Why Aren't American Reading Scores Higher?

Why Aren't American Reading Scores Higher?

Tim Shanahan

Blast from the Past: Four years ago, I posted this blog. These days -- post COVID -- this question is coming up even more often, and more insistently than then. A lot of instruction was lost by many children and schools are scrambling to do better. Unfortunately, too many are seizing on simplistic solutions, that might be helpful for some kids, but which will not be likely to improve achievement very much. The solutions provided in this blog are still the best way to go for those who are serious about raising reading achievement -- in their classroom, in their school, or in their state or school district.

Teacher question:

The National Assessment of Educational Progress says that only 37% of 4th graders are reaching reading proficiency. Why is it so low?

Shanahan response:

Why do so few American kids read well?

There seems to be plenty of blame to go around. Parents? Society? Too much screen time? Poverty? Immigration? You and me?

Lots of possibilities; some truth to each of these explanations. We’re all responsible, none of us are responsible. Yada, yada.

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