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It has been a regular practice of mine to ask students to read material that I review with them. I’ve learned throughout those sessions that a significant number of students who are of the age and grade levels where they should certainly be capable of sufficiently reading can hardly read at all.

When my son informed me that some of his classmates, who were regular ed. middle school students at the time, could barely read, it really dawned on me just how serious an epidemic this was and is.

The inability to read, setting aside interpretation, is one of the chief reasons that many students do not score satisfactorily or better on standardized and other tests/quizzes, etc.

I instructed my son to help his classmates who were struggling with reading, when availed the opportunity to do so. My son pointed out, however, that those particular students are “too embarrassed” to ask for help or to accept it, and that they would perceive his endeavors to help them as a put down, however pure his intentions would have been…

Most of the students I’ve worked with are very eager to learn, however; and by encouraging students to be interactive in class, i.e. in having them take turns reading course material, helping them with word pronunciation when needed, and collaboratively discussing interpretation and methodologies of arriving at interpretation, i.e., having students to underline, highlight, and/or circle relevant key words, phrases, or sentences, educators can really help to strengthen students’ reading muscles…

The reason that so many students are incapable of reading sufficiently is that there has never been a formal and uniform system of testing and intervention, when a system of the sort, which should be implemented for every student requiring intervention, is the only way to reverse this crisis…

Students should partake of annual reading assessments, distinguishable from standardized multiple choice examinations, to determine if they can read at all and at what level.

Students with reading challenges should also be required to spend sufficient time each day utilizing text-to-speech and other reading software/resources, during and after school, on and off campus, or anywhere that students have internet access, that would help with everything from letter and word enunciation to speed and interpretive development…

Students testing below their actual grade should not necessarily warrant demotion; the annual scores should rather be utilized to customize reading plans that would bring each subject student up to par as quickly as possible.

Utilization of Text-to-Speech & Reading Software

Requiring students with reading challenges to invest sufficient time into working with especially text-to-speech and other proven effective reading software (including online programs) each class day would certainly be among the best methods of helping that sect of students to learn.

In Summation

Reading is the universal and most important skill that all students should master to be successful in all course subjects, and it is only intelligible to routinely (yearly) assess student reading levels, again distinguishable from conventional standardized testing, and to heighten strategies for improvement.