People often disagree about which subjects schools should teach, but nearly everyone agrees that children must learn reading, writing and arithmetic. The United States invests considerable resources in making sure that students are learning these basic subjects, and yet schools still fall behind – especially schools with a higher percentage of lower income children.
In a 2010 report called Raising Readers: A Story of Success, published by PBS KIDS in partnership with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and funded by the United States Department of Education Ready to Learn grant (RTL), researchers report great success using digital media to teach children literacy skills. It also explains that during fourth grade (ages 9-10 years) schools begin to move from teaching children to “learn to read” to teaching children to “read to learn,” while focusing on additional subjects such as history and science. If children do not learn to read at grade level by this time, they are at a lifetime disadvantage. Researchers are finding that many children are not ready for fourth grade.
This lack of readiness has been called the “fourth grade reading slump.” (See Getting Over the Slump, The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, 2008.) The Raising Readers report also states, “Fourth grade literacy rates are directly tied to high school dropout rates, which are the most cited predictors of crime, low income and reliance on social services.” The message is that students must learn these basic skills early and then they must be engaged and motivated to stay in school and continue learning. There is great hope that new programs, along with innovations in technology, can help with both ...
Via Carisa Kluver