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[Susan notes: I'd like to have a dime for every press release that's published as news. Thanks to Steve for revealing one more of these.]

Published in Gainesville Times (Georgia)

To the editor

The Gainesville Times’ article “Book First Honors

Enota” (Jan 14) is free advertising for McGraw-Hill’s

Open Court reading program. It also contains some

misleading information.

According to the Times, “an extensive report” on the

McGraw-Hill website shows that thanks to Open Court,

first graders at Enota “achieved three years or more

of growth in reading.”

The extensive report (two pages) actually says that a

group of 20 first graders improved only slightly more

than one year in one year’s time, moving from, on the

average, the beginning first grade level to slightly

beyond the beginning second grade level. Three

students gained more than two years, moving from the

low to mid kindergarten level to the mid or high

second grade level. That’s good progress, but not

three years growth.

The report provides no details as to the nature of the

test used. Programs such as Open Court have been shown

to increase scores on tests in which children

pronounce lists of words in isolation, but they have

not produced significant results on tests in which

children need to understand what they read.

Stephen Krashen

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