Giving kids frequent comprehension tests doesn't line up with what science tells us about how comprehension works.
Excellent article. We are homeschooling our two kids (ages 6 and 8) and have purchased several grades worth of the Core Knowledge books to start incorporating into our curriculum.
The next step for us will be doing book reports for the 8 year old.
As always, great job on telling truth and weaving together what we do know about comprehension vs. what we don't know about it. One thing is for certain: developing reading comprehension is complex and develops over many years. Parents: take heed of Dr. Wexler's wise words.
Thank you for all your work. Your name and efforts will be a cornerstone to the betterment of education. I only wish my ELA department was familiar with you.
Reading your book flipped a switch for me. While I'm extremely grateful, it's also very frustrating to look at the current state of elementary education with the lights on. Why is my highly literate, extremely curious 6-year old bored at school? Because they're not actually teaching her anything! Why do reading struggles persist in the district where I work, despite lots of literacy instruction? Because we were (a) not utilizing evidence-based word recognition instruction, and (b) not imparting knowledge. Thankfully we're on the path to fix (a), but remedying (b) is still a pipe dream. But the good news is - I'm doing a book study with teachers on your book, and there have already been a handful of administrators who have read it. I have hope.
Keep up the good work, Natalie, and thanks again.
Seems to me we need to reframe the idea of testing reading. If teaching content is teaching reading (assuming students are allowed to read and write about that content as they learn), then let’s test reading/content by asking students to read and write about that content presented in new but closely related texts in creative and analytic ways that go beyond the simple recall of facts.
Mortimer Adler pointed out in 1940 in his "How to Read a Book" that understanding is based on prior knowledge. It was probably noted hundreds of years before that. It should be obvious to anyone who reflects on his or her own personal reading experience. Yet we in education continue to ignore what is obvious.
Natalie, I am so glad you are working to reform the current state of reading instruction. I am retired now, but when I was teaching back in the pre-pandemic world, I praised the merits of your book and articles to every administrator who would listen. But I'm afraid that real reform will have to start at the level of the individual teacher who not only teaches reading but who happens to love it.
Adler defined a reader as someone for whom most information about the world was obtained through printed matter. In my experience, that would not define most administrators. I hope it would define most, if not all, teachers.