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American Educator
Fall 2004


Table of Contents


Preventing Early Reading Failure

We get regular medical checkups for ourselves and our kids. Problems and diseases that used to maim and kill are often averted. Thanks to research on how children learn to read—and the translation of that research into classroom materials and early screening assessments—we can now screen for an avert almost all early reading failure.

Avoiding the Devastating Downward Spiral
The Evidence That Early Intervention Prevents Reading Failure
By Joseph K. Torgesen

The evidence is in: The children who we hoped would be "late bloomers" in reading rarely are. Their early and modest reading weakness impedes enjoyment and deters practice. Soon, their small reading problems spiral into devastating ones. But with new easy-to-use tools, we can identify children headed toward failure—and prevent it—as early as kindergarten.

Waiting Rarely Works: "Late Boomers" Usually Just Wilt

Early Screening Is at the Heart of Prevention (PDF)

Best Bets: Core Reading Programs and Interventions

Practicing Prevention
How One School District Helps Students Avoid Reading Failure
By Catherine Paglin

This school district has taken what's known about screening, core instruction, and intervention and put it all in place. The result: Just two percent of children leave first grade unable to read, compared to 15 percent six years ago.

Women's Rights—Not Just for Westerners
By Azar Nafisi

When Nafisi returned to her native Iran in 1979, the Ayatollah Khomeini was stripping Iranians, especially women, of basic human rights. Back in America, "under the name of cultural relativism or multiculturalism," many condoned these changes as simply "their culture." But, she asks, if we don't condone virginity checks or forced adolescent marriage for American women, why should we believe these practices are reasonable for Iranian women?

Struggling to Keep Imagination Alive

Fantastic Journey
How Scientists Figured Out the Shape and Size of the Earth—Written for Kids
By Joy Hakim

In her new series of science books for middle-schoolers, Joy Hakim combines science, history, geography, culture, and art to tell the story of science in a way kids love. And don't be surprised if you learn a lot yourself.

How Did Eratosthenes Come So Close?

A Serendipitous Step Backward

The Story of Science: A Writer's Reasons

Eats, Shoots & Leaves
By Lynne Truss

Do mistake's in punctuation drive you crazy? Are you losing you're patience with peoples poor writing? You just might be a stickler; if so, Truss offers some welcome relief.

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About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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