One of the more visible benefits of the federal Reading First program was that the $1 billion-a-year funding provided for reading coaches in each participating school. Those coaches were assigned to work with teachers to improve practice and expand their understanding of the research on literacy development.
Now, with the funding stream dried up and the growing economic woes across the country, schools are starting to abandon some of the basic tenets of the Reading First program, particularly when it comes to the additional staffing it required.
See these news reports out of Florida and New York. The extensive professional development provided under the program is not likely to last either. I wonder if teachers will get to keep those nifty hand-held computers either.
Of course, the bigger question is how will schools and districts sustain the changes they’ve made under Reading First given the lack of resources?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.