that both of my kids go up and down from year to year on all of their standardized tests.  So when I see a poor result on a group test, I honestly blow it off.  I have a pretty good handle on my kids' general strengths and weaknesses.

And furthermore, how do we know the tests are even designed properly to gauge who is on track in 3rd grade?  I've seen some pretty awful tests.

So, I'm thinking, what does a 25% fail rate really mean?  It means 75% passed and won't get extra help - hopefully they don't need it.  Of the other 25%, some of them probably had a bad day or misunderstood some test questions.  Others probably need help, and hopefully will get it.  I'm not sure I view that as a big tragedy.

 

In my state, the tests are released.  My dc knew what they missed, and why.  It was either a poorly written question -- the type where you choose the 'best answer' and you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right, or the question involved a skill they had not been taught the testing nomenclature for.  For example " How does the photograph add to the information in the passage" is tough if your class is working a grade level below the test and you haven't seen that phrasing at all and its Grade 3, first year of ELA tests.   As you said, it didn't bother me that they missed those questions....however test results from gr 3-6 are considered for accel and honors in the  middle school, so if you want your child to be in an on or above grade level classroom, you have to make up the gaps at home with test prep to score the high 3 or the 4 - the school doesn't provide that kind of instruction in most classrooms, just the one the favored subgroup is in.

 In what's said in the Mississippi article, the bar is raised.  The school can no longer declare a 2 to be enough, they need to get everyone in the reg ed classroom to a 3. They are essentially being told to add to the instruction, not bench students once they get to a low 2. 

Edited by HeighHo
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1 hour ago, Plum said:

I listened to that APM podcast again. At about the 24 minute mark they said 60% of K’ers tested below benchmark for reading. The year they implemented phonics training, 0% were below benchmark.  Across the district it went to 8 in 10 were above the benchmark score up from 5 in 10. 

That is a significant increase. The way the whole word people describe phonics lessons, I have to agree. Phonics books and lessons are soo boring. I couldn’t wait to move past that stage and into books with actual story lines. However, I am so glad I stuck with it. My middle is dyslexic and struggles with decoding and spelling. I can’t imagine where he would be if he didn’t have all of this time to let some of that phonics sink in. 

 

Call me a nerd, I like some of the phonics stage lol I made my magnetic tiles, I’ve bought and made games, we’ve used Genki flash cards and Teach Your Monster to Read etc. But right now dd is not interested so I’m not really using it with her at the moment. She has forgotten some of what I taught her (when she was eager to learn it). I’m actually looking into working for VIPKID. Have an interview this weekend. 

Edited by heartlikealion
Monster not mobster haha!
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6 hours ago, Ottakee said:

The key here is GOOD, science based reading instruction from the get go.  Most of the schools are using materials that look good but don't teach reading the way science shows kids learn to read. 

 When I substitute teach in lower elementary I just cringe at what our local (good, fairly wealthy) school district uses to teach reading.  Then the "remedial reading" programs are just the same, ineffective programs at a slower pace.

One of my dream jobs would be to go to the local schools 3-4 days a week and work with their toughest kids 1:1 or 2:1 on reading skills.  I honestly think that with the proper materials/methods, I could get most of them reading.

Do you have links handy regarding those studies??  I'm curious.

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I think if you have a kid that just happens to naturally pick up reading with no formal phonics instruction, it doesn't mean that most other kids won't need, benefit from, or flourish with phonics instruction. 

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2/3 of the city school students failing in Mississippi sounds like our city schools here in Alabama. Our zoned elementary school has 17% of students proficient in reading. By high school it is down to 11% in reading and 4% in math. They don't hold anyone back for anything here though. You just keep getting promoted to the next grade until you drop out or graduate even though you are still illiterate.

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So glad that the first school the kids went to used Jolly Phonics. Youngest DS didn’t even know he was learning! He knew how to read going into kindergarten, but learning the whys behind what he already knew has served him well going forward. Especially since he isn’t a voracious reader like his older brother.

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11 minutes ago, beaners said:

2/3 of the city school students failing in Mississippi sounds like our city schools here in Alabama. Our zoned elementary school has 17% of students proficient in reading. By high school it is down to 11% in reading and 4% in math. They don't hold anyone back for anything here though. You just keep getting promoted to the next grade until you drop out or graduate even though you are still illiterate.

