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The year two-thousand fourteen quickly approaches, the year all public school students are to be performing at grade level as measured on state assessments. Yet, according to the 2009 NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) report the reading level of fourth and eighth graders has only risen 4 points (on a 500 point scale) since 1992. Millions of dollars have been spent in an attempt to alleviate skill deficiencies, yet very little comparative time or money has been spent understanding the source of the deficiency and thus designing a strategy to address the deficiency at its origin. The background research of this unit seeks to explain what the deficiency is not, an inherent lack of intelligence, but rather explore what, for an alarming percentage of students, the deficiency is, a product of an emotional trauma which has left the mind in a stasis, incapable of measurable emotional or academic growth. This unit seeks to address the emotional trauma of students using journal writing, collaborative grouping, and non-linguistic representation in a bibliotherapeutic approach. The goal is to begin an external and internal dialogue aimed at helping the child move forward emotionally and therefore clear a path for addressing the skill deficiency.
(Developed for Reading, grades 6-8; recommended for Language Arts and Reading, grades 4-12)