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Our 8th Graders Cannot Read

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Let’s face facts. I mean, ask yourself this question:

 

Can my 8th grader

read every page

of every book

on his school reading list

without guessing at the words

or stumbling over the words

or substituting words?

 

 

If your answer was “No!” then it’s time to face the facts.

We are not going to see elevated reading levels for 8th graders and beyond until we place systematic phonics as the primary reading instruction tool in the lower grades and until we place systematic phonics as the primary reading instruction tool for 8th grade reading centers.

 

So what do I mean by a reading center?

 

 

A reading center is a place where students engage in reading-related activities such as phonemic awareness,  sounding-out skills, reading fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.

 

Sadly, many elementary, junior high and high school public school reading centers are hit and miss when it comes to phonemic awareness and sounding-out skills because teachers are hit and miss about whether or not to teach it, when to teach it and IF they know how to teach it.

 

This is because in most public schools, the main mechanics tool used for these centers revolves around whole-word memorization that has been salt and peppered with tiny fragments of analytic phonics.

 

What these reading centers should be built upon is a strong foundation of systematic, explicit phonics using all three phonics approaches: synthetic, linguistic and analytic, and they should be DUMPING whole-word memorization ENTIRELY. The few sight words that actually exist (those words that cannot be sounded out using regular phonics rules) can still be sounded out using a dictionary-key-phonetic tool.

 

In addition, even if our public schools were to actually jump aboard systematic, explici phonics-based reading centers, sadly, we just don’t seem to have a handle on the importance of distinguishing the differentiated reading concerns of our students, especially the older ones who struggle to read.

 

You see, some 8th graders (and beyond) need basic (back to the beginning) phonics reading instruction to learn the mechanics of sounding out words.

Other 8th graders (and beyond) need continuing phonics review in addition to enormous strides in reading comprehension activities that involve Socratic methods of reading comprehension.

 

But here’s the biggest problem: Our teachers have not been trained to do MOST of the above.

This doesn’t mean that our teachers are not capable of doing ALL of the above. They are VERY capable, but they are NOT receiving the training they need to do MOST of it.

 

And that’s really sad because reading scores in this nation will NEVER improve until our teachers know how to implement ALL of the above.

 

Is there more to be said on this subject?

There sure is!!!

 

However, we have to start somewhere, so let’s start with the mechanics of basic, systematic, explicit phonics instruction.

Let’s get that right, and then move on from there.

Why don’t we start with the true story

of a little girl named, Candy,

who couldn’t read;

and then she could.

 

Sincerely,

Carol Kay, President

Candy 4WAY Phonics

www.candy4wayphonics.com