Why do you think that students experience the ‘fourth grade slump’, where reading and writing become more increasingly difficult?
We will write a custom Essay on Fourth-Grade Slump in Reading and Writing specifically for you
301 certified writers online
There are a number of factors that trigger the ‘fourth grade slump’ among young learners. Firstly, the extensive focus is usually given to reading lessons when children are still in their early years of learning. A lot of reading is done in the primary years but neglected as children progress into the later years. This is because of the assumption that students don’t need that practice anymore. The ability to read and understand is also given a lot of emphasis during the early years in school (Goodwin, 2011). Although the acquisitions of reading and writing skills are prudent in the intellectual development of elementary learners, that curriculum requirements in the subsequent grades tend to distort the earlier gains made in reading. Fourth graders are supposed to read and understand the assigned texts. Besides, fourth graders learn a completely new perspective towards reading because texts are evaluated after the reading process. For example, learners in the fourth grade should derive meaning from long texts. Besides, creative thinking skills are a strenuous task for most fourth graders. Teachers also share information in various texts with learners in different ways when they are fourth graders.
Although learners have ample opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new curriculum in the fourth grade, other forms of literacy activities tend to consume a lot of their regular learning time (Stockard, 2010). For example, co-curricular activities such as games and sporting activities distract learners from regular reading and writing lessons. In addition, reading digital texts that do not meet the threshold for learning outcomes also distract most fourth graders. It is unfortunate to note that children who are used to reading digital texts may find it boring to read the prescribed readings in school. Moreover, digital reading may be more appealing, purposeful, and dynamic for fourth graders. As a result, most of them may eventually perform below average in reading and writing classes.
Reading and writing slumps are also evident among learners from low and middle-income households. Learners below fourth grade are less aware or informed of the prevailing family strife. However, increased awareness of the immediate family environment is sometimes a major setback for learners in fourth grade (Hirsch, 2003). Children at this learning stage can be easily be perturbed by family struggles. Finally, such learners can significantly flop in both reading and writing.
Fourth graders are taken through deep narrative text reading when most of them are not fully prepared to read and retain mass content. For instance, long descriptive texts that demand interpretation of meanings can remarkably confuse most fourth graders. In most instances, fourth-graders largely rely on their instructors for interpretation and analysis of texts before they can finally follow suit (Help for Struggling, Reluctant Readers, 2010). However, learners who have better retention abilities may easily excel in fourth grade.
Stockard, (2010) argues that fourth graders are hardly prepared to handle informational text in previous grades. Unfortunately, informational texts can be cumbersome for young learners to read and comprehend especially when there is a need to make use of the logical application.
The ‘fourth grade slump’ is also made worse when the content-specific vocabulary is introduced to learners immediately after enrolling as fourth graders. The learning objectives contained in the curriculum may not be very accurate on the timing of certain vocabularies. Hence, such challenging content may distort and ‘slow down’ the flow of reading and writing for most fourth graders (Flint, Kitson, Lowe & Shaw, 2013).
Flint, A. S., Kitson, L., Lowe, K., & Shaw, K. (2013). Literacy in Australia: Pedagogies for Engagement. Victoria: John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd.
Goodwin, B. (2011). Research Says… / Don’t Wait Until 4th Grade to Address the Slump. Web.
Help for Struggling, Reluctant Readers (2010). Web.
Hirsch, E. D. (2003). Reading comprehension requires knowledge—of words and the world. American Educator, 27(1), 10–48.
Stockard, J. (2010). Promoting reading achievement and countering the “fourth-grade slump”: The impact of Direct Instruction on reading achievement in fifth grade. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 15(3) 218–240.