Literacy and Leadership: Fulfilling Our Responsibility to Children
Overcoming Barriers to Literacy and Reclaiming At-Risk Readers
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Leaving Johnny Behind: Overcoming Barriers to Literacy

and Reclaiming At-Risk Readers




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Reading Failure - A Public Health Crisis

In 1955, reading expert Rudolph Flesch sounded an alarm: our methods for teaching reading were failing our children.

In response to that challenge, reading researchers have since succeeded in identifying methods that could literally guarantee all children's reading advancement.  Nevertheless, schools have squandered this opportunity by ignoring the product of legitimate science and thereby produced a situation in which:

  • Two-thirds of all 4th, 8th and 12th grade students are less than proficient readers.
  • 80% of minority 4th, 8th and 12th grade students are below basic readers which is the same as saying they are functionally illiterate.
  • One in five American students fails to graduate from high school.
  • Each high school dropout costs Americans an estimated $250,000 in lost earnings, taxes and productivity.
  • Each high school dropout is far more likely to become unemployed, incarcerated and/or a teen parent.
  • 75% of those between the ages of 17 and 24 cannot qualify to serve in the military because of low literacy and education levels.

Told from the perspective of an urban school teacher and principal, Leaving Johnny Behind challenges  the reading establishment to end the rancorous debates and secure the literacy futures of all our nation's children.

Leaving Johnny Behind is a gift to anyone who desires to understand why so many of our most vulnerable citizens—our children—struggle to learn to read, and why we, as a country, have let them down.     Dr. G. Reid Lyon, former branch chief, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Anthony Pedriana provides a clear view of the most effective approaches to reading instruction and how we can provide teachers the training and support necessary to transform virtually every child into a strong and confident reader.  If we are to make long-term improvements to our schools, we need to start with Leaving Johnny Behind.     —Patrick Riccards, CEO, Exemplar Strategic Communications; former chief of staff, National Reading Panel

In Leaving Johnny Behind, Mr. Pedriana confronts the issue of how low literacy and academic failure create pathways to violent crime. It is a compelling narrative of a fictional Johnny, but a realistic portrayal nonetheless. This book should be on every teacher’s reading list.     —Dr. Cecile Guin, Director, Office of Social Service Research and Development, Louisiana State University

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