Happening Today: Education Week Leadership Symposium. Learn more and register.
Special Report
Reading & Literacy

Editors Note: Building Literacy Skills

By The Editors — May 11, 2015 1 min read

Early-grades reading instruction has long been a central point of emphasis—and concern—for educators and policymakers.

That’s in large part owing to a provocative body of research showing that students who don’t read with proficiency by the end of 3rd grade are far more likely to experience poor academic outcomes, including leaving school without a diploma. Early-grades reading skills, in other words, are often seen as a key indicator of educational achievement.

By that standard, many U.S. schools have struggled to give students adequate pathways. On the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, only 35 percent of 4th graders scored at or above “proficient” in reading. The rate was considerably lower for minority students—18 percent for blacks and 20 percent for Hispanics. Meanwhile, the average NAEP reading score for 4th graders has increased only minimally over the past decade.

This Education Week special report takes a wide-ranging look at new efforts to address the challenges of early-grades reading instruction, particularly in light of the waning influence of the federal Reading First program. While that initiative, launched in 2002, drew praise for providing some $1 billion annually to expand reading instruction and professional development and support for teachers, it was criticized by many teachers and reading experts for focusing too narrowly on basic skills. A number of the stories highlight the growing impact of the Common Core State Standards, whose early-grades reading expectations often diverge from previous instructional systems.

Scanning the changing landscape of literacy instruction, the report explores new thinking on time-honored practices such as read-alouds, teaching vocabulary, and developing reading fluency; details school-community efforts to boost early-reading skills; dives into recent research on the potentially negative effects of focusing too rigidly on 3rd graders’ reading proficiency; and looks at an Alabama professional-development program that has shown promise in boosting achievement across racial categories, in part through a combination of consistency and responsiveness to change.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the May 13, 2015 edition of Education Week as A Note From the Editors

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
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
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
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
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
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS

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

Reading & Literacy Spotlight Spotlight on What We Now Know: Literacy
In this Spotlight, review ways students can be supported; evaluate the struggles often seen when tech intertwines with literacy and more.
Reading & Literacy Struggling Readers Score Lower on Foundational Skills, Analysis of National Test Finds
The results paint a more detailed picture of students who are designated below basic on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
4 min read
Image of library shelves.
Ziviani/iStock/Getty
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
Reading & Literacy Whitepaper
The Power of Culturally Responsive Literacy Instruction
From breaking down barriers to equity to moving beyond skills-based instruction, this informative guide showcases the words and ideas of ...
Content provided by Achieve3000
Reading & Literacy Opinion How a Bathroom Log Helped One Middle School Understand Its Literacy Issues
Reading isn’t just a set of skills. Sometimes we need to explore other avenues to help us assist students to become better readers.
Seth Feldman
6 min read
Books
Shutterstock