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An Argument Analysis on ‘Why American Students Haven’t Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years

Americans in the contemporary world are still struggling to read as outlined by an article written by an educational journalist, a historian, and a novelist, Natalie Wexler, who was born in 1955 in New York. Natalie Wexler is a writer who dedicates most of her work on detailing and addressing issues of social inequality. Notably, the outlined piece, ‘Why American Students Haven’t Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years’ outlines a system that further limits the poor, thereby outlining her beliefs on the current social system. Wexler has other key publications which talk about knowledge such as the ‘The Knowledge Gap’, and ‘The Writing Revolution’. Natalie Wexler uses informative and critical writing to portray significant issues in contemporary society which may otherwise go unexplained.

The article by Wexler questions the United States’ educational system, thereby incorporating solid arguments with crucial information to back them up. Notably, the author presents clear evidence that students are still lagging in reading. The author uses a logical argumentation which entails offering reason and a conclusion (Amgoud, Besnard, and Hunter). The author states focus on a child who was having trouble pronouncing rugby because the kid failed to understand what the term meant. Therefore, the article shows that people are unable to comprehend terms when they are presented out of context to improve the learning outcomes of the students. The report challenges the existing system with essential information and statistics thereby offering a clear argument. The article manages to paint the contemporary world to the readers by incorporating facts about the continued failure in reading skills and pointing at some potential drivers of the outlined loss. Notably, the article efficiently gives readers the chance to determine the efficiency of the argument.

Additionally, the article offers rhetorical appeals to offer argument credibility. The author looks at the thoughts of diverse panel members outlining their views on why the United States continues to fall short in attaining proficient reading skills. Notably, the panel presents distinct shortcomings with the current education system with some insisting that it benefits the rich more while others insist on the need to enact a complex system where students in kindergarten can relate with what they are reading. Additionally, the study incorporates facts such as the data that shows a continuous underperformance in the reading scores. The article aims to appeal to the emotions of individuals by integrating a personal story of a kid who fails to comprehend a term due to the lack of knowledge of what it means. The author utilizes the three rhetorical appeals of ethos, pathos, and logos which underlines the approach of appealing on credibility, logic, and emotions to influence the readers (Varpio). Importantly, the article appeals to the readers on the outlined fields, thereby strengthening the argument.

The study argues that high school readers fail to be good readers because the system is set up in a way that prioritizes comprehension skills over knowledge skills. Notably, a lot of people go through the initial processes trying to comprehend how to read and not to understand what they are reading. Therefore, different terms may have diverse meanings in distinct contexts which readers may fail to understand. Similarly, the reading system assumes that students understand basic things and thus makes it hard for students who may not understand certain concepts as the study focuses on what people learn per grade rather than prioritizing the needs of the students.

The article takes an essential look into the contemporary world outlining how the rich and the less fortunate continue to differ in the educational attainment process. Notably, the author shows that reading helps the student understand and gather essential knowledge from a tender age. Reading makes it easier for the student to acquire both knowledge and comprehension skills. Notably, The Federal No Child Left Behind Legislation shows that reading plays a crucial role in helping all people develop keys skills without undermining people on social discrepancies. Reading helps people make connections between letters and sounds (Wexler). Therefore, it ensures that people understand what they learn and can imperatively enact the reading in distinct contexts.

Conversely, it is imperative to enact a learning system which aims to help the student have the essential knowledge about the contemporary world and thus offering extensive information from an early stage. Notably, the modern learning system in the US actualizes reading skills at kindergarten, a feat which limits students since it focuses on their ability to read rather than understand. However, the system should be shaped to focus on students without the assumption that they know and thus teach them basics and then transgress to complex learnings. Notably, the article outlines the argument by Willingham that teachers leave out information with the belief that students know, thereby making it hard for them to make sense of the data (Wexler). Therefore, the next generation should be prioritized over the current education system, where tutors focus on the needs of specific students. This incentive may imply coming up with better-suited curriculums to improvise the education system and offer students a chance to match in educational attainment irrespective of their social discrepancies.

Works Cited

Amgoud, Leila, et al. “Foundations for a Logic of Arguments.” Urnal of Applied Non-Classical Logics, vol. 27, no. 3-4, 2017, pp. 178–195.

Varpio, Lara. “Using Rhetorical Appeals to Credibility, Logic, and Emotions to Increase Your Persuasiveness.” Perspectives on Medical Education, vol. 7, no. 3, July 2018, pp. 207–210., doi:10.1007/s40037-018-0420-2.

Wexler, Natalie. “Why American Students Haven’t Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years.”
The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 13 Apr. 2018,


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