Reading First

Read Education Week's coverage of the Bush administration's flagship reading program.

The $6 billion spent on the program has helped students with basic decoding but not with understanding, a major study finds.
December 3, 2008 – Education Week

The $6 billion spent on the program has helped students with basic decoding but not with understanding, a major study finds.
November 18, 2008 – Education Week

With the likely loss of funding, educators try to figure out how to keep the federal reading program alive in their districts.
August 8, 2008 – Education Week

Citing a federal study of the program, lawmakers would zero out funding for the beleaguered program in the fiscal 2009 budget.
July 16, 2008 – Education Week (Web)

Federal, state, and local officials are scrambling to figure out how to sustain the program, or at least some of the instructional changes it fueled.
July 16, 2008 – Education Week

Joining its House counterpart, the Senate subcommittee that handles education spending would eliminate funding for the controversial reading program in fiscal 2009.
June 24, 2008 – Education Week

Panel members believe a recent evaluation has caused confusion and misperceptions about the program’s effectiveness.
June 24, 2008 | Updated: February 21, 2019 – Education Week

The $1 billion-a-year program has had no measurable effect on students’ reading comprehension, on average, a major federal report finds.
May 7, 2008 | Updated: February 21, 2019 – Education Week

The reduction of more than 60 percent may affect reading coaches, professional-development programs, and instructional materials that are the cornerstones of the Reading First program.
January 16, 2008 – Education Week

Despite problems with the implementation of the program—which resulted in several federal investigations and congressional hearings over the past two years—it's worth preserving or expanding, a study found.
October 31, 2007 – Education Week

Is Reading First working? Advocates claim it is and critics say it isn’t, while others contend there isn’t enough information to know.
October 24, 2007 – Education Week

The Reading First Advisory Committee has asked for more time and technical assistance in evaluating the data from the $1 billion-a-year program.
August 29, 2007 – Education Week

Many of President Bush’s education priorities would be slated for cuts under a plan approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee today.
June 21, 2007 – Education Week (Web)

Edward J. Kame’enui will leave his current position at the Department of Education next month, the agency announced last week.
May 23, 2007 – Education Week

Edward J. Kame’enui will resign from his current position at the U.S. Department of Education, the agency announced Wednesday.
May 16, 2007 – Education Week (Web)

A report suggests that a former Reading First consultant actively promoted his commercial products while serving as a key adviser to states.
May 16, 2007 | Updated: February 22, 2019 – Education Week

The assessment tool is approved for use under the federal reading program in 45 states to monitor student progress on reading fluency.
May 2, 2007 – Education Week

The inspector general of the U.S. Department of Education referred some of the information gathered in a lengthy audit of the program to federal law-enforcement officials for further investigation.
April 25, 2007 – Education Week

Inspector general's report says company did not take appropriate steps to prevent problems.
March 14, 2007 – Education Week

Federal officials also failed to screen a contractor for potential bias, says a new report.
March 7, 2007 – Education Week

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In Perspective
Reading Rituals
The Ogden, Utah, schools have used mandates of the federal Reading First grant program to fine-tune instruction districtwide, and students' scores are way up.
February 28, 2007 – Education Week

Federal officials also failed to screen a contractor for potential bias, says a new report.
February 23, 2007 – Education Week

An Education Week review of hundreds of e-mail exchanges details a pattern of federal interference in the program that skirted legal prohibitions.
February 21, 2007 – Education Week

Despite Reading First's $1 billion-a-year investment in improving reading instruction, little has changed in the kinds of reading products and programs being offered since the initiative was rolled out, according to some experts.
December 13, 2006 – Education Week

Two prominent Democrats are demanding to know more about the problems identified in the implementation of the federal Reading First program, including whether criminal violations may have occurred and what Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings may have known about the problems while she was a White House aide.
October 11, 2006 – Education Week

The findings of a scathing report on the federal Reading First program continued to reverberate last week following its Sept. 22 release, fueling debates in Congress, on the Internet, and among professionals in the field about their gravity and potential impact.
October 4, 2006 – Education Week

The federal Reading First initiative has led to improved reading instruction, assessment, and student achievement in schools taking part in the $1 billion-a-year grant program, as well as in some of the nonparticipating schools in districts that have widely adopted its principles, a study released last week concludes.
September 27, 2006 – Education Week

Schools in the federal Reading First program dedicate more time to reading instruction and teacher professional development, and are more likely to use assessment data to inform teaching, than Title I schools that are not in the grant program, concludes a study on the $1 billion-a-year initiative.
August 9, 2006 – Education Week

Michael Pressley thinks that we should view the recent complaints from educational vendors in the Reading First marketplace as an extension of the list of concerns over federal reading efforts that have accumulated over the past six years.
December 14, 2005 – Education Week

A federal investigation into Reading First will include several broad audits of the policies and procedures involved in implementing the $1 billion-a-year program, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s inspector general’s office schedule of reviews for 2006.
November 9, 2005 – Education Week

Republican and Democratic leaders of the U.S. Senate education committee have joined the debate over the implementation of Reading First, with a call for an investigation into the federal program by the watchdog arm of Congress.
October 12, 2005 – Education Week

Just a few years ago, a set of tests known as “dibbles” would have elicited little more than a chuckle from educators or anyone else. Today, they’re taking it seriously, because the acronym DIBELS has come to symbolize the standard for early-literacy assessment throughout much of the country.
September 28, 2005 – Education Week

State grant reviewers gave Dr. Cupp’s Readers a big, fat zero rating on one Georgia school’s Reading First application. Only later did its publisher find out that at least one of those reviewers had never laid eyes on the program.
September 7, 2005 – Education Week

A number of commercial reading programs have satisfied the requirement under the federal reading law for embodying a strong research base, yet there appears to be limited outside evidence that any of them produces a conclusive and consistent effect on overall reading achievement.
September 15, 2004 – Education Week

The specificity of some sections of the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the way certain provisions are being implemented, are raising concerns that the federal government is encroaching ever more on decisions historically made by local communities.
February 5, 2003 – Education Week

The Department of Education is warning states that the agency will more closely monitor how they are spending money under a waning federal reading initiative, after reports that local grant recipients may not be following "scientifically based" principles or other requirements.
November 13, 2002 – Education Week


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