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Literacy Educator Calls for Clearer Standards

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Too few high school students are graduating with critical reading skills, according to a new national study.

The report has implications for Chicago, where schools officials are trying to improve city high schools.

Chicago’s 11th graders reached new highs in reading on the state high school achievement test last year.

But district officials say too many high schools still aren’t doing enough to prepare students for college.

The recent national study by ACT found that only about half of 2005 graduates who took the ACT exam were prepared for college-level reading.

Tim Shanahan runs UIC’s Center for Literacy.

He says high schools have a tendency to assume kids have sufficient reading abilities -- or that frankly, teachers assume kids don’t have it.

So teachers often shy away from using more complicated texts.

Shanahan is calling for more explicit standards at the high school level.

He also says the district needs to bring the same urgency to high school reading that it directed at literacy in elementary schools.

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