What do we know about teaching reading effectively?
Research has consistently identified the critical skills that young students need to learn in order to become good readers.12 Teachers across different states and districts have demonstrated that scientifically based reading instruction can and does work with all children. The key to helping all children learn is to help teachers in each and every classroom benefit from the relevant research. That can be accomplished by providing professional development for teachers on the use of scientifically based reading programs, by using instructional materials and programs that are also based on sound scientific research, and by ensuring accountability through ongoing assessments. To find out more about National Reading Panel findings, visit www.nationalreadingpanel.org.
What is being done to help children learn to read well by the end of the third grade?
Improving the reading skills of children is a top priority for leaders at all levels of government and business, as well as for parents, teachers and countless citizens who volunteer at reading programs across the nation. At the national level, No Child Left Behind reflects this concern with the new program called Reading First. This ambitious national initiative is designed to help every young child in every state become a successful reader. It is based on the expectation that instructional decisions for all students will be guided by the best available research. In recent years, scientific research has provided tremendous insight into exactly how children learn to read and the essential components for effective reading instruction.
Does No Child Left Behind support programs to help children build language and pre-reading skills before they start kindergarten?
Yes. The Early Reading First program supports preschool programs that provide a high-quality education to young children, especially those from low-income families. While early childhood programs are important for children's social, emotional and physical development, they are also important for children's early cognitive and language development. Research stresses the importance of early reading skills, including phonemic awareness and vocabulary development. Early Reading First supports programs to help preschoolers improve these skills. These programs can include professional development of staff and the identification and provision of activities and instructional material. Programs must be grounded in scientifically based research, and their success evaluated continuously. For more information on Early Reading First, visit www.ed.gov/programs/earlyreading/index.html.