Thursday, May 15, 2014

Reading habits report

This research brief that offers a big-picture perspective on children’s reading habits in the United States and how they may have changed during the technological revolution of recent decades. How youth read and write has expanded because of technology. Though the report finds that reading is still a big part of many children’s lives—and reading scores among young children have improved steadily—achievement among older teens has stagnated, and many children don’t read well or often. Among the report’s key findings:
Reading rates have dropped precipitously among adolescents.
A significant reading achievement gap persists between white, black, and Hispanic children.
There is also a gender gap in reading time and achievement.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Popular reading study

In reviewing what Accelerated Reader books that children are reading, a national study found that:
The number of books that students read peaks in second grade, at an average of 55.
The number of words students read in books peaks in sixth grade, when they average 16.2 books containing a total of 419,121 words.
In 12th grade, students are averaging 5.2 books a year, containing 304,252 words.
The gender gap in the average number of words students read peaks in eighth grade – with boys reading 340,515 words and girls reading 446,771.
The Common Core State Standards, adopted by the majority of states in recent years, are encouraging more reading of informational texts. But the balance of books kids read is still heavily in favor of fiction. Fifteen percent of books read by 12th-graders are nonfiction. For earlier grades, books about animals and various historical figures are the most popular.

Renaissance Learning. (2014). What kids are reading. Wisconsin Rapids, WI: Author.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Reading/writing software impact study

Campuzano et. al. investigated whether software for reading and math had any effect of achievement, as measured by standardized tests. The reading software was used in grades 1 and 4, and the math software was used in grade 6 (pre-algebra) and for algebra (mostly grade 9). The study lasted one year, and was replicated the second year.  The first year, 16 softward products were tested in 33 districts, 132 schools, and with 428 teachers in either classes that used the softeware or comparison classes that did not.. The second year included 10 products, 23 districts, 77 schools, 176 teachers, and 3,280 students. A variety of well-known standardized tests were used. For reading, the SAT-9 was used in grade 1 and the SAT-10 in grade 4 for reading and grade 6 for math.  The study used the Educational Testing Services’  End-of-Course Algebra Assessment for grade 9 (algebra I). Other tests were also used to confirm that the groups had similar levels of competence in reading and math beore the treatment began.There was no significant difference between test scores of students who used the software and those who did not at the end of the first year. 
Campuzano, L., Dynarski, M., Agodini, R., and Rall, K. (2009). Effectiveness of Reading and Mathematics Software Products: Findings From Two Student Cohorts—Executive Summary (NCEE 2009-4042). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
Thanks to Stephen Krashen for this summary.