Reading Comprehension

April 25, 2006 1 min read

What will it take to improve test scores in reading? And when does reading improvement matter most? In this Education Week Commentary, E.D. Hirsch argues that the current emphasis on skills-oriented comprehension strategies in the lower grades is misguided.

According to Hirsch, imparting knowledge of the concepts and ideas behind language will ultimately help students to achieve reading proficiency in later grades. Rather than spending time on mechanical reading drills with irrelevant subject matter, Hirsch recommends a more systematic, knowledge-based approach. Making students familiar with a wide range of concepts will allow them to use context and general understanding to decipher words in the later grades when, Hirsch argues, reading scores matter most.

What do you think? Would a commitment to building general knowledge, rather than the current emphasis on teaching reading-comprehension strategies, lead to better reading scores in later grades?

A version of this news article first appeared in the TalkBack blog.