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A Problem Still in Search of a Solution: A State Policy Roadmap for Improving Early Reading Proficiency PDF - A Problem Still in Search of a Solution: A State Policy Roