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Elementary school rising reading & writing scores

Book 1.pngAn interesting story about 3 corroborating schools in Nebraska that extended Direct Instruction reading past 3rd grade. At first, teachers had reservations but the test scores are pretty incredible. It sounds like some scores jumped an average of 57 to 85, above the state level. But what was really interesting was some of the sub-scores: from 39% to 76% for Hispanic students, from 53% to 73% for children that receive free and reduced lunches, and from 29 to 65 for special education students. People should compare these scores to their own school scores and ask why their school doesn't perform at the same level. Parent pressure can do wonders. At the lead should be parents of children that attend Title I schools: schools where more than 75% or so of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches.

I would have to agree with the teacher that thought that 4th grade scores went up because K-3 students are being taught with a strong foundation in reading. Well figure that, strong reading (and, yes, comprehension) helps lead to better writing. I would hope they use Reasoning and Writing, too. A most excellent program and actually FUN to teach. My son and I love it. Starting the 3rd grade program recently, we are whizzing through so far but I can actually see the wheels turning as he is learning grammar.

Another rational for improved scores is what is called ability grouping. This is what really makes Direct Instruction teaching and curriculum work. Because the teacher training and curriculum are used across the entire school (many in this case), students can be placed and even moved into appropriate ability groups. How brilliant. So little Johnny used to act out because he was recieving instruction above his level can now feel successful, and, guess what, behavior issues go down. Or little Danny, a third grader, can be placed with the fifth graders because he is a whiz. You get to work with both low, medium, and high learners. What teacher wouldn't want that?