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Advancing the Literacy of Adolescents

Advancing the Literacy of Adolescents

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Advancing the Literacy of Adolescents

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  1. Advancing the Literacy of Adolescents Andrés Henríquez Carnegie Corporation of New York Interagency Coordinating Council on Youth February 19, 2008

  2. Overview of presentation • Our nation’s skills gap • College Knowledge…what will it take? • Middle childhood and adolescents and literacy--our need to ramp up • Types of activities supported by Carnegie Corporation of NY to support this effort • Ways in which a whole-child approach is necessary to support young people through middle school

  3. Teaching the New Basic SkillsUrgent Over Ten Years Ago… “Fifteen years ago, a U.S. High School diploma was a ticket to the middle class. No longer. The skills required to earn a decent income have changed radically. The skills taught in most U.S. Schools have not.” -Richard Murnane and Frank Levy (1996)

  4. But Even More Urgent Now That quality work force was the single biggest reason the U.S. emerged as the economic superpower of the 20th century. Generation after generation, American workers were better educated, more industrious and more innovative than the ones that came before.That progress stopped about 30 years ago. The percentage of young Americans completing college has been stagnant for a generation. As well-educated boomers retire over the next decades, the quality of the American work force is likely to decline. -David Brooks, New York Times 2.15.08

  5. College Knowledge and Skills In order for our nation to remain competitive: Our nation will need to raise achievement levels of our young people substantially and improve their knowledge and skills in order to be well prepared to enter and complete college A Surge in College Readiness: College readiness includes the culture of schools, habits of mind and attitudes that will encourage young people to be geared toward college going The challenge is significant: Many young people entering high school are not yet prepared academically for the rigor of high school work

  6. Middle Childhood and Adolescent Literacy • We have the tools to teach children how to read but we have not made progress on teaching kids how to “read to learn” • “4th Grade Slump” noted reading scholar, Jeanne Chall, concerned with dip after fourth grade • Reading expectations increase for young people in amount and complexity each year

  7. NAEP 2003/2007 Grade 8 Reading

  8. NAEP 2003/2007 Grade 8 Reading

  9. What Happens When Individuals Do Not “Read to Learn” • Limited learning in other areas (science, history, mathematics) • Decreased self-esteem and motivation • Limited potential for higher education • Remediation in community colleges increases chances of dropping out • Limited vocational options and job opportunities • 50% of companies find that workers have deficits in reading and writing • 70% of unemployed Americans, aged 25 to 65, read at the two lowest literacy levels (NCES, 2007)

  10. So What’s Going on in Middle Schools? • Young people shifting to new environments • Content area teachers don’t see themselves as literacy instructors • Students lose interest and motivation in reading and in school and are less likely to read for pleasure • Assumption among teachers that kids already know “how to read” • Preparing young people for high-level complex text is not a priority in schools • Research is inconclusive about which structure of middle school (6-8 vs. K-8) works best • Parent engagement drops off substantially

  11. Complex Issue Exacerbated by.. • Funding for literacy is clustered in Pre-K through 3rd grades • Shift from expository text in the fourth grade • Teachers in middle and high school are good teachers of content, but are challenged when asked to teaching reading skills

  12. What Else is Going On ? Social Emotional Physical Intellectual NASSP (2006)

  13. Emotional • Experience mood swings • Need to release energy • Are seeking to become independent • Intense concern about physical growth and maturity

  14. Social • Strong needs to be in groups • Are in search of self • Overreact to ridicule, embarrassment, and rejection • Exhibit immature behavior

  15. Physical • Experience restlessness and fatigue • Have poor eating habits • Develop sexual awareness

  16. Intellectual • Transition period from concrete thinking to abstract thinking • Intensely curious and inquisitive • Prefer active over passive learning

  17. Social Emotional Physical Intellectual

  18. Carnegie’s Advancing Literacy Initiative • Put adolescent literacy on the nation’s agenda through strategic grant making in research, policy and practice. • Outcomes • Increased funding in a number of states for adolescent literacy; • Striving Readers Legislation is planned the reauthorization of NCLB • A number of schools of education are now paying more attention to literacy as a developmental issue

  19. A Focus on Reading and Writing • Reading Next and Writing Next: Two reports that have shaped policy and practice in adolescent reading and writing

  20. Carnegie Corporation’s Advancing Literacy Program: A few good ideas • Double the Work: Challenges and Solutions to Acquiring Language and Academic Literacy for Adolescent English Language Learners (Short & Fitzsimmons)

  21. Carnegie Corporation’s Advancing Literacy Program: A few good ideas • Reading to Achieve: A governor’s guide to adolescent literacy (Berman & Biancarosa)

  22. Carnegie Corporation’s Advancing Literacy Program: A few good ideas • The Next Chapter: A School Board Guide to Improving Adolescent Literacy

  23. Carnegie Corporation’s Advancing Literacy Program Also • Funded a number of states to begin to develop K-12 literacy plans • Have worked with National Center for Family Literacy and others to encourage parent engagement and adolescent literacy • Encourage development of tools for English language learners • Technology tools for reading on the Internet • Developed the infrastructure for the adolescent literacy field by supporting young scholars and preservice institutions

  24. Instructional Improvements Direct explicit Comprehension instruction Effective instructional principles embedded in content Motivation and self direction Text-based collaborative learning Strategic tutoring Diverse texts Intensive writing A technology component Ongoing formative assessment Infrastructure Improvements Extended time for learning Professional development Ongoing summative assessment of students and programs Teacher teams Leadership A comprehensive and coordinated literacy program Key Elements in Program Designs to Improve Adolescent Literacy Biancarosa & Snow (2004)

  25. What else needs to take place • Set middle school benchmarks that would ensure students are ready for high school • Repair the leaks in the 4th -9th grade pipeline • We have the capability to identify dropouts as early as 4th grade. Early and continuous support for struggling students • Focus and support youngsters in transitions from elementary to middle school and middle school and high school

  26. Other issues • Prepare habits of mind, skills and academic behaviors for college readiness in middle school • Parent engagement could help articulate what’s necessary for college preparation • Need to increase the complex reading materials into high school courses • Support Success in the Middle Act: Bill introduced by Senators Obama, Reed and Grijalva to strengthen nation’s middle schools. • Collaborative efforts such as the Interagency Coordinating Council on Youth (ICC) could help in working with the whole child

  27. The requisite website Andrés Henríquez

  28. References ACT, Inc (2006). Reading between the lines: What the ACT reveals about college readiness in reading. Iowa, City, IA: Author. Biancarosa, G. & Snow, C. E. (2004). Reading Next: A vision for Action and Research in Middle and High School. Washington, DC. Alliance for Excellent Education. Brooks, D. (2008, February 15). Fresh conservatism. The New York Times. Section A1, pp. A23. Conley, D. T. (2007). Toward a more comprehensive conception of college readiness. Eugene, OR. Educational Policy Improvement Center. Kutner, M. Greenberg, E., Jin, Y., Boyle, B., Hsu, Y., and Dunleavy, E. (2007). Literacy in everyday life: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NCES 2007-480). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved February 18, 2008, from Murnane, R. J. & Levy, F. (1996). Teaching the new basic skills: Principles for educating children to thrive in a changing economy. New York, NY. The Free Press. National Association of Secondary School Principals (2006). Breaking ranks in the middle: Strategies for leading middle level reform.