First graders nowadays are better readers than they were more than a decade ago… evidence, researchers said, kids are learning in kindergarten what they used to in first grade.
…evidence, researchers said, kids are learning in kindergarten what they used to in first grade.
That’s according to a 12-year study out of Ohio State University, which found students entering first grade in 2013 had “significantly better reading skills” than the same age group 12 years earlier.
“Children are better prepared when they enter first grade than they used to be,” said Emily Rodgers, a professor of teaching at Ohio State University and study co-author. “Kindergarten is the new first grade when it comes to learning reading skills.”
The study assessed hundreds of thousands of new first graders from thousands of schools in 44 states, testing them on basic and advanced literacy skills.
Test scores increased in all six areas, with low-performing students improving in the four basic skills of:
- letter identification
- word recognition
- identifying and using sounds
- and print awareness.
…However, the gap grew between low-performers and other students when it came to advanced skills of writing vocabulary and text reading.
Co-author Jerome D’Agostino said the study is good news…
…but couldn’t explain why low-performers are falling further behind their classmates.
“There’s a missing link between teaching low-achieving students basic literacy skills and having them actually put those skills to use in reading,” he said. “They’re doing better at learning sounds and letters, and now we have to do a better job helping them put it all together and read text.”
Rodgers suggested an adjustment could be made.
“We’re probably spending too much time emphasizing basic skills for the low-achieving students,” she said, “when we should be giving them more opportunities to actually read text.”
The authors credit the improved reading of first graders to a pair of reports during the 2000s advocating changes in reading instruction as well as former President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law, an act that promoted skills tied to reading in preschool and elementary school.
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