Reading Ability and the Postsecondary World

Through our professional development sessions we have the opportunity to work with teachers all over the U.S.  Many high school educators have shared with us the disturbing belief commonly held by many of their students that reading is only a demand of an academic career.  Many students mistakenly believe that many career clusters and even basic citizenship demands are devoid of any significant reading demands.  A number of studies have shown this claim to be false.  The reading demands of the post-secondary world continue to rise across most career clusters and academic pursuits.

Here’s a little more evidence that even basic citizenship demands – like the ability to understand the President’s speech – require increased comprehension ability:

President Obama’s speech on the gulf oil disaster may have gone over the heads of many in his audience, according to an analysis of the 18-minute talk released Wednesday.

Tuesday’s night speech from the Oval Office of the White House was written to a 9.8 grade level, said Paul J.J. Payack, president of Global Language Monitor.  The Austin, Texas-based company analyzes and catalogues trends in word usage and word choice and their impact on culture.

A 9.8 grade level is already fairly low.  If even listening to the Presdient’s primetime address requires adequate facility with words and sentences, think how much more important reading comprehension is across all spheres of life.

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