Under the federal act, every child is supposed to test on grade level in reading and math by 2014. "That can't happen," said Morton. "You have too many variables and you have too many scenarios, and everybody knows that would never happen."
He hesitated the way he had been specifically trained not to. Then he hit, "3."
It didn't take long before a supervisor was in his face. He leaned down with a printout of the King essay.
"This really isn't a 3-style paper," the supervisor said.
Puthoff pointed out the smart use of examples and the exceptional prose. The supervisor just shook his head and pointed out how short the paragraphs were.
"You know, it's more of a 2," the supervisor repeated. "Not enough elaboration."
Can’t you teach kids how to reason about texts, and thereby wring the meaning out of it even if they don’t have the right prior knowledge?
To some extent, but it doesn’t seem to help as much as you might expect. For one thing, this sort of reasoning is difficult mental work. For another, it’s slow, and so it breaks up the flow of the story you’re reading, and the fun of the story is lost. Hoping that students without relevant prior knowledge will reason their way through a story is a recipe for creating a student who doesn’t like reading.
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