Reading & Literacy

Publishers Feeling the Reading First Cuts

January 28, 2009 1 min read

Some of the publishers that made a heap of money off the Reading First program—which pumped $1 billion a year into instructional materials and professional development, as well as coaching positions in participating schools—are reporting losses now that the budget has been axed, according to this Publishers Weekly article.

“Worsening economic conditions facing large urban districts were exacerbated by a sharp reduction in federal funding for Reading First programs,” the magazine quotes Terry McGraw, the chairman of the company that publishes Open Court Reading and other popular reading series.

Despite the 5.4 percent decline for McGraw-Hill’s school division, the company’s K-12 arm still gained $1.4 billion in revenue ($6.4 billion in revenue for the company overall). State textbook adoptions are still fueling profits.

A few weeks ago, another publisher also reported some money troubles. Riverdeep, which bought ed publishers Houghton Mifflin and Harcourt a couple years ago, has been saddled with debt and may be looking to sell off some of its consumer publishing assets, according to news reports.

This story, however, includes claims from Houghton Mifflin/Harcourt officials that their business is solid. Houghton Mifflin’s reading program has been a popular choice among Reading First schools and was one of just two approved programs, along with Open Court, in California’s English/language arts adoption for the early elementary grades several years ago.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.


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