kitchen table math, the sequel: 2/8/15 - 2/15/15

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Debbie Stier's 28-day critical reading intensive

This is amazing.

Some of you may remember our discussing why charter schools do so much better raising math scores than reading scores. (Be sure to read the comments thread.)

Ever since my summer at Morningside Academy, I've suspected that, where reading comprehension is concerned, pretty much everyone is on the wrong track. (Everyone but palisadesk, of course.)

More to the point, I don't really buy the argument that good reading comprehension, or good scores on reading comprehension tests, take years and years to develop because good reading scores are a matter of background knowledge that takes years and years to develop.

Having now taught freshman composition for a few years, and having used as many Morningside techniques as I've been able to, my sense is that struggling readers can improve pretty quickly.

But that's just an impression. I don't have before-and-after scores.

Then there's the SAT, where math scores are widely perceived to be moveable, but reading scores are not. Certainly not quickly.

So guess what?

A month ago Debbie finally took the plunge and created a 28-day "intensive"* course in SAT-type reading ---- and it works!

Students are raising their scores significantly in 28 days.

It's incredible. I thought it would work, and Debbie thought it would work, but then again .... 28 days? That's not a long time, 28 days. I don't think I'm putting words in Debbie's mouth when I say that while we both thought it would work, we were also harboring a sliver of doubt.

But the first batch of scores have come out, and the kids are doing great!

It's incredibly exciting.

If I still had a teenager at home, I would definitely sign him up. (Maybe Andrew, once we get through Katie Beal's GrammarTrainer ---- boy, I would love that ---)

28-day critical reading intensive

* I love "intensive"! I would never have thought of using that word myself & nor would Debbie -- a marketing person told her to call what she was doing "intensive." Brilliant. "28-day intensive" makes me want to take the course.