As a nation, we have a long history of reading failure under whole language instruction. Over the past 25 years, nationwide testing has shown that over half the children and teens across the nation cannot read at grade level by 4th or 8th grade. The Nation’s Report Card (NPC) (2015) stated that only 36% of 4th graders and ONLY 34% of 8th graders across the nation can read proficiently at grade level. When we tie reading failure to retention and to dropping out of school before graduation, we truly have a serious problem (Fleming et al. 2004). Reading failure can lead to enormous life-long complications (Coll and Marks 2012; Vaughn et al. 2010; Vaughn et al. 2014), especially when you consider that 70% of American prison inmates cannot read above the 4th grade level (National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) 2007).
I discuss the reading problems that we face in more detail in my newest book: Teaching at-Risk Students to Read: The Camp Sharigan Method.