To the Editor:
It is satisfying to know that 94 percent of the more than 4,700 pre-K-12 teachers and principals interviewed for a recent Scholastic report agree that students should have time to read a book of their choice independently during the school day (“Study: Teachers Value Independent Reading But Lack Class Time for It,” April 26, 2017).
As the blog post notes, the National Reading Panel concluded in 2000 that there was not enough evidence of academic improvement to support silent or independent reading programs in school. Reanalysis and discussion of these results, published in several books, journals, and other publications, including Education Week, show otherwise.
Research has indeed confirmed that students participating in independent reading in school outperform on tests of reading comprehension and vocabulary their peers who do not participate in such reading. Contrary to the National Reading Panel’s conclusion, there is enough evidence to support independent reading programs in schools.
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, Calif.
A version of this article appeared in the May 17, 2017 edition of Education Week as What Successful Readers Need