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Is this an accurate picture of the teaching of Reading in America over the years?

At one point, reading, writing and arithmetic were the only 3 courses taught, and illiteracy was rampant, but then in the 20th Century, we moved toward a more robust curriculum. In the teaching experience of many of our parents and grandparents they had one period a day of reading, often a half hour, and a variety of other courses, often including daily classes in arts and physical education. Illiteracy dropped severely during that generation, but at some point we reached a break point where a certain population remained illiterate. Over the past few decades we’ve seen our children’s curriculum going from a robust smorgasbord to more and more reading… from 1 period a day to 2, to 3, to 4, and now 5 periods a day. (out of an 8 period day, now 45 minute periods when they were once 30 minutes. And yet, the illiteracy rate in America is still stagnant, ir perhaps are rising again.

In this picture, the more reading focused courses you give a child, the less they learn in reading. Sort of like the Japanese story about the student wanting to obtain enlightenment, as he increased the hours a day he would meditate, the zen master kept increasing the years it would take to obtain enlightenment.

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ed
ed
10 years ago

you can’t cut your finger and put a bandaid on it then if it starts to bleed again blame the bandaid .the school is not the problem the parents are .if they teach there childern to study after school they will learn from it.the schools have to much to teach in this day and age ,so they can only do so much .it is funny how people blame others for there problems .there your kids teach them

oldmanwithcoyote
oldmanwithcoyote
10 years ago

I can’t speak to the issue of what an educational system wishes to accomplish with reading requirements. I can, on the other hand, draw from my own experience in education as far as reading is concerned. When I began to be able to read, many of the courses were oriented toward what someone decided would be a good book for me to read. I discarded what they assigned for me to read and paid lip service to the books. By the time I was in the 8th or 9th grade, I had read anywhere from 5 to 10 times the… Read more »

abe
abe
10 years ago

Very accurate statement.

Sophist
Sophist
10 years ago

The one part of the picture you forgot was the influx of illiterate emigrants into this nation during this time period. Most of them didn’t speak English and had to be taught the language. In an effort to teach these children, teachers became frustrated and many left the profession. Some were the best teachers but they could go to work elsewhere and not hassle the problem of teaching illiterate foreigners. This left the poorer teachers, which compelled a reduction in standards. This has been the case right up to today. Private schools have not had to deal with illiteracy because… Read more »

Uncle Remus 54
Uncle Remus 54
10 years ago

No you are wrong. If you looked at the text books of years ago they included history, religion, poetry, Latin of all things, math, reading, writing, etc. What they learned was reinforced in both home and church on a daily basis. The spiritual climate in America was far different than what exists now. Extra curricular activity was farm work and chores at home. Even American slaves had a hard life. But there was a desire for them to want to live in liberty just to waste a life. But they saw opportunity in education with freedom. To join with society… Read more »

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