Latinos and literacy: The nation’s report card

Author: Ivanhoe Newswire
Published: Updated:

The National Assessment of Educational Progress has been nicknamed the nation’s report card. It’s a measure of knowledge in math, reading, science and writing. What can parents learn from this report card and how can they take proactive steps early on?

Reading, writing and ‘rithmatic. Some schools have no trouble teaching the three “R’s” while other schools struggle. Monica Ruiz works with Hispanic families who have relocated to the United States.

Ruiz detailed, “It’s difficult because of the language barrier. Difficult because of the level of education parents may have coming here.”

Manica Ramos, PhD, is a developmental psychologist at the non-profit research organization Child Trends. Ramos and her colleagues analyzed Latino reading scores by state and district levels over a ten-year period using the National Assessment of Educational Progress Report. The researchers found that among Latinos tested, national reading scores for fourth and eighth grade increased by half a grade level. But some states scored better than others.

“There was a very wide range between the states that were performing at the highest level and the states that were performing at the lowest level, about two grade levels,” Ramos told Ivanhoe.

For example, fourth grade Latino students in Florida, Montana and Virginia scored near the top. Idaho, Minnesota and Alabama, near the bottom. Ramos said the findings suggest policymakers, educators, and parents need to be proactive.

Ramos said, “First, parents- talk, talk, talk! Talk to your children daily. Learning, talking with your children helps them have an ever- growing vocabulary which makes it easier for them to read.”

Ramos and her colleagues say parents should talk to teachers about how their child is doing in reading. Make them your partner when helping your child learn to read and continue their interest in reading.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising and Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

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