Dan Willingham On The NAEP

I think too much pedagogy is based on belief with no facts. Reading scores get cruddy due to this, as Dan Willingham points out:
The belief that kids will be better readers if we simply get them to read more is rooted in the belief that reading comprehension is a transferable skill that, once mastered, applies to any text. That’s true of decoding, but not of comprehension.

What’s needed is a substantial knowledge base. Knowledge of the content they are likely to encounter when reading the sorts of materials we expect them to read confidently: newspapers, magazines, and serious books.

That knowledge should be accumulated beginning in Pre-K, with read-alouds, activities, field trips, and the like. It should continue throughout their education.

Until we start paying more attention to content, expect flat reading scores.

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