That is TERRIBLE.  Wow low.

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37 minutes ago, beaners said:

2/3 of the city school students failing in Mississippi sounds like our city schools here in Alabama. Our zoned elementary school has 17% of students proficient in reading. By high school it is down to 11% in reading and 4% in math. They don't hold anyone back for anything here though. You just keep getting promoted to the next grade until you drop out or graduate even though you are still illiterate.

In that podcast, they focused on some Mississippi schools and some of the people interviewed referred to phonics as “your science” not “our science.” 🤨

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It's appalling to hear how some children are "taught" to read. I taught 1st grade for 5 years (13 years ago) and every 1st grade teacher at my school (there were 6 of us) used a phonics-based approach. I remember we had a basal reader program, but each unit introduced a new sound. My students built words with tiles, played blending games, had small group reading instruction, and regular one-one-one reading assessments. This was expected in the school I was in, as well as the elem. ed. program I graduated from. (And my school was low-income, majority ESL, and mostly minority students -- not a "great," top school.)

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58 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

That is TERRIBLE.  Wow low.

I feel like it should be criminal for an entire school system to fail its students on this scale. Our local school is slightly above average for the 7 high schools in the district. They have 1/5 to 1/4 of the students taking AP tests in every school, and only two high schools have anyone who passes. Obviously you can't pass AP tests if you aren't proficient at grade level.

Unfortunately there is a lot of complicated history with desegregation, but that doesn't change the fact that generations of kids are coming out of this school system with nothing to show for their time spent there. 

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20 hours ago, RootAnn said:

Well, I'm glad my kids are not in public school because 3 out of my 5 kids would likely have failed it, too. (I likely would have as well back in the day.) But they do eventually read on grade level. We are late bloomers here.

I hope the testing gate helps the kids not fall through the cracks and not just be labeled.

 

My oldest didn't read until age 9, and then was 2-3 years behind his peers for many years.  He is now in college, has taken college level English and subjects requiring reading, and is doing great.  He does get frustrated that he can't read as fast as some of his peers, but he is doing well academically.

Edited by DawnM
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4 hours ago, CES2005 said:

Do you have links handy regarding those studies??  I'm curious.

Some others have linked some above.

I used www.iseesam.com and www.3rsplus.com to teach my cognitively impaired kids to read.  They now have great decoding skills....about 8th grade which is awesome for kids with IQ of 55-65.  Comprehension at that level is an issue due to cognitive impairment but they can all read well.

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2 hours ago, Ottakee said:

Some others have linked some above.

I used www.iseesam.com and www.3rsplus.com to teach my cognitively impaired kids to read.  They now have great decoding skills....about 8th grade which is awesome for kids with IQ of 55-65.  Comprehension at that level is an issue due to cognitive impairment but they can all read well.

Thanks!  I think I responded before reading the whole thread.  

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12 hours ago, Indigo Blue said:

I think if you have a kid that just happens to naturally pick up reading with no formal phonics instruction, it doesn't mean that most other kids won't need, benefit from, or flourish with phonics instruction. 

Yes. Yes. Yes! 

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The librarian and I spoke. She thinks the kids attending the school camps have bus transportation. Camp goes til noon. The library is open only twice a week here. I offered to do free tutoring those two afternoons after Dh gets home from work. I cleared it with her and made flyers and dropped them off yesterday. Maybe I can help at least one kid and get a better idea of what is going on with their instruction at school but honestly, I think the school just started using iready this last year so no idea what they used before or what the reading instruction looked like. Ds just brought home old papers and workbooks I’m going to flip through out of curiosity but of course that’s not a reflection of what the third graders were taught.

It’s so sad to me we have a summer reading program and yet the library is still only open twice a week.  

Edited by heartlikealion
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12 hours ago, Plum said:

In that podcast, they focused on some Mississippi schools and some of the people interviewed referred to phonics as “your science” not “our science.” 🤨

Which pod cast? I listened to the one with the history teacher in FL and part of one about the science that used the horse/pony example, but it wouldn’t let me fast forward and for some reason my phone cut it off and was making me start it all over so I never made it all the way through. I’m assuming the second one but there was a third in this thread as well I think. 

