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Literacy Rates - Nationwide

The following graphs represent literacy rates in the United States. Notice that in fourth grade only one third of students read well, leaving one third struggling, and the remaining third functionally illiterate. By eighth grade some of the students who were illiterate in fourth grade have become struggling readers, but notice that the percentage of students reading well has dropped slightly. In order to understand the final graph it is necessary to understand the tasks required at the given levels of literacy. To find our more information see http://nces.ed.gov/pubs93/93275.pdf. The devastating reality that only 3% of adults read at the highest level of proficiency means that only 3% of adults are able to read and comprehend the required documents of participating on a jury. The consequences of failing to teach children to read are felt at all levels of a democratic society. Take Action in ensuring that every child learns to read by third grade!

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The Logic of English and Teacher Training

Uncovering the Logic of English is an ideal reading methods textbook for universities and colleges. In 150 pages, Uncovering the Logic of English reveals the phonograms and spelling rules which explain 98% of English words. The book is written in an engaging and easy-to-read style which will stimulate classroom discussion about phonics, spelling, and the strengths and weaknesses with their own experiences learning to read and spell. Uncovering the Logic of English will become a standard reference guide when the teachers enter the classroom as it provides answers to everyday questions that children ask such as:

  • Why is there a silent final E in have?
  • Why does C say /k/ in cat but /s/ in cent?
  • Why don't we drop the E when writing courageous?

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The Logic of English and MN Statutes on Reading Strategies

The Logic of English and MN Statute 122A.18 Subd. 2a Reading Strategies

Uncovering the Logic of English arms teachers with research based content for teaching reading. The phonograms and spelling rules found in Uncovering the Logic of English are consistent with other explicit, systematic phonics programs. The material is presented in a concise and easy to read format which makes it an ideal textbook for reading methods classes in colleges and universities. Learning the phonograms and spelling rules is essential in preparing teachers for the reading instruction portion of their licensure exam as described in MN Statute 122.A Subd. 2A and MN statute 122A.06 subd 4. In addition, learning the phonograms and spelling rules prepares teachers to answer the practical questions their students ask about English spelling and decoding as well as provides teachers a strategy for integrating vocabulary and spelling instruction across the curriculum.

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Minnesota Literacy Statistics

"Reading is the key to everything. Teaching children to read is a fundamental moral obligation of the society.
That 27 percent are at serious risk of crippling illiteracy is an outrageous scandal."

Garrison Keillor

  • 63 percent of Minnesota's fourth graders are NOT proficient in reading.[1]

  • 27 percent of Minnesota's fourth graders are functionally illiterate.[1]

  • 64 percent of Minnesota's eighth graders are NOT proficient in reading.[2]

  • 20 percent of Minnesota's eighth graders are functionally illiterate.[2]

  • Students not proficient at reading by the beginning of third grade have only a 25 percent chance of catching up over their entire public school experience.[3]

  • Between Caucasian and African American students, Minnesota has the highest achievement gap in the nation.[4]

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Beginning With Cursive Handwriting

At Pedia Learning we strongly recommend beginning with cursive. Cursive has six primary advantages over print:

  1. It is less fine motor skill intensive.
  2. All the lowercase letters begin in one place, on the baseline.
  3. Spacing within and between words is controlled.
  4. By lifting the pencil between words, the beginning and ending of words is emphasized.
  5. It is difficult to reverse letters such as b's and d's.
  6. The muscle memory that is mastered first will last a lifetime.

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An Eight-Year-Old's Advice About Reading

My eight-year-old daughter Hannah wrote the following essay for a contest. The contest asked students to provide advice to homeschool moms based upon what their moms did well. I thought educators would find her thoughts on reading and spelling education interesting. It certainly encouraged me!

I like home schooling because there are a lot of opportunities and sports. I think you should let your kids be in sports. Being in gymnastics helps me so that I don't have as much energy and I can focus and get my school done faster. When I come home I practice more gymnastics, handstands, and other skills. 

I like home schooling also because I can be by my family and we can play games together a lot more. Also there are no other people around me when I do school. This helps me because then I cannot be distracted by other people. I also like home schooling because I can ask questions whenever I want.

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We Need to Talk about Reading!

English speaking countries are failing our students in first and second grade. More than 60% of our students, in all grades, are struggling with reading!

38% of 4th graders are functionally illiterate.
68% of eighth graders read below grade level.
Only 10% of adults are highly proficient readers.

We need to talk about reading education.

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Basic Skills and Creativity

There is a great deal of confusion in the education world in regard to creativity and basic skills. As an educator and parent, I agree 100% that our current system is numbing and disregards the value of many types of learners.

Education is far more than academics and should encompass all the dimensions of our humanity.

Unfortunately, as the lens is widened on the overall scope of education, we often lose our ability to appreciate the value of the basic skills that form the foundation.

I believe that the written word is the foundation to academic growth. Though video technology allows for people to gain knowledge without reading, it cannot replace the written word. Even this blog is based upon it.

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The Science of Reading

The English-speaking world needs to talk about reading. It is not right that 68% of our students read below grade level in 8th grade and 37% are functionally illiterate. There is no excuse. We have the scientific and linguistic knowledge to solve this problem.

Functional MRI studies are uncovering amazing information about how the brain learns to read. Reading occurs in the back left side of the brain in the areas which control language and sound. Students who do not know how to read well compensate for low activity in the language centers by using the front right side of their brain. The reading and non-reading brains are functioning differently.

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Leaving Behind Science and Math Minded Students

Young students who are pattern thinkers, science buffs, and have mathematic minds often struggle to learn to read. They are frustrated when they are taught that the letter S says /s/ and then immediately discover that "is," "his," "was" and "chairs" are all exceptions. These children diligently apply the rules they are told only to find that English is illogical and inconsistent.

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