ABC’s by Halloween for all kindergarteners

Should All Kindergartners Know Their Letters by Halloween? asks Peter DeWitt in Education Week. “Even children from high-poverty and limited literacy homes” can do it, if properly taught, says Dick Allington, a University of Tennessee education professor.

What struggling readers need is more and better reading instruction not a different sort of reading lesson. In my view schools need to adopt a curriculum framework that everyone will use with all students. This includes remedial, special education and ELL teachers.

Learning disabilities are a myth, Allington believes.

I think what we have learned in the past two decades is that there are some kids teachers give up on and then largely ignore. These kids get labeled LD. So for a total of how many students have an actual disability, I’ll go with 3%. That pretty much covers all the severe disabilities (blindness, deafness, severe mental impairment, etc.).

Here’s Allington’s take on effective reading instruction.

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  1. Crimson Wife says:

    “Classic” autism and mental retardation together constitute about 2% of the student population so we’re saying the the total number for all other serious disabilities combined is only 1%? I find that hard to believe.

    I absolutely believe that certain LD’s are overdiagnosed, especially AD(H)D. Rich parents often push for a diagnosis in order to gain an unfair advantage on the SAT’s, and poor parents often push for a diagnosis in order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

    However, I’d say the rate of legitimate serious LD’s is probably at least double or even triple Allington’s figure.