Here in MS I hear weird things sometimes. Two of ds’ teachers have used the phrasing, “on tomorrow” and I saw this in a post by one of dh’s employees on Facebook as well. I’ve tried researching it and there isn’t much on it. I’ve lived in MS for many years, but only recently saw this. They used this in written communication with parents. My knee jerk reaction was, “this is coming from his reading and writing teachers?” 

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When our public library was only open three days a week, I found that it was being run for the convenience of a certain vocal group.  Eventually the children's librarian and some parents made the point that other folks would like to use the public library when school wasn't in session (school doesn't open its library when its not in session) and the library changed its hours to be open after work when parents could bring their dc.  Its still so limited that most people go to a neighboring library with greater hours; its only open four hours one day of the weekend, right when dc are doing sports, but at least people can drop in an grab what they need before/after sports.

The Town govt here asked the library to run a bookmobile to summer camp, and that was helpful.  The town govt also asked the school district to open its libraries over the summer...they compromised and allow any registered student participating in the summer feeding program to visit and check out books on certain days while summer school is in session.  Not easy becoming literate until the ebook stage is reached.     Its actually easier and cheaper to borrow ebooks from the NYPL, as here in NY that is a free library card, unlike trying to be a member of a library not in your tax zone and having to spend the gas to get there/back. Second best is kindle, I see a lot of affluent  older dc at activities reading on either  an ereader or a phone during downtime.

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29 minutes ago, heartlikealion said:

 

Here in MS I hear weird things sometimes. Two of ds’ teachers have used the phrasing, “on tomorrow” and I saw this in a post by one of dh’s employees on Facebook as well. I’ve tried researching it and there isn’t much on it. I’ve lived in MS for many years, but only recently saw this. They used this in written communication with parents. My knee jerk reaction was, “this is coming from his reading and writing teachers?” 

 

Sounds like they are using language suitable to the target audience. That's a good thing, you don't want teachers or other educated residents to be seen as folks who aren't part of the community and you don't want parents to be viewed negatively because they use colloquialisms. Some folks get nervous interacting with teachers; colloquialisms and nonformal attire can put them at ease so the message gets thru.  Inclusiveness is a big deal now in K12.

Edited by HeighHo
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21 hours ago, Terabith said:

Teachers aren’t allowed to teach the way kids learn, even if they know, and most don’t.  The district says what you cover every day.  It doesn’t matter if the kids aren’t ready for what is on the agenda.  It doesn’t matter if they’ve already mastered it.  


I think teachers have it rough on a lot of fronts.  I've never met a teacher who wanted her students to fail - it isn't why they go into the profession.  Rather, one, they may not know.  Sally Shaywitz (Yale Center for Dyslexia) said only a few years ago that (at that time) only TWELVE universities were preparing their elementary teachers to understand and teach reading correctly and most had no teaching at all on dyslexia.  That's flabbergasting when teachers are the first line of defense.

 

21 hours ago, Scarlett said:

No time to sneak in a little phonics contraband?


For the kiddos who struggle with phonetic awareness, they need very specific, thorough, and repeated teaching using tactile resources as well.  Sigh.

21 hours ago, heartlikealion said:

True. I’m sure they’d hands are tied in a lot of ways. 

A friend of mine says 1 in 5 kids is dyslexic?? Many undiagnosed I’m sure. But one in five?? 

I know many kids have undiagnosed vision issues. Our behavioral optometrist offered free vision tests to kids that failed the reading test. I don’t know how many people knew, though. 

 


I am going to sidetrack for just a second and clarify - your friend is right.  Dyslexia is a brain difference, one that can be seen on an MRI, that routes the ability to read through (essentially) a different, and not as efficient, pathway.  Many students with dyslexia learn to read.  (They generally count on their memory ability and if that is "short" then they struggle incredibly.) It is especially apparent around 1st-3rd grade.  Modern science is telling us that approximately 20% of the population is dyslexic and that it is hereditary.  These kids will struggle initially with phonetic awareness, then blending, and later comprehension issues if they can read.  I am certain there are kids with vision issues.  I know when our two littles went to preschool, they had to have an eye exam before entering, so I think these things are getting addressed.  Many dyslexic children have some tracking issues, but I suspect, as science progresses, we'll find it's more of a symptom and definitely not an underlying issue for *these* students.

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