Poverty vs. 3rd-grade reading

While high-poverty schools struggle to teach reading, some schools do much better than others, according to Education Consumers Foundation’s school performance graphs, which show third-grade reading scores correlated with the percentage of low-income students — and, in some cases, minority students. (Choose a state or city and click on “all schools” to get the scatter graph.)

“The early use of intensive, skill-focused reading instruction could enable the vast majority of at-risk children to reach grade level by third grade, argues ECF, which recommends Direct Instruction.


About Joanne


  1. Other methods may work with MOST of the middle-class children, whose parents are more likely to have had books around, and read from them. But the lower-income children are best served by a structured program of Direct Instruction. Particularly in math and reading, which form the foundation for later school success.

  2. Interesting cluster of high poverty, high achieving schools in East St. Louis school district. Does anyone know what methods they use?

  3. I think schools are going to have to rethink their curriculum and teaching methods. I sometimes wonder if they focus on “more of the same” instead of interesting and more innovative. The only difference I see between education 30 years ago and now is that they get a lot more homework. These kids play high tech video games that are very stimulating and then go to school and feel bored. We really need more technology in the classroom.

  4. The local CTO of the school district here had a spot on the radio this morning in which she wants more personally owned technology brought into the classroom…IMO, bringing more technostuff into the classroom isn’t going to solve problems, esp. if students do not understand the basics in order to use the technology effectively 🙁