Third Grade Reading: The Key to Academic Everything

Transparency in Teaching (stuff)
Transparency in Teaching (stuff)
Third Grade Reading: The Key to Academic Everything

A⁠ recent article in “The 74”⁠ caught my attention this week. It discussed how Tennessee and Michigan are currently debating removing the statute requiring third graders who are reading below grade level to be retained. With state testing starting, people are worried about holding back the potentially large number of these students who may not pass the test. You see, aside from the average number of students that struggle with reading at this grade level, this year’s batch of third graders were in kindergarten when the pandemic hit. People worry that the two years of virtual learning and closed schools have potentially created a glut of below-level readers.

What would be the consequences of holding back so many students? For one, it is expensive. You will need more teachers and classrooms to manage the overflow. Could an exception be made for this group? The article states, “Parents, advocates, and educators say it’s unfair to base the decision on one assessment, especially for students who were in kindergarten when the pandemic hit. But state officials and Republican legislators argue it’s wrong to promote students who aren’t ready.” Gotta say I’m siding with the state officials on this one.

A necessary evil?

Retaining third-grade students who can’t read at grade level has long been a topic of debate in education circles. Some argue that retaining students is harmful and counterproductive. Others point to research showing that retaining students can be an effective strategy for improving academic outcomes in the long term. Retaining third-grade students who are below grade level is a necessary strategy for academic success. This is especially true in light of the pandemic-related learning loss.

Listen to the episode and see if you agree with me. Share your opinion in the comments section or answer the poll question. If you found value in what you heard today, please forward the link to those who would benefit.

Thanks for listening!

Here’s the list of links to the resources used in our podcast today:

  • ‘Are We Really Going to Fail Those Students?’ With State Tests Next Month, Tennessee Reconsiders Holding Back Third Graders. The 74
  • Exclusive Data: Experts Hailed Holding Kids Back as an Emergency Response to Pandemic Learning Loss. Despite Wave of New State Retention Bills, Most Parents Balked. The 74
  • Study: Third Grade Reading Predicts Later High School Graduation Education Week
  • Holding Back to Move Forward: The Effects of Retention in the Third Grade on Student Outcomes. Annenberg/Brown University:EdWorkingPaper No. 22-688
  • Double Jeopardy:How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation. Donald J. Hernandez for the Annie E. Casey Foundation

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