Schools to cut back reading program
By Appeared in the Arizona Republic
Mesa Public Schools top administrators have decided to stop elementary school teachers from allotting class time for an independent reading program that tests students comprehension and vocabulary skills through computer quizzes. Instead, the Accelerated Reader program, used to encourage children to read, will only be allowed during free-time such as lunch, clubs and before or after school. The changes take effect next fall. The district has found that reading and writing scores on standardized tests such as AIMS are not improving enough, and district administrators say research shows direct teacher instruction, not independent reading, is the most critical factor that increases a child's reading ability.
Some parents and teachers are upset, arguing that the program helps kids and required a big financial investment that should not be abandoned. Lucy Calkins, a professor in the Teachers College of Columbia University, said research does not show that direct instruction is superior to independent reading.
"It's a no-brainer that the kids who read a lot score better," Calkins said.
Three years ago, public schools in
This article appeared in the December 5, 2006 edition of the