‘Reading First’ is Dead; Long Live ‘Reading First’

June 27, 2008 1 min read

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings wrote appropriators yesterday in a last-ditch effort to save Reading First. She cites the department’s data on reading comprehension and urges legislators to talk with educators on the ground about the program.

“You may find, as I have, that the program has helped raise expectations and prepare students, including English language learners and students with disabilities, for academic success,” she wrote.

The effort is “too little, too late,” Mike Petrilli writes. In a new blog (via TWIE), reading expert Timothy Shanahan is already thinking about what can replace the program. This three-step process would be:

1.) Create a pilot project to find out what works. Searching through Reading First data might give clues to the answer. 2.) Encourage Title I schools to follow the practices in the successful schools. 3.) Use those experiences to change Title I policies so all schools in the program adopt such best practices.

Sounds sensible to me. Shanahan is one of the most informed and reasonable people in the reading debate. I’ll be checking back to see what he has to say.

A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.