E. D. Hirsch, Jr., author of the best-selling Cultural Literacy and our most insightful thinker on what schools teach, offers an urgent solution to the shocking national decline in children's reading ability.
How can it be, Hirsch asks, that American students score so low among developed nations in international comparisons -- and that they perform worse the longer they stay in school?
Drawing on arresting classroom scenes, the history of ideas, and current understanding of the patterns of intellectual growth, Hirsch builds the powerful case that, while our schools excel at teaching the mechanics of reading, they fail virtually all American children -- poor and middle class, in public and private schools -- because of their inability to convey the more complex and essential skills of reading comprehension. Hirsch brilliantly reasons that literacy depends less on the formalistic reading "skills" taught in virtually every school across America and more on exposure to content-rich, appealing books.
His argument is compelling, for it - gives parents specific tools for enhancing their child's ability to read with comprehension; - shows how No Child Left Behind and SATs measure reading comprehension -- a knowledge-based skill not successfully taught in our schools; - tackles the weaknesses of specific state-by-state curricula - explains in detail how American schools can serve as the strongest possible antidote to poverty and to our frustrating race-based achievement gap
A road map for all thinking parents, teachers, and citizens, The Knowledge Deficit shows exactly how we can convert all American schools into places where the skill of reading comprehension is effectively imparted -- and why this goal is ever more essential to the democratic ideal.
About E. D. Hirsch Professor of English
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Published April 24, 2006
by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Education & Reference.