Re: The Link Between Reading Level and Dropout Rates

Re: New York Times: The Link Between Reading Level and Dropout Rates 3-19-2012

“Children who aren’t reading proficiently by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school, and according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 34 percent of America’s fourth graders read at grade level.”

It’s always good to see more attention placed on the relationship between reading difficulties and school success but this piece, like most, fails to make the most important connection.



The reason reading proficiency has such a powerful correlation with school outcomes (and most social pathologies) is just not the absence of the ability to read, it’s the collateral damage of prolonged difficulty with learning to read – the MIND-SHAME. Children who experience prolonged difficulty with learning to read become ashamed of their minds.  As they do their emotional intelligence misorients their learning – instead of learning to read they are learning to avoid the shame they feel for reading so poorly.  This becomes a downward spiral. Most post 4th graders who struggle with learning to read are struggling with their own (unconscious) emotional reaction (shame) and it undermines their cognitive-linguistic ability to learn to read.

Reading is a code instructed and informed simulated language experience. Learning to read involves artificial confusion. We are still in the stone age of understanding learning to read and our ignorance of the ‘code’ and the ‘challenges involved in learning to read it’ is the reason (not the kids) for the relationship between reading scores and drop out rates.

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