Why American Students Haven’t Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years

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National data show that American students have remained fairly stagnant in terms of reading proficiency in the last 20 years. Why? This article in The Atlantic reports on reflections on this lack of progress by education experts. In particular, it calls into question whether the traditional approach of education, which prioritizes teaching reading skills, is overlooking the need for content-specific instruction, such as science, history and art. Instead of just teaching kids how to read, however, students (particularly high-needs students) must be exposed to new experiences and vocabulary words that they may not otherwise become familiar with – and these content subjects are the best situations to help growing readers to do so.

What do you think about this research? Have you seen any successful implementations of this type of literacy education? Let us know! Email colleen.gilligan@nashvillepef.org with any news or other information we should be checking out.