Reading Study: 62% of Del. 4th Graders Below Proficiency - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Study: 62% of Del. 4th Graders Below Reading Proficiency


SELBYVILLE, Del.- A new national study by the group Kids Count shows that 62 percent of fourth grade Delaware students are not reading at grade level.

That is slightly below the national average of 66 percent. The number comes from The National Assessment of Educational Progress which is given to all fourth and eighth graders across the country.

The study suggests that in Maryland, 55 percent of fourth graders are below proficiency in reading and in Virginia the number stands at 57 percent.

Heather McCabe, who is a mom of two in Selbyville, said she takes pride knowing that her fourth grade daughter is not only a fast reader but also understands what she is learning. 

"From the time my kids were little it was always important to put the emphasis on reading to go to the library to do the summer reading programs, talk and listen and to sit down at dinner and have those good conversations," McCabe said.

McCabe is also an educator with the Indian River School District. So when she heard about the study, she wasn't completely alarmed . 

"I know in the district, kids are making such great gains that a statistic like that is not bothersome to me," McCabe said,  "because that really discounts so much of what kids do every day in our classrooms." 

Laura Schneider, who is the principal at Phillips C. Showell Elementary School, said she wants people to understand that this percentage is just a number; a number derived from the result of a national reading test. 

Schneider said that scores from the test are never even revealed to school districts in many states including Delaware. However she added, educators in the First State are not ignoring that statistic. 

"Just because we taught the standard we don't expect that they mastered it or learned it," Schneider said. "We go back and we access it over and over to make sure they got it and if they didn't get it we make sure that we re-teach it along with all the new standard they have to learn as well." 

IRSD Superintendent Susan Bunting said she agrees with the study which revealed that socio-economic status plays a major role in creating some of those reading gaps. 

"The demographics make a difference as far as your poverty level," Bunting said, "and your ability of students to speak English when they start the system all of those things need to be taken into account." 

The report also says that low achievement level is an issue which can't be solved by schools alone, meaning parents must be their child's first teachers. 

However, some educators with the district said that no matter what the factors, it is their job to continue their ongoing efforts to help increase student learning with the highest standards possible. 


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