District Administration - June 2010 - (Page 66)
EssEntials on Education data and rEsEarch analysis
Spotlight on Adolescent Literacy
Recent studies call for increased funding.
By Stan Bumgardner
Following the publication of a 2004 report by the alliance for excellent education (biancarosa & Snow, 2004), the topic of adolescent literacy emerged as an issue of concern. it recently has received increased attention thanks to the latest round of studies and calls for additional federal funding (cassidy, Valadez, garrett, & barrera, 2010). while K3 literacy has been emphasized for decades, adolescent literacy has been underaddressed, as evidenced by the fact that 6 million of the nation’s 22 million middle and high school students are labeled as “struggling readers.” in fact, 12th-graders’ reading proficiency actually dropped from 40 to 35 percent between 1992 and 2005. other data point out an equally disturbing statistic: 69 percent of eighth-graders and 65 percent of 12thgraders cannot read at grade level (Miller, 2009; ayers & Miller, 2009). a national report on the topic details a five-year study by the carnegie corporation of new York’s council on advancing adolescent literacy (carnegie council on advancing adolescent literacy, 2009). The study confirms the findings of other researchers that despite increases in elementary reading scores, little progress has been made at the middle and high school levels. while state initiatives pertaining to adolescent literacy have demonstrated some success, these efforts are too limited. The report’s recommendations include expanding literacy instruction in all upper-grade subject areas; increasing funding for middle and high schools, possibly through title i money for disadvantaged students; and focusing on literacy in all classrooms by hiring teachers with
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Unlike K3 literacy, adolescent literacy has been underaddressed.
strong literacy skills and through professional development (gewertz, 2009). Striving Readers Since many experts are calling for additional funding, all eyes are on the nation’s most visible program targeting adolescent literacy. to date, Striving Readers has
For more guiDAnce on thiS topic, the Appalachia regional comprehensive center has compiled a toolkit of research-based solutions: www.arcc.edvantia.org/resources. php?toolkit=63. this toolkit includes research and best practices from a variety of sources, including recommendations for middle and high school principals, teachers, literacy coaches, families, and the community. it also features a Webcast on the role of states in addressing the adolescent literacy crisis.
been piloted in chicago; Danville, Ky.; Memphis; newark, n.J.; portland, ore.; San Diego; Springfield, Mass.; and at seven youth detention facilities in ohio. The program has received $30-35 million per year since its inception five years ago—compared to the $1 billion budget of the Reading First program; the obama administration has requested an additional $335 million to expand it. based on nearly five years of data (u.S. Department of education, 2009), the alliance for excellent education generated these program and policy recommendations for Striving Readers: • Invest in comprehensive literacy reform that spans all grade levels. • Establish a phased-in approach that allows programs sufficient time to implement a three-tiered approach. • Build a research base by requiring sites to participate in evaluations. • Invest in teacher professional development programs that specifically target adolescent literacy. • Strengthen partnerships between teacher preparation programs and districts implementing literacy programs. • Ensure that states develop sustainability plans beyond the federal resources (ayers & Miller, 2009). others caution that Striving Readers—and similar programs—must not be merely scaled-up versions of Reading First. adolescent literacy involves unique challenges that require distinct solutions. william g. brozo, a professor at george Mason university and expert on adolescent literacy, observes that you cannot have “the same one-size-fits-all programs that came with Reading First. You can’t
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration - June 2010
District Administration - June 2010
From the Editor
Innovative Leaders Take the Phone and Run
A New Dawn in the Sunshine State
The Die-Hard Communicator
Cybersafety in the Classroom
Persuading Teachers to Go Rural
District Administration - June 2010