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Special Report Focuses Attention on Early Literacy

For those with a particular interest in early literacy, the American Prospect magazine has just published a special report titled "Reading By Grade 3."

In an introductory essay, Sara Mead, a senior associate at Bellweather Education Partners, explains that the articles "cast a spotlight on the early-literacy challenge, explaining why early literacy is so critical, exploring the reasons that too many of our youngest children are not learning to read, and offering provocative prescriptions for how policy-makers can change this."

Among the contributors are E.D. Hirsch and Robert Pondiscio from the Core Knowledge Foundation, Lisa Guernsey from the New America Foundation, and Cornelia Grumman from the First Five Years Fund.

Here's just a quick taste of what the articles offer.

In their essay, Hirsch and Pondiscio write: "[T]oo many of our schools labor under fundamental misconceptions about reading comprehension—how it works, how to improve it, and how to test it."

Meanwhile, Guernsey writes: "[A] new class-based divide is emerging over how children are taught to read. At one extreme are children in high-poverty schools with teachers who have been asked to drill them on letters, words, and sounds that they were never really exposed to before arriving at school. On the other end are middle-class children whose teachers read them elaborate stories and encourage playful re-enactments, and whose parents have been pointing out letters and reading them books since the year they were born. It's a chasm that shows no sign of narrowing. How do we get out of it?"

There's plenty more to delve into in this package.

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