Saturday, March 7, 2009

making the grade

-23It was report card time this week.
Now, we were pretty excited anyway - my kids like school and do well in it, but we're even more thrilled this year.  Nova Scotia has been steadily improving their elementary reading program for the last few years, and the first provincial literacy assessment test results are in.
And wow, are these kids smart.

84% of the English program Grade 3 students met expectations for expository writing when they wrote the Early Language Literacy Assessment last September, compared with only 66 per cent the year before.
That's like getting a B when you've had nothing but a string of Ds.
Or having long, lovely paragraphs when you're used to a few stuttering sentences.
The beginnings of story-telling are difficult, elusive things to teach. My son's teachers are working hard, using all the props and rewards they can think of, testing different approaches, deciding how to make their curriculum resonate best with the current crop of youngsters. My daughter has been in a pre-school program where they've been starting the little ones tracing letters and using colorful pictures to explain story concepts once they hit three. Results? She loves to make letters. Recite them. Pick them out of books. It's thrilling.
Much of the latest test-scores are credited to a new and more intensive regimen. Elementary students in the province receive at least ninety minutes of language arts learning every day, while students in Grades 7 and 8 get at least an hour of daily instruction in the subject. This, of course, has required both years of study and a large money infusion into our school systems. The fear now is that now that test scores are up, funding will taper off in favor of the next big 'problem area', something we as parents can't allow to happen.
Because whatever they're doing - it works. Cass's report card (and subsequent parent-teacher conference) couldn't be better. He's interested in things, and his teachers are encouraging him to take that interest and delve deeper into his current faves, and then write about them. (And all hail that poor teacher - you have to know she's getting 'Transformer' and 'Star Wars' stories  - and (shudder) Dora -
But whatever it takes. Whatever it takes to raise someone who loves language and words and telling stories.
Who knows? He might start a blog one day......

This is an original Canada Moms Blog Post  -  Jessica babbles on about everything at daysgoby

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