Is this not startling?
Did you know that 65% of America’s fourth graders do not read at a proficient level? How about the fact that one out of six children who do not read at age level by the end of third grade will not graduate from high school?
So notes the Children’s Literary Foundation,* referring to a report commissioned in 2011 by The Annie E. Casey Foundation.**
What about now?
Here is Ralph Smith in the opening lines of his message as managing director for The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
“An alarming number of children—about 67 percent nationwide and more than 80 percent of those from low-income families—are not proficient readers by the end of third grade.” ***
We have been paying close attention to this issue, not only because we primarily write for the age group in this danger zone in The Adirondack Kids® book series – but because of the children and grandchildren in our own households! We certainly want them to graduate, and ultimately long for them to become readers for life!
Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, has noted that the best readers tend to love Series Books. This led him to conclude “The adage “the more you read, the better you get at it” is not only true, it should also be the slogan of series books.” ****
Series Books are often referred to as Training Wheels to help young readers gain proficiency in solo reading and move on to more challenging books. A major key is that children associate reading books with pleasure!
A second key is allowing children to be in on their book selection!
Surely I am not the only one who can remember the Weekly Reader Book Club? I would save my lunch money and pour (sometimes agonize!) over the selection of book titles every time that newsprint leaflet was distributed. And how I looked forward the day those books arrived.
Henry Huggins was one of the first book I remember reading as a child, and it was one of the first book I read to Justin when he turned the right age. Justin’s son, Levi, will be next! And somehow I still have my copy of Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars!
The subject for this week’s blog came to mind upon reading a note from a thank-you card we received in the mail today from a mom and her young son who live across the country from us.
“Thank you so much for the books. --- loved them, and I heard “one more chapter please!” several times! Always good to hear!” L.T. Oregon
This reading challenge is great and with serious consequences for a majority of our children. We are thrilled that in some modest way our books have proven a gateway to the joy reading for some of them.
p.s. This weekend, November 3 & 4, we will be at the 22nd Annual Clinton Fine Arts & Crafts Festival being held in the Clinton High School (75 Chenango Avenue) in Clinton, New York. Show hours are Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
While meeting readers and autographing books last weekend at the New York State Reading Association (NYSRA) Conference in Syracuse, New York we had an unexpected treat. During a brief lull in the action, we were able to have a nice chat with longtime children’s author, Bruce Coville. He is also the founder of Full Cast Audio and has produced some many unabridged books for young people. I (Gary) am currently engrossed in Kenneth Oppel’s exciting novel, Skybreaker!
**** Jim Trelease in The Read-Aloud Handbook, Seventh Edition, ©2013, Penguin Books, pp. 121,122
© 2018 Adirondack Kid Press, Ltd.