Read Proficiently by 3rd Grade, or Get Held Backby : Stacee Parker
posted on : 8/30/2013
New Arizona Law Takes effect
Students must read proficiently by 3rd grade, or get held back
By Stacee Parker
As a third-grade teacher sits behind a desk with a group of students, each with a book in hand; she will give that group her undivided attention for 5-7 minutes. The timer goes off, and it’s time to rotate centers.
This routine activity has more weight this year, as new Arizona laws take effect. The new law states that if your child is not meeting or exceeding Common Core standards by year end, they must be held back.
You may ask, “why third-grade?” Research has shown that third-graders’ ability to read is heavily linked to future success in academics and careers. “Third grade is so important because it’s when students switch over from learning to read to reading to learn,” said Emily Workman, associate policy analyst at Education Commission of the States. “If they’re not able to make that transition when they go into fourth (grade), they begin to struggle and generally struggle throughout their educational career.”
Parents and educators should take this seriously.
“The Arizona Department of Education estimates new Common Core Standards will force roughly 1,500 children to repeat 3rd grade next year. Another 17,000 children are at risk of being held back under the new rules”
~Pearl Chang Esau President of Expect More Arizona.
Consider early intervention – before your child gets to third grade. Here are some things you can do at home to provide a rich learning environment for your children.
- Be a good role model – read yourself and read often with your child. Encourage learning. Studies have shown that children generally mimic parental behavior. As Dr. Kevin Leman, author of “What a Difference a Mom Makes”, states “Values are caught, rather than taught. What you do speaks much louder…than what you say.”
- Visit your local library or book store often with your child. Allow them to choose varied reading material – some for pure enjoyment and some for information about hobbies and interests. Of course, make sure the material is age appropriate.
- Encourage activities which require reading and promote learning such as cooking, constructing a kite, making a model airplane, playing “Monopoly” or “Life”, or simply identifying plants, or sea shells collected at the beach.
Establish a specific daily time for reading, even if it’s for short periods of time. Some families even establish a specific reading night where no T.V. is allowed. It’s totally up to you.
- Write notes to your child and encourage written responses. Even further, ask them to write a letter to someone famous. This could be an actor, a sports figure, a businessperson, or even the President. You’ll be surprised how often they answer and how excited your child will be when they do.
- Ask your child to bring home a library book to read to you, their sibling, or even their pet. It doesn’t matter who they are reading to, as long as they are reading.
- Encourage your child in all their reading efforts by providing generous praise and letting them know how special they are. Your love provides them with the confidence they need to succeed.
Lastly, know that reading and writing standards don’t just apply to reading and writing. Common Core standards are raising the bar for math too. Going forward, mathematics will be much tougher, with a focus on critical thinking and problem solving. This means word problems galore. Of course, solving word problems starts with being a great reader.
Keep in mind there are many excellent tutoring programs out there to assist you. One-on-one tutoring is preferred and actual learning center programs fare better than those offering just homework help. These learning programs will identify individual strengths and weaknesses through assessment first and then should offer customized learning solutions.
One such program can be found at MathRise Learning Centers in Litchfield Park and Glendale, Arizona. MathRise offers a unique pattern-based learning solution which has consistently delivered incredible results.