Let’s talk a little about the dropout situation in our schools.

Research has found a link between dropouts and students who do not read enough. According to the New York Times of March 19th 2012 children who aren’t reading proficiently by fourth grade are four times likely to drop out from high school.  The same article cites National Assessment of Educational Progress, indicating that only 34 percent of America’s fourth graders read at grade level. Hence, it is our duty to equip our students with tools that would help them to become more proficient in their reading, at or above grade level.

I applaud one of Philadelphia’s charter school which is taking advantage of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) and is seeing results.  These children read profusely and apply what they read. Their system is set up in such a way that from as early as the fourth grade these students are motivated to think about the college they will attend and when.  For instance, KIPP’s fifth graders of 2012 proclaimed that they are the class of 2019.  This is not just a reference to the time of High School Graduation, but the year of entering college.   It will be difficult for such a student to drop out.

A notable feature of the KIPP Schools is their use of the Lexile Framework for reading. Research also indicates that progress in reading is directly connected to lexile measures and students using this method are excelling beyond their colleagues who are not associated with the lexile system.  When used, lexile measures help a reader find books and articles at an appropriate level of difficulty and determine how well that reader will likely comprehend a text.

According to Lexile Framework For Reading , “Lexile Measures Help Readers Grow, and Help Parents and Teachers Know” how students are progressing and what they need to do to boost their reading. When lexile measure is applied, the child would best be able to read a book that is not too difficult or not too simple. However, there is still a large percentage of our children who do not read or read enough – resulting in one of the many reasons students drop out. Research further shows that nearly all children will experience some loss in reading ability over summer break, mainly due to a lack of practice. Children of indigent families are especially vulnerable because they may go home to low-literacy environments or environments where parents cannot afford to place them in summer camps. By connecting young people with books many of them can avoid this backslide and continue building their reading skills outside of the classroom.

This is where my book – I Did It . . . You Can, Too! fits in. I was forced to re-evaluate my life as I was a parent without a degree.   I was one of those women who did not complete my education and was forced to do menial jobs to support my family. My friends advised me to return to school but I dismissed their advice believing I was too old.  Eventually, I got tired of not being able to make ends meet and realized I needed to re-evaluate my life. At age 44, I went back to school and have no regrets.

While in school I came upon information about the dropout situation and saw a number of my peers who started with me but then dropped out. After graduation I decided to channel my efforts to helping dropouts and potential dropouts return to school and complete their education.

If you have already completed your education, or you are actively pursuing that goal, “I Did It . . You Can, Too!” may not be for you, but you could certainly use it as an awesome “anytime” gift to encourage someone you care about to be inspired to finish their education or return to school.

This book is available at amazon kindle:

Or, by clicking here.

Or, visit www.fionaharewood.com for your hard copy.

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