The Lunch Time Book Buddies Pass It On Program

2305 words - 9 pages

There’s no denying that reading is the foundation for all academic achievement (paths, whether they lead you down the road of a doctoral degree or to the door of parenting). It reinforces language and communication, without it you cannot read a menu, bus schedule, recipe, street sign, bank statement or loved ones letter, not to mention phone texts or discovering a favorite book. Reading navigates us through our day-to-day life and fuels our imagination (and opens up worlds of possibilities: new countries, new cultures, and your own history). However, the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), aka “Nation’s Report Card”, revealed 34% of fourth grade students in public schools fell below the basic reading level and one in six students not reading proficiently in the third grade do not graduate high school on time. These staggering statistics along with the accountability reforms of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) have led scholars and educators to look for more effective means of reading instruction and have contributed to the development of alternative, supplemental reading activities and programs to support/bolster literacy improvement. Research shows that the level of reading fluency in third grade is a predictor of future academic achievement. Third grade is when reading transitions from decoding to comprehension of text (Stevens, 2006). These key literacy skills build students’ capacity to learn independently, from all academic fields and social environments (Shanahan, 2010). It is no surprise that reading instruction is such a strong focus of curriculum in pre and early elementary education.
Educational trends regarding reading instruction have vacillated between traditional phonics and holistic language approaches for most of the twentieth century. Traditionalist educators rely on phonics, the symbol recognition, systematic practice of decoding text. Direct and technical instruction includes rules, sequencing of skills, repetition and extensive worksheet assignments. The key to phonics is decoding, accumulation of skill and requires technical accuracy. Whole language reading approaches literacy as the complete experience of language, communication and comprehension. Like learning speech, it approaches reading as a full immersion experience, using several strategies sot interpret text, not only decode it. Students learn to read by listening, following print words as they’re being read to, using picture/context cues, making story predictions and mimicking reading and writing. It offers more choice in practice and literature selection. Today’s instructional practices are more student-centered, offer more accommodations to the varied learning styles and abilities, and for the most part incorporate both whole language and phonemic awareness into balanced literacy programs which research studies support.
However, as studies and standardized test scores show, there is still a significant (alarming) gap in reading...

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