Impact Of Early Exposure And Effective Leadership On Reading Skills Development

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Impact of Early Exposure and Effective Leadership on Reading Skills Development

Chapter 1: Introduction

Background of the Study

The development of reading skills serves as the major foundational ability for all school based learning. Without the ability to read, opportunities for academic and occupational success are limited (Reid, 2002). The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development states that the inability to read crushes the excitement and love of learning which most children already possess when they enter school (Lyon, 2002). With regard to the elementary school located in a south-eastern city which poses as the target school for the study, aside from the fact that reading scores have fallen during the years of 2004-2007, the most current data indicate that other reading driven areas have been negatively impacted as a result of the lower reading performance on the part of students (Tabors 2001). This was clearly seen in the courses that were primarily reading driven such as science, social studies and English language arts. Thus, it is clearly seen that not only have the reading performance of the students been negatively impacted, but also the academic subjects in which reading skills at this grade level are crucial to success have seen negative results. However, what is even more alarming is the fact that, upon breaking down the areas of concern in terms of grade level, more than 20% of the children in the lower grades (K through 3) did not meet standards in the 2006-2007 school year. This figure is up from 11.3% in 2004-2005 and 15.6% in 2005-2006 (Bryant 2005). As a result, it would seem that because fewer and fewer students are prepared academically in the lower grades to encounter the challenges that await them as they rise through their elementary school careers, especially in the realm of reading, it makes the reading issue that much more compelling with regard to the primary area of focus in correcting the problem.

Regarding the etiology of the problem, it would seem that the number of students with disabilities counted in determining AYP increased from 25 in 2005-2006 to 31 in 2006-2007, a 24% increase over the prior year. Also, the number of minority students and economically disadvantaged students counted for AYP purposes both increased by 25% as well (GADOE, 2007). Given this shift in demographics, it would seem that herein lies at least part of the problem. In addition, the recent transition to utilizing the Georgia Performance Standards in 2004 as opposed to utilizing the now obsolete Quality Core Curriculum, which was phased out in 2003, may account for the other reason for lower academic performance. Consequently, with the transitions from teaching from a set curriculum to teaching to a standard, students and teachers alike have to readjust their focus and their mindset in an effort to accommodate new approaches and new philosophies about learning.

To add to the demographic challenges that the target school faces, there are economic specific challenges as ...
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