The results also show that students who say they read for fun score better on the reading portion of the test.
"When children have access to a novel or literature that they're passionate about, they do better," said Maura Roberts, a fourth grade teacher at City Springs Elementary and Middle School who argues that the curriculum should require teachers to use more good books rather than short excerpts in the teaching of reading in the elementary grades.
In addition, she said, so many students come with a limited vocabulary.
"So we really have to be explicit in how we talk to and challenge them," she said. "We use as many words as possible. We speak to them as if we're speaking to a professional."
At City Springs, which hosted the press conference to announce the NEAP results in Baltimore, students are taught reading through a prescribed program that includes having students tap to help them learn to stop at commas and periods. Fourth grader Khlil Lowther said he likes it because it helps him focus.
"I want to get better in my reading, and tapping," he said. "It makes more sense."
Baltimore Sun reporter Erica Green contributed to this article.