When I see my little cousins reading a book, I see their eyes are shine with excitement, and they can’t wait to read the book out loud to their parents or to me. As they get older, that excitement in their eyes is gone and I would wonder, why? Then I took this course and found out what the 4th grade slump is. So, what is 4th grade slump? There are many reasons why educators call it the 4th grade slump and there is one simple explanation: when a student or child goes on to the 4th grade and loses interest in reading, its because they are expected to “read to learn”, not “learn to read.
Basicaly, when someone hears about the 4th grade slump, they think that it’s just children who loses their interest in reading. It’s not just that though, it’s more than just reading. When a child loses interest in reading, then the willingness to want to learn more will be declined and they will suffer in later school grades. In my articles, none of them mentioned about how video games can be a helpful tool to children’s learning abilities.
In James Paul Gee “good video games + good learning”, he mentioned how video games can be helpful and can develop children’s problem solving abilities in certain games or even in card games like Yu-Gi-Oh, by using complex content and using specialist language. Other than video games, the 4th grade slump affects poor children as well. In “Poor children’s fourth-grade slump” by Jeanne S. Chall and Vicki A. Jacobs, they did a study on poor children and normative population on six subjects, and they found out that poor children do get affected by the 4th grade slump, because of the low class.
In another article “What is the fourth-grade slump” by Pam Withers, she mentioned about how fake reading could affect your child and decline your child’s learning abilities and self-confidence in academics. Also in “fourth-grade slump” by Karen Springen, she talked about how “No children left behind” has created an intense push to teaching kids the fundamental of reading and a national report card can show you the dramatic decline in children’s report card from 3rd grade to 4th grade.
In James Paul Gee’s book “Good Video Games + Good Learning”, he talked about how video games and card games like Yu-Gi-Oh can be helpful tools to improve childrens’ learning abilities and problem solving. Also, he talked about vernacular style and specialist style of language. In Gee’s book, he had a very useful example of Yu-Gi-Oh cards. He describes that Yu-Gi-Oh cards involves quit complex rules and many strategies. The example he showed in book had(name of the card, card-type, attribute, type, ATK, DEF, description, and rarity.
He also mentioned the words in Yu-Gi-Oh card has some difficult text that would come up in middle school or even in high school. Another thing Gee talked about was, “vernacular style” as everyday language and “specialist style” as technical language. Gee also had an example, where a mother and her four year old son were having a conversation about dinosaurs, fossils, and eggs. Even though dinosaurs, fossils, and eggs could be used as in everyday language it’s also mixed with specialist language, and the mother is helping the son understand the difference.
The most interesting subject that caught my attention was how Gee mentioned that playing games could help children’s learning abilities. Gee sates, “Good video games don’t just support situated meaning for the writing material associated with them in manuals and on fan web sites. ” Video games just don’t help you on your verbal meaning but situated meaning make specialist language lucid, easy and useful. In the article “ Poor children’s fourth-grade slump”, authors Jeanne S. Chall and Vicki A. Jacobs talks about the advantages and disadvantages between a poor family and normative family.
Families from financially and economically advantaged families tends to score significantly higher than the poor families and that goes to all ages. Also, as the age increases, the gap between the scores become greater. The author mentioned there are six stages for changes in reading development. Stage 1 (pre reading) to stage 6 (the most skilled, mature reading and knowledge from their won reading). The author describes that stage 1 and 2 are very easy grade, and 1 through 3 can be characterized as the time of “learning to read.
Where readings are interesting, learning to read is fun, and alphabetic is acquired. Also in stage 1 and 2 the reading text that is used in everyday language are already within their abilities. Stage 3 to 5 can be characterized as the “reading to learning. ” That’s when reading can be boring or difficult, because reading becomes more complex, challenging and there are new words. In stage 3 children are expected to learn to read with new words and complex content. In order to understand the reading, the child will require an expansion of vocabulary, knowledge, thinking critically, and broadly.
Most importantly, if the child cannot make a good transition from stage 2 to 3, then the child will have a difficult time improving their academics and that will lead to a significant drop on the success of the child. Now that we talked about the six stages, we have a better understanding about the 4th grade slump; next, we will talk about the study on poor children. In the study of the authors, they picked 10 students from second grade, 10 students from fourth grade, and another 10 students from sixth grade, so a total of 30 students.
The student’s low-class was determined by the eligibility for a free lunch. They tested those students on the 6 subjects: word recognition, word analysis, oral reading, word meaning, reading comprehension, and spelling. The interesting findings were that low-class students in second or third grade students did just well as the normative population did in all 6 subjects. As expected from the theory low-class student’s score started to go down in the fourth grade. Through out grade 4 to 7, low-class students score were decelerate, as they get older.
In the 4th grade, low-class students were one year behind grade norms, and by the 7th grade low-class students were two years behind grade norm. Other findings were that the first and strongest subject to decelerate was word meaning and the slowest subject to decelerate were reading comprehension and oral reading. In this study, it clearly shows that the low-class students tend to get affected by the 4th grade slump more. On the second article, “What is the fourth-grade slump? ” by Pam Withers, she brought up an interesting subject.
First, Withers states, “forty percent of kids between the ages of five and eight read every day, but by fourth grade, that nose-dives to 29%, according to a 2006 Scholastic Inc. survey. ” These numbers are very helpful to the readers who are trying to understand what is the 4th grade slump. Second, Withers mentioned that smart reluctant readers in fourth grade learn to “fake read,” and talked about two different types of fake readers. There are “resistive readers” and “word readers. Resistive readers can read but choose not to read and word readers can read out loud but they just haven’t learned what they are reading yet.
Also, Wither said that fake readers survive by listening to the teacher, copying others work, laying low in the class room, and most importantly they lose self-confidence that leads to disadvantage for life. In the last article “Fourth-grade slump” by Karen Springer, she mostly talked about the causes of the 4th grade slump and the “no child left behind” program. Springer states, “No child left behind has created an intense push to teach kids the fundamental of reading. Also, some say fourth graders get distracted by videogames, organized sports, and after-school activities.
To show that fourth grade is a turning point for most children, Springer states “nation’s report card, American kid’s reading scores are improving in the early years of elementary school. After fourth grade, test scores are flat. ” Springer thinks that maturity could be the cause of the 4th grade slump. Third grade to fourth grade they learn by “learning to read” then transition to “reading to learn”, which mean the books will get difficult.
In 3rd grade they were reading Dot and Spot but in 4th grade they read about solar system. In Ridge Central, Bollinger are trying to use a slump-busting strategy, by awarding kids who read more outside of school, six hundred minutes of reading equals a free trip to a local amusement park. In summary, the 4th grade slump has many causes and educators have gone a long way to try and fix this problem. Meanwhile, educators are trying their best to study more in depth of the 4th grade slump and trying to teach kids that reading books are important and will help you in your future.
Courtney from Study Moose
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