The release of every new national literacy report is a cause for the heart to sink.
Although there are small gains here and there, the reading and writing levels among our nation’s schoolchildren are very low for an advanced industrial society (now an information society) that not only provides twelve years of publicly-funded education but requires postsecondary course work.
The educational system is rich in its teaching workforce. Most teachers are dedicated to the needs of children, and willing to work in the trenches where it really matters.
However, these strengths are often undermined by a lack of understanding of the reading and writing process, and strategies to teach students how to perform the intricate procedures needed to comprehend written text and produce meaningful writing.
The Obama administration’s proposal for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, A Blueprint for Reform, is on the right track in its literacy goals.