The Journal Gazette
 
 
Thursday, July 22, 2021 1:00 am

Letters

Reading is fundamental to all students' pursuits

ILearn results are in, and the news is bleak. Fewer than half of Indiana's third graders are proficient readers. “Proficient” does not mean mastery, by the way. It means they can, with work, read grade-level material.

As a retired English teacher, I was wondering just what these students had to do to measure “proficient.” So, I checked out sample questions. The 40 or so I looked at require the student to read short selections and answer; they need to track comprehension and content; they need familiarity with some basic terms, such as setting, main character and paragraph.

Isn't it about time that all the smart folks in education get aggressive? Teach them to read.

We used to say in hushed horror: We should not teach to the test

Why?

“It stifles creative thinking.” Let them fly creatively after they learn how to read.

“There's so much more than just this.” But there is this. Teach them how to read.

“Some kids are bad test takers.” Then, practice taking tests. Practice will help them.

“Some kids are (sleepy, hungry, disabled, absent).” Stop making excuses. Address and practice taking tests, as you teach them to read.

“Kids need to have some fun. They like science experiences/hands on/PE/music and art.” All good. In fact, all very important to a well-rounded, educated person who can explore these after he learns how to read.

Oh yeah. The test-taking tips: Get a good night's sleep; eat a good breakfast; be on time; suck on a peppermint. None of this makes much difference if they can't read.

Any student with average intelligence can learn how to read. How about we train our efforts in that direction?

Lynne Bolinger

Winona Lake

All in the numbers

National reports indicate that 99% of patients currently hospitalized for COVID-19 have not been vaccinated.

Nuffsaid.

William Dotterweich

Fort Wayne

SACS board caves to misinformation

It was announced July 13 that Southwest Allen County Schools' return-to-school plan will not require masks for any students and will not offer distance-learning options. This is apparently in response to the politically driven and unscientific push by misguided parents to free their children from the oppression of masks at the expense of the health of other students.

The anti-mask/anti-vax movement was permitted to present a slide show full of dubiously sourced disinformation with no meaningful rebuttal from pro-science speakers.

The school board's acquiescence to these misguided forces means that families who have taken great caution and made great sacrifices to protect their children – including those at higher risk – from a COVID-19 infection will have to either throw all of that away and send their kids into an unsafe environment, or they will have to find another place to educate their kids.

All of this with the finish line (in the form of vaccines for younger kids) so very close.

I am disappointed and ashamed of my neighbors and the members of the school board, whose first concern should be what is best for our children, not what is most politically palatable.

SHAWN McCARTHY

Fort Wayne


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