The purpose of Reading First is to ensure that all children in America learn to read well by the end of third grade.
Teaching young children to read is the most critical educational priority facing this country. Encouragingly, this is an area where some of the best and most rigorous scientifically based research is available. The Reading First program helps States and districts apply this research - and the proven instructional and assessment tools consistent with the research - to teach all children to read. By teaching all children to read well by the end of third grade, we will ensure that all students advance to later grades well prepared to achieve their full academic potential.
The Reading First program provides the necessary assistance to States and districts to establish research-based reading programs for students in kindergarten through third grade. Reading First funds also focus on providing significantly increased teacher professional development to ensure that all teachers, including special education teachers, have the skills they need to teach these programs effectively. Additionally, the program provides assistance to States and districts in preparing classroom teachers to effectively screen, identify and overcome reading barriers facing their students.
Quite simply, Reading First focuses on what works, and supports proven methods of early reading instruction in classrooms. The program provides assistance to States and districts in selecting or developing effective instructional materials, programs, learning systems and strategies to implement methods that have been proven to teach reading. Reading First also provides assistance for the selection and administration of screening, diagnostic and classroom-based instructional reading assessments with proven validity and reliability, in order to measure where students are and monitor their progress.
Taken together, the complementary research-based programs, practices and tools required by Reading First give teachers across the nation the skills and support they need to teach all children to read fluently by the end of third grade.
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