Reading Improves Reading

From the “in other news, water is wet” file:

Summer Reading Loss Reversed When Students Get Books to Keep

On average, 80 percent of low-income children lose ground in reading proficiency over the summer.  Reading is Fundamental (RIF) wanted to cut that percentage in half. They did even better. How?

RIF distributed books which children could take home. They allowed the children to make choices. And they encouraged both children and parents to read.

And, to the surprise of researchers, 57 percent significantly improved their reading skills between the end of one school year and the start of the next.

Seriously? Professional Educational Researchers, if your a priori bias does not imagine, let alone encourage,  students learning during the summer – that is, with little to no direct input from professional educators – you need a very strong dose of humility. It is quite possible that you are doing education wrong. You may be working against the nature of children and their parents.

It is the learners, not you, who are essential to learning. It is they who must do the heavy lifting.

A side note: the RIF Report is an example of How Not To Write. It jumbles together many things which are only sort-of-related, and it uses acronyms – such as STEAM – without explanation.  Via web search, I conclude that STEAM is STEM+A; that is, Science, Technology, Engineering, Math + Arts. Adding the Arts may a) be easier and cheaper than finding teachers who actually understand STEM, and b) unduly dilute the focus on STEM. But that’s another topic; consider this paragraph as almost a throwaway.

Summary: if we parents do our part, our children – the real stars of the learning process – can do theirs. Inexpensive books are available at thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets. Put them to use! And if you are reading-challenged? Read, read, and find a coach!


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