When the State of Arizona projects how many prison beds it will need, it factors in the number of kids who read well in fourth grade (Arizona Republic (9-15-2004)). Sorry to say, the evidence tells us that children who do not read by third grade often fail to catch up and are more likely to drop out of school, take drugs, or go to prison.
In fact, there are so many nonreaders winding up in jail in Arizona,
that Arizona officials have now found they can use the rate of illiteracy
to help calculate future prison needs.
This is because the Department of Justice states, “The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure.” Over 70% of inmates in America’s prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level.
How does all this happen?
A pattern develops early on for children who do not learn to read by the end of 3rd grade.
Children who cannot read:
a) often become disruptive in the classroom
b) find it difficult to focus on their studies
c) many times choose other children who cannot read as their friends
d) find excuses not to attend school at all.
So is it only the folks in Arizona who know the link between illiteracy and youth imprisonment? Sadly, no! Michigan educators know it, too. Did you know that according to the Michigan Department of Education, half of all the adolescents and young adults with criminal records have reading difficulties?
This truly is tragic! It means that half of the young people locked up today as criminals started out in elementary school struggling in reading. I have to wonder exactly where their bad behavior problems started – was it shortly after they realized they couldn’t read or was it during the whole learning-to-read process?
The bottom line is this:
60% of Urban children in the U.S. do not graduate from High School.
40% of those children who do graduate only read at a 4th grade level.
I mean, let’s face it, reading serves as the major foundational skill for all school-based learning. If a child can’t read, he’s not going to learn much in school, and that reading handicap is an absolute set-up to entice a child to hang out with the wrong friends.
So is it just Arizona and Michigan students who have the problem? In other words, is it just the Arizona and Michigan Departments of Education that know about this reading disaster?
Your child’s doctor most likely is also aware of the problem. Pediatricians all across America know about it. In fact, the reading struggles of our children present such a grave problem that the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that doctors prescribe reading activities along with other advice given to parents at their child’s regular check-ups. Moreover, many of America’s doctors now believe that a child who has never held a book or listened to a story is not “a fully healthy child.”
Well, if our doctors think that just holding a book or listening to a book represents a healthy child, how much more healthy if the child could actually READ the book?
O.K., so we’ve heard from Arizona and Michigan educators, and we’ve heard from those who compile urban school children literacy statistics, and we’ve heard from America’s doctors. Who else knows about this perilous problem? (I say perilous because – well – half of all the adolescents and young adults in our nation’s prisons began their lives NOT learning to read).
It just so happens that America’s book publishers for children are also aware of this reading catastrophe. In an article printed by Personalized Children’s Books & Music, they tell us clearly that “Difficulty with reading does not just affect your child’s ability in school, but carries over as low self-esteem into every aspect of life. Surveys of adolescents and young adults with criminal records show that about half have reading difficulties.”
So why isn’t somebody doing something about this reading tragedy?
Believe me, something is being done, but it’s hard to hear the solution voices over all the noise being made by those voices that are dodging our concerns.
For example, if you would like to see a sampling of the overwhelming voices that are misdirecting our questions, I dare you to Google this question: “Why do children struggle in reading?” Go ahead, do it! You’ll find all kinds of webpages explaining to us why children with learning disabilities cannot read, but you won’t find much of anything about why all the other children WITHOUT learning disabilities cannot read.
In your Google search, you’ll hear all about dyslexia, and learning disabilities, and hearing problems, and vision problems, and speech problems, and how children have so many difficulties in listening or speaking or writing or reasoning that they just can’t learn to read. The problem is that these explanations do not concern any of the 4 out of 10 American children WITHOUT learning disabilities, those 40% of all children who are currently in the fourth grade who cannot read at grade level.
Instead, whenever reading struggles are mentioned we get bombarded with webpages that talk about children with learning disabilities instead of all those children without learning disabilities who, for some strange reason, cannot read.
Those Google searches would have us believe that the MAIN reason that children struggle in reading is because they have a learning disability.
So what’s going on with the other 40% of these learning disabled children; why aren’t they learning how to read? Furthermore, what’s going on with the 4 out of 10 children – the 95% of children WITHOUT any learning disability – why can’t they read? Why are all of THOSE children NOT showing up in the Google searches for “Why do children struggle in reading?”
Ever get the feeling that our questions are being avoided? That’s because they are. Instead of hearing factual answers as to why our children aren’t learning to read, we’re hearing things like: “Learning to read is difficult because it is a multifaceted experience” and “Learning to read with phonics doesn’t teach our children to read for meaning.”
Here’s what I have to say about all of that – bologna!
your children CAN learn to read
if they’re given an affordable, step-by-step,
systematic phonics-based curriculum.
I have good news!
For less than $10 you can purchase an INSTANT DOWNLOAD of a step-by-step systematic phonics COMPLETE curriculum that includes all of the following:
100 Daily, Step-by-step Phonics Lessons that teach every phonogram you child will every need to learn in order to sound out every word on every page
20 Sequenced Phonics Story Readers With Real Story Content
Rhyming Alphabet Phonics Charts
Multisensory Vowel Helps
Continuous Phonics Drill and Review
Rhyming Phonics Flashcards
Rhyming Lifetime Phonics Charts that enable children to remember all the sounds they’ve learned for the rest of their lives.
Free Email Support For As Long As You Need It!
Sound too good to be true? It’s not! Unlike those Google searches, we are hitting the nail on the head and giving children everything they need to learn to read every word on every page.
Carol Kay, President
Candy 4WAY Phonics
children who struggle to read, illiteracy leads to crime, Why our children can't read
Reading for Meaning?
do we mean
Reading for meaning begins when a child develops the skills to fluently sound out every word on every page. For most children, this requires systematic training in phonics.
After children develop the capability to read all the words on the page, they must then develop the ability to see and answer the basic Who? What? When? and Where? questions posed by the text. However, this is not where reading for meaning ends. In fact, this is where reading for meaning begins.
Some at our federal educational level feel that testing children frequently will help them develop better reading and comprehension skills. However, tests simply reveal what students have failed to learn and what teachers have failed to teach; tests do not give teachers the skills they need to correct those failures. Tests do no good unless a child’s Individualized Education Program includes the correct reading/discussion strategies specifically aimed at developing inferential thinking abilities.
Others believe that developing long vocabulary lists will help children to better connect with the meaning on the page. It’s true, better vocabulary skills definitely will help children to understand what they read, but “connecting” with the text – well – that’s a whole different story.
What do we mean when we talk about “connecting” with the text? Connecting with the text, first of all, means that a child can personalize the meaning found in the words he reads. In othe words, he must learn to routinely determine how the material on the page personally affects him. It is this personalization, together with a student’s ability to grasp the meaning inbetween the words on the page as well as his ability to draw researched-based conclusions based upon those words that gives a child inferential thinking abilities.
To be sure, drawing inferential conclusions should be the whole goal of learning to read. In fact, research done by Marie Clay, P. David Pearson, and other educators reveal that good readers of all ages continually use what they know and have experienced to thoroughly understand and apply what they hear and read. Unfortunately, very, very few of our students today have gained the skills necessary to do that.
Inferential comprehension takes place when children
go beyond the standard facts given on a page
and draw their own research-based conclusions.
Can children really learn to do this? Yes! Absolutely they can, if an adult in their lives takes the initiative to teach them. Children can learn to answer more than the basic questions written in a text; they can learn to ask and answer the “Why?” questions and to persuade others of their point of view using attestable facts, testimony, and reasoning.
Marva Collins took children that the public school system declared “learning disabled” (children who had been shuffled into the special education mainstream) and activated the inferential thinking skills hidden inside each one of them. In turn, many of Marva’s students went on to colleges such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. Many of those students became lawyers, doctors, engineers and educators.
In contrast, did you know that almost 4 out of every 10 students in today’s public schools are reading below the basic proficiency reading level? What’s more, as Marva Collins discovered, far too many of those students are being wrongly labeled as LD children. That’s disturbing, because a recent study revealed by the National Center for Learning Disabilities reported that 66 percent of special education students are reading three or more grade levels behind and 20 percent of them are reading five or more grade levels behind.
Try to imagine that. What’s really sad is that almost every one of those children could have learned to read correctly if given adequate, systematic, phonics-first reading instruction, and almost every one of those children could have gained inferential thinking abilities had they been connected with an instructor or a parent or a grandmother who interacted with them through reading-aloud/discussion times aimed at developing inferential comprehension skills.
Would you like to know more about what YOU can do to help that child in your life develop the proper “reading-for-meaning” skills, skills that can make the difference between his/her success now and later? Click here to read more about how you can give a child much-needed inferential thinking skills.
Carol Kay, President
Candy 4WAY Phonics
reading for meaning, teaching children reading comprehension strategies, teaching children to make inferences