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"Why Johnny Can't Write" Literacy Presentation

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Hannah Scherer

on 12 April 2014

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Transcript of "Why Johnny Can't Write" Literacy Presentation

"Why Johnny Can't Write" was a Newsweek article from 1975.
This article was written in response to the rapid and dramatic decrease in literary test scores and skills in the U.S.
Quick Summary
What Builds Literacy?
Tid-Bits from the Article
"At the University of California at Berkeley, where students come from the top 12.5 per cent of high-school graduates, nearly half of last year's [1974] freshmen demonstrated writing skills so poor that they were forced to enroll in remedial courses nicknamed "bonehead English."
"At Temple University in Philadelphia, the proportion of freshmen failing an English placement exam has increased by more than 50 per cent since 1968. Harvard's freshman course in expository writing-the only class every Harvard student is required to take-has been expanded to such an extent in the past two years that some faculty members now call it a "pseudo-department."
"Since 1969, the National Assessment of Educational Progress has been testing and evaluating the writing skills of Americans between the ages of 9 and 35. In its first appraisal of writing skills six years ago, it found that 9-year-olds showed almost no mastery of basic writing mechanics, that 17-year-olds demonstrated serious deficiencies in spelling vocabulary and sentence structure and that participants over 18 were reluctant to write at all."
"Willy Nilly, the U.S. educational system is spawning a generation of semi-illiterates"
By: Hannah Scherer & Justin Merchant
"Why Johnny Can't Write" Literacy Presentation
*Information from csn.edu
In 1975, College Board noted a sharp decline in SAT scores, making the U.S.'s shortcoming in education a national issue
"In 1981, a special task force of Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) issued “the Need for Quality.” It demanded to challenge all students to attain higher levels of achievement. It also called for higher standards for teachers and students and a more rigorous high school curriculum. "
"In 1983, A Nation at Risk prepared by the National Commission on Excellence in Education criticized the mediocrity and complacency of American education. It called for higher standards for teachers and students, a core curriculum for all, higher standards for high school graduation and college entrance, a longer school day and year, and higher salaries for teachers. "
"In 1986, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) established benchmarks to gauge students’ achievement and administered the first test in eight southern stated. In 1987, an expansion of NAEP was proposed to include state-by-state."
"In 1990, Bush Administration set the national goals of education."
Common Core Literacy Standards
Production and Distribution of Writing:
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grades 11-12 here.)
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback, including new arguments or information.
*information from: http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/W/11-12/
The Statistics
32 million U.S. adults cannot read
21% of U.S. adults read below a 5th grade reading level
63% of U.S. prison inmates cannot read at all
19% of U.S. High School graduates cannot read
According to Dr. Ramon Veal, "A student who cannot read with true comprehension will never learn to write well... Writing is after all, book-talks... You learn book-talk only by reading"
In 1975, television was becoming more popular. Reading in school was not emphasized enough. Writing an essay in class was a rarity. Teachers provided poor reading material.
*Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy- study conducted 4.28.13

Quick Quiz:
Number your paper 1-5 and answer each question by writing down your answer choice
1. What was one of the major contributing factors to poor literacy test scores in 1975?
a. teachers rarely had students write in class
b. a lack of technology to assist students
c. a lack of pencils
2. Which of the following is the best way to improve one's writing?
a. watching television
b. reading
c. memorizing grammar rules
3. True or False? Illiteracy in the U.S. has been eradicated
4. Do you enjoy reading?
5. Have you ever struggled in literacy?
What helps you learn in literacy?
Full transcript