Advocating for Change:Improving Student Reading Comprehension Skills by Tracy Buaron
There is a critical need to improve the readingcomprehension of our students because they enter schoolwith limited experiences and poor vocabulary. Components for reading success
In 2011, only 41% of the sixth grade students in NorthPlainfield were proficient on the NJ ASK language artsliteracy assessment. Sixth-Grade Standardized Test Score Results for North Plainfield, NJ (GreatSchools Inc., 2011)
Improving student reading comprehension a goal of ourstate and our school. (Click on the green links to see documents in Word format.) Common Core State Standards (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2011) Somerset School Objectives (Somerset Objectives, n.d.)
Causes of the issue Changing demographics:In 1978, the district was: 99% White. (Personal Communication, March 12, 2012)In 2000, the district was: 63% White, 27 % Hispanic, 13% Black, and 5% Asian. (U.S. Census Bureau 2011) How does this relate to reading comprehension?
An increase in cultural diversity brings children with differentexperiences, achievement levels,languages, and cultures, into the classroom.
Causes of the issue A transient population:•Students in our district move often due to uncontrollablefamily issues.•Therefore, the students who enter the kindergarten programare not the same group of students who enter the sixth grade.•Resources spent on students leave when students move out ofdistrict, and we gain students who may not have equivalentexperiences and/or ability level as their peers who have beeneducated in the district.•Our school district must extend more finances and resourcesif these students require supplemental support to succeed inschool. (Personal Communication, March 12, 2012)
Causes of the issue Low socio-economic status:Socio-economic status is a factor in English literacy. Poverty influences learning style and mental focus.Students living in poverty do not benefit from experiences that are available to those who are in a better financialposition, such as family outings to parks and museums, internet availability. In addition, many times olderstudents are responsible for younger siblings and help with domestic chores when parents work long hours.Their parents are often unavailable to help them with their academic studies and many times, parents are noteducated beyond high school. Also, these students may come to school hungry and sleep-deprived. All thesefactors contribute to a lack of background knowledge, a deficiency in expressive language, and affect studentlearning. It is not a cognitive deficit, but students with these deficits need to be taught metacognitive skills ofquestioning, hypothesizing, and drawing conclusions in order to engage them actively in the learning process(Price, 2010). To address these issues, the teachers in our school need professional development focused onusing these teaching strategies.
Causes of the issue Non-English speaking families:
Causes of the issue Low levels of parental education:
ReferencesGreatSchools, Inc. (2011). Somerset Elementary School. Retrieved fromhttp://www.greatschools.org/modperl/achievement/nj/1423#tocSomerset Objectives. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nplainfield.org/Domain/498Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2011). The Standards: English Language Arts Standards. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/the-standards/english- language-arts-standardsU.S. Census Bureau. (2011). State and County quickfacts: North Plainfield (borough), New Jersey. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/34/3453280.html