Literacy Education Falling Short
It’s time to have a discussion about literacy education in America. Despite advancements in technology, an emphasis on blanched literacy, and the customary 20 minutes of reading per night; our students are still struggling. The NAEP results from 2019 show declines in reading scores, yes declines. It is commonly assumed that today's generation is inherently more intelligent than its predecessors. Unfortunately, the results beg to differ.
The question remains; why the decline?
Literacy education is a very delicate puzzle that requires many instructional pieces to fall into place for a student to not only learn how to read, but also genuinely comprehend what they read. This foundation is built from day one. Babies learn speech from listening to and observing those around them. Children then learn letter sounds, letter blends, vowel patterns, and the list goes on. Students need a combination of phonological and phonemic awareness paired with phonics instruction before they can even begin to become fluent readers.
While there is no one size fits all solution to the nation's regression in reading scores, perhaps beginning at the beginning is the best thing we can do for our students.
When we hear a student read a page from a book we are only getting the tip of the iceberg. To an untrained ear, it may seem like the student only made a few mistakes, however, to an educator the pronunciation mistakes or lack of comprehension are holes in a child's “under the surface” literary foundation. When it comes to early literacy skills a student should have a vast amount of knowledge under the surface before they begin to peak as readers.