Adolescent Illiteracy in America

2004 Words5 Pages

Last school year, I took a college class that required hours of field experience in a high school English class. I was able to observe different English classes and different high school grade levels. What made a big impact on me was to hear some of those high school students struggling with reading more than the third grade students I was teaching that same school year. These students were expected to read and comprehend grade level text when they were reading at an elementary level. Illiteracy “is considered the blackest mark of a person’s finally in school and the greatest failure in the American school system” (Tchudi, and Tchudi 75) and there are around twenty-five million functional illiterates in the United States (75). Why are our middle school and high school students still struggling with reading? What can English/Language arts teachers do to help these struggling readers? The causes of reading difficulties often arise because of learning disabilities such as dyslexia, poor preparation before entering school, no value for literacy, low school attendance, insufficient reading instruction, and/or even the way students were taught to read in the early grades. The struggles that students “encounter in school can be seen as socially constructed-by the ways in which schools are organized and scheduled, by assumptions that are made about home life and school abilities, by a curriculum that is often devoid of connections to students’ lives, and by text that may be too difficult for students to read” (Hinchman, and Sheridan-Thomas166). Whatever the reason for the existence of the reading problem initially, by “the time a [student] is in the intermediate grades, there is good evidence that he will show continued reading g... ... middle of paper ... ...ilding Reading Proficiency at the Secondary Level: A Guide to Resources." Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (2001): 1-150. ERIC-Education Resources Information Center. Web. 17 Feb 2011. Portal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED458562>. Serafini, Frank, and Cyndi Giorgis. Reading Aloud and Beyond: Fostering the Intellectual Life with Older Readers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2003. Print. Tchudi, Susan J, and Stephen Tchudi. The English Language Arts Handbook: Classroom Strategies for Teachers. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1999. Print. Tovani, Cris. I Read It, but I Don't Get It: Comprehension Strategies for Adolescent Readers. Portland, Me: Stenhouse Publishers, 2000. Print. United States. Reading to Achieve: A Governor's Guide to Adolescent Literacy. Washington: National Governors Association, 2005. Print.

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