According to the Nation’s Report Card (NAEP), just one-third of U.S. 4th and 8th grade students can read proficiently. Among those eligible for subsidized lunches, it’s just one in five. These abysmal levels of literacy have plagued American education—and efforts to reform it—for decades. Interventions aimed at improving these outcomes—like installing extended “literacy blocks” in elementary classrooms—aren’t helping much.
But there’s another way to boost literacy: A growing body of research shows that increased knowledge and vocabulary is key to improving reading comprehension, and that—contrary to intuition—an increased focus on reading skills and strategies may even contribute to America’s lackluster reading outcomes.
In their latest study, Social Studies Instruction and Reading Comprehension: Evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Fordham’s associate director of research, Adam Tyner, and early childhood researcher Sarah Kabourek bring forth groundbreaking evidence on the issue. They find that increased instructional time for social studies—but not for English Language Arts—is associated with improved reading ability.
Join us and the WW Foundation for an exciting discussion about this first-of-its-kind study and its important implications for policy and practice. Moderated by Fordham president emeritus Chester E. Finn, Jr., this event will feature the following experts:
E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Core Knowledge Foundation
Adam Tyner, Ph.D., Fordham Institute
Raj Vinnakota, WW Foundation
Stefanie Wager, National Council for the Social Studies
Devin James, Center City Public Charter School