I admire the quote by the teacher and English curriculum developer Sharon Madsen who once said, “Literacy is the ability to demonstrate personal proficiency in speaking, spelling, writing, and reading English plus the ability to teach it to another.”
What if everyone already proficient in English could also teach it? Could we avoid reports like the following?
- Nearly 80 percent of New York City high school graduates need to learn basic reading, writing and math skills before they can enter the City University’s community college system. (Source: CBS Local Media)
- About 23 percent of high school graduates seeking a military job who take the Armed Forces Qualiﬁcation Test (AFQT), which measures Math Knowledge, Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, and Paragraph Comprehension, fail to achieve a qualifying score. (Source: Shut Out of the Military)
- A 2003 assessment found that only 13% of Americans scored as proficient readers. (Source: 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy)
- A 1992 assessment found that only 3% of Americans read at the highest literacy level, level 5, and only 16% read at the next highest literacy level, level 4. (Source: 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey)
For anyone who wants to prepare to teach reading, I recommend stocking your own literacy bookshelf with the following books:
- Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide – Currently $13.60 for paperback and $7.99 for a Kindle edition.
- The Writing Road to Reading by Romalda Bishop Spalding – Currently $18.47 for a paperback.
- A Home Start in Reading by Ruth Beechick – Currently $4.00 for a printed pamphlet.
- A Path for the Exploration of Any Language Leading to Writing and Reading by Muriel I. Dwyer – Currently $7.00 plus shipping for a printed pamphlet.
- The ABCs and All Their Tricks by Margaret M. Bishop – Currently $10.87 for paperback or $15.41 in hardback.
For all of the above, you’ll spend about $55.00 on books, plus shipping. In return, you’ll have access for the rest of your life to some of the best information for establishing fluency in reading and writing.