Tulsa Third Graders Being Tested On More Than Just Reading

Wednesday, May 21st 2014, 10:33 pm
By: News On 6

If your third grader is reading chapter books before bed, that's great, but it's not just reading kids are being tested on.

Sentences from a third grade reading test are longer and more complex than those on a first grade test, and the state says third graders who should be reading at the third grade level are actually reading closer to the first grade level.

5/21/2014 Related Story: Tulsa Teacher Fears Promoting 'Low Readers' Sets Kids Up To Fail

Cindy Snodgrass, the director of Huntington Learning Center in Broken Arrow, showed us reading levels for first, second, third and fourth grade.

"The bar is raised significantly going into fourth, and those students will struggle and may even fail that fourth grade if they are not reading at grade level," Snodgrass said.

She said by third grade students aren't just reading, they're identifying the story's main idea, cause and effect, inferences and vocabulary words.

"Most of the questions are designed specifically to ask for main idea," Snodgrass said.

For example, the third grade test asks what is the story mostly about, while the first grade test asks, what did Sam see on Dora's table.

By the time you get to fourth grade, questions look like this, "According to the passage, what country began having children's birthday parties first?"

"For some children, they're surviving every year, but it's a struggle. Eventually they reach a point where they can't go any further with the skills they have in place," said Snodgrass.

Mom, April Sailsbury, said third grade is a pivotal year, and Oklahoma kids need to be better readers.

"Do I think holding them back is the answer, I don't know. But I also don't know if I think pushing them forward without being able to read is a great idea either," she said.

Sailsbury also works for the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce. She said the third grade problem becomes a workforce problem as the kids get older.

Huntington Learning Center is also working with a number of adults who never got fundamental skills, like reading, and are struggling to succeed.