Poor Reading Comprehension of English Language Learners in USA

Poor reading comprehension skills of English language learners have been widely reported in recent years.
That is why I did not think I would be surprised by another publication reporting the well-known problem.
However, when I read the results from the 2013/2015 NAEP reading assessments in the USA, I was shocked by the pure scale of the issue (I am focusing in this blog post on 2013, however, the scores in 2015 were only slightly better than in 2013).

On the whole, children who were not native English speakers perform much worse on reading as well as those who were. The reading achievement scores were placed on the four reading scales: below BasicBasicProficient, and Advanced.

In 2013, more than 94% of fourth graders who were English language learners had only basic or below basic reading skills. These statistics became even more alarming in eighth grade when about 97% of English language learners were below proficiency in reading. It means that in eighth grade only 3% of English language learners had reading skills at proficient or advanced level. 

At the same time, 70% of children who spoke English as a native language had basic or below basic reading comprehensions skills. That group shrank to 62% when children were in eights grade. In other words, 29% of eighth-graders who were native English speakers had reading skills at proficient or advanced level.

Although research provides strong evidence that children learning English as an Aditional language (English language learners) are at risk of developing reading difficulties, many parents are not aware of it.
Most of the parents hope that their bilingual children will catch up with their monolingual children as far as vocabulary, reading and literacy development is concerned. Unfortunately, in most of the cases, exactly the opposite is true. Early gaps in reading performance widen with time and bilingual children are simply left behind.
It goes without saying that it has disastrous consequences for children’s learning and future.