Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Success highest for young readers

Expert says nothing is more important

  • Print

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is more important to children's future success than learning to read at a young age, a University of Toronto expert told Manitoba school trustees Friday.

"The Number 1 predictor of high school graduation is reading proficiency at age nine and 10," Julia O'Sullivan, dean of education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), told the Manitoba School Boards Association annual general meeting.

"Teaching reading is not rocket science -- it's harder," she said.

O'Sullivan said Canadian school systems spend too much time trying to catch up to Finland or China on international tests, too much time worrying about what brain research -- which she dismissed as neuro myths -- says about how different children learn in different ways and too much time moving from one idea about learning math to another and then to another.

When trustees set early years priorities, Sullivan said, "Please say 'reading' -- it's not a dirty word."

On average, O'Sullivan said, faculties of education spend 24 to 36 hours teaching future teachers to teach reading -- they need at least 180 hours, she said.

In other business:

-- School boards may be holding down taxes, but not their own fees -- which come out of education dollars.

They approved jacking up fees to a total of $1.85 million, which River East Transcona trustee Peter Kotyk said is close to 10 per cent for the second straight year. That's ironic and hypocritical, said Kotyk.

Frontier trustee Linda Ballantyne countered trustees get a lot more out of the MSBA than they put in financially; Louis Riel trustee Hugh Coburn pointed out MSBA has added very helpful new staff.

The increase passed overwhelmingly.

-- Trustee Floyd Martens of Dauphin-based Mountain View School Division was re-elected by acclamation as president for another year.

-- Trustees agree education students need to spend more time being taught how to teach reading and math, but couldn't figure out how much more time, so the organization will study the issue further.

-- Trustees want the province to create a new student category for students exceeding expectations on provincial assessments.

"Why are they excluding this category?" asked Red River Valley trustee Shelley Sirota.

The province now categorizes students "out of range, below, meeting expectations, approaching expectations, and needs ongoing help."

Seven Oaks trustee Claudia Sarbit spoke for the minority when she said the teacher knows who's exceeding expectations: "The more labels we have for students, the worse it is," she said.

-- There was a strong consensus the province needs to create an extensive list of criminal convictions that would disqualify people from running for, or holding a seat on, a school board.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 15, 2014 A14

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Home buying

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese take cover in long grass in the Tuxedo Business Park near Route 90 Wednesday- Day 28– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local/Standup- BABY BISON. Fort Whyte Centre's newest mother gently nudges her 50 pound, female bull calf awake. Calf born yesterday. 25 now in herd. Four more calfs are expected over the next four weeks. It is the bison's second calf. June 7, 2002.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should the federal government be able to censor how Ottawa is portrayed in the CMHR?

View Results

Ads by Google