School & District Management

Reading Researchers Outline Elements Needed to Achieve Adolescent Literacy

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo — October 20, 2004 2 min read

Now that policies and resources to improve basic reading instruction in the early grades are in place, educators need to turn a sharper focus to a more challenging task: building more complex literacy skills for older students, particularly struggling readers in middle and high school, a panel of prominent reading researchers contends.

Reading Essentials

The report recommends 15 essential components for adolescent reading instruction:

Direct, explicit comprehensive instruction
Effective instructional principles embedded in content
Motivation and self-directed learning
Text-based collaborative learning
Strategic tutoring
Diverse Texts
Intensive writing
A technology component
Ongoing formative assessment of students
Extended time for literacy
Professional development
Ongoing summative assessment of students and programs
Teacher teams
Leadership
A comprehensive and coordinated literacy program

In a report out last week, the panel outlines 15 elements it deems essential for building adolescents’ reading-comprehension skills—including such instructional components as in tensive writing and ongoing assessment, as well as “infrastructure” improvements, such as extended time for literacy instruction and teacher professional development.

“Somewhat neglected in those various efforts [to improve early-reading achievement] was attention to the core of reading: comprehension, learning while reading, reading in the content areas, and reading in the service of secondary or higher education, of employability, of citizenship,” Catherine Snow, an author of the report, writes in the foreword. “Educators must thus figure out how to ensure that every student gets beyond the basic literacy skills of the early-elementary grades, to the more challenging and more rewarding literacy of the middle and secondary school years.”

The report, “Reading Next: A Vision for Action and Research in Middle and High School Literacy,” was written by Ms. Snow, a prominent reading researcher at Harvard University, and Gina Biancaros, an advanced doctoral student there. It was sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Alliance for Excellent Education, in Washington.

‘It’s That Serious’

“Reading Next: A Vision for Action and Research in Middle and High School Literacy,” is available from the Alliance for Excellent Education. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

While research exists indicating that the elements recommended by the panel are ef fective in improving reading proficiency among adolescents, there is little evidence to suggest in which combinations or sequences they are most effective. More study is needed to determine what works, the report says. But the panel also recommends that teachers and researchers try to document their own conclusions about what works in classrooms.

Despite the lack of definitive research in the area, one panelist said time is running out to address the needs of struggling adolescent readers.

“This is more than a crisis for high school kids,” said Michael Kamil, a professor of psychological studies in education and learning at Stanford University and one of the panelists. “We almost need a trauma center to take care of this problem, it’s that serious for kids that can’t read. … It’s the number-one factor standing in the way of their graduating.”

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Measuring & Supporting Student Well-Being: A Researcher and District Leader Roundtable
Students’ social-emotional well-being matters. The positive and negative emotions students feel are essential characteristics of their psychology, indicators of their well-being, and mediators of their success in school and life. Supportive relationships with peers, school
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Making Digital Literacy a Priority: An Administrator’s Perspective
Join us as we delve into the efforts of our panelists and their initiatives to make digital skills a “must have” for their district. We’ll discuss with district leadership how they have kept digital literacy
Content provided by Learning.com
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How Schools Can Implement Safe In-Person Learning
In order for in-person schooling to resume, it will be necessary to instill a sense of confidence that it is safe to return. BD is hosting a virtual panel discussing the benefits of asymptomatic screening
Content provided by BD

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Is the Assistant Principal the Most Overlooked, Undervalued Person at School?
A new research review on assistant principals finds that the role is undefined and that support for these school leaders is inconsistent.
7 min read
 teachers and leaders looking around for direction
Mykyta Dolmatov/iStock/Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Opinion Pandemic Recovery Will Be Complex. We’ll Need the Best School Leaders
To face the education challenges of today and tomorrow, we must invest in the principal pipeline, writes Michael J. Petrilli.
Michael J. Petrilli
4 min read
Leader pointing hand forward, directing boat forward through corona virus crisis
iStock / Getty Images Plus
School & District Management Opinion The Year of Scourges: How I Survived Illness and Racism to Find My 'Tribe'
A Black school leader reflects on the hardest year of her professional life.
Reba Y. Hodge
4 min read
new growth on a bare tree
Vanessa Solis/Education Week & Getty Images
School & District Management From Our Research Center How the Pandemic Is Shaping K-12 Education (in Charts)
Surveys by the EdWeek Research Center show how schools have changed during the pandemic and what adjustments are likely to stick.
Eric DiVito gives breathing instructions as he teaches a remote music class at the Osborn School on Oct. 6, 2020, in Rye, N.Y.
Eric DiVito gives breathing instructions as he teaches a remote music class at the Osborn School in Rye, N.Y., last fall.
Mary Altaffer/AP