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Re: Middle School Physical Science Texts

Just to add a little more confusion: An earlier message stated that a quick
analysis showed that the texts were written at about a 6th grade reading
level. The problem seems to be that Middle School students don't read at
the 6th grade level (I'm not sure my college students do). At my wife's
middle school (good mix of social/economic strata) 65% of the 8th graders
test at 3rd grade or below in their reading skills. Many of us at the
college level have recognized a degeneration of reading skills over the
years. IMO, we won't fix the problems in science/math/social studies/etc.
until we fix the problems in reading, and part of the problem there is that
to learn to read, one _must_ read. With so much competition for young
people's time (TV, video games, sports, other organized activities, etc.)
there is little time for them to sit down and read. Reading for
comprehension--not skimming and then doing a search for key words to answer
fill-in questions--must become a high priority in our schools. Science and
all the rest can then flow from that.


Richard W. Tarara
Professor of Physics
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556

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