FAILURE REALLY BE PREVENTED?
Mathes, the Texas Instruments Endowed Chair in Reading Research
and Professor of Education, spoke at
Talk About Reading,” a conference on reading held March
27-28, 2006, at SMU. Professor Mathes is nationally respected
for her work in research in early interventions for struggling
readers. Following are some of the questions she answered
during her presentation.
causes reading failure?
three causes of reading failure – neurological, familial, and
instructional. We know that 50 percent of reading variability
is based on genetic causes. Some children have a genetic
predisposition to be less talented in reading.
We know that
instruction matters. For years we’ve used genetics and family
life as excuses for reading failure. I take no excuses. These
are challenges. It’s time to get past blaming the child or
family and start working on the part we can control.
does teacher instruction play in reading success?
reading is a job for experts. With good core instruction, no
more than seven percent of students would need additional help
students are singled out for reading intervention, we have
learned that instruction and time matter. Don’t abandon
intervention. Research shows many kids respond well after 30
weeks of intervention. Remember, there isn’t just one way to
teach reading. A school district should have a menu of
How can a
school select the best curriculum?
curriculum that has proven effectiveness. Look for a
curriculum that doesn’t try to teach too much in one day. Be
sure that the curriculum provides cumulative practice
activities and integrates previously learned content.
reading failure be prevented?
core instruction and good intervention, we can get the reading
failure rate down to 2 percent or less.
could I learn more about your research?