Credit: Randall Benton / EdSource
Student Armando Garcia 9 prepares to read during a reading class at Ethel I. Baker Elementary School in Sacramento in June 2022.

California is part of a national debate over how to teach reading fueled by exhaustive brain research into the science of reading that suggests that most children must be explicitly taught how to connect sounds with letters.

The philosophical tug-of-war pits teaching phonics, how to sound it out, and teaching meaning, how to think it through. The stakes are very high: research shows that students who aren’t reading at grade level by the third grade will struggle to catch up throughout their education career.

Only 48.5% of third-graders tested at grade level or above in English language arts during the 2018-19 school year, before the pandemic stalled all learning. In 2022 only 42.17 of third-graders tested at grade level.

In the past year, EdSource has taken a deep dive into the complex debate about how to solve California’s literacy crisis.

To get more reports like this one, click here to sign up for EdSource’s no-cost daily email on latest developments in education.

Share Article


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * *

Comments Policy

We welcome your comments. All comments are moderated for civility, relevance and other considerations. Click here for EdSource's Comments Policy.