With the advent of intelligence tests in the 1920’s many studies demonstrated that these students lacked intelligence when compared with middle-class children. Test showed that as these students progressed through the grades, they fell farther and farther behind their counterparts. Tests comparing performance of urban and rural children gave the advantage to the wealth of knowledge, experience, and sophistication of the middle-class White, English-speaking child. Unfortunately, those who were from urban areas who lacked adequate skills were most likely to fall into the low socio-economic classes and lack of enrichment and experience that would make school learning meaningful. Most important, culture differences would be recognized as having a major effect on life values of the student and on what is expected of him or her in school.
On the last rung of the educational ladder in school are the Black and Hispanic students who have a “writing phobia.” Some students respond orally to reading questions with much confidence and without much difficulty. It is the written expression portion which brings about the lack of self-confidence in this group. Many students have the confidence to know they can read and give short answers to questions; however, many of them seldom undertake the challenge of longer and more complicated sentences. My students not only have problems expressing their thoughts in writing; they also appear, either consciously or unconsciously, not to incorporate skills they already know, such as sentence structure, punctuation, and good basic grammar. Many do not see or care about the invisible thread weaving reading and writing together. Too many seem oblivious to the learning situation and leave learned skills in their respective classrooms. They compartmentalize their learning, and, for example, don’t see how social studies relates in writing. My task, as their teacher, is to enlighten the students and re-inforce the skills which are to be utilized daily in all class work.
The Chapter One Remedial Reading Course teaches the student at a slower pace than the student in the conventional reading class. We teach phonics, word attack skills, inference, sequential order, main idea, and comprehension, to name a few skills. In my class, I use
as my text. It is an eighth grade text written on a sixth grade level. This level enables the students to deal with a high interest low-vocabulary type reading. All the skills which are on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills are covered in our reading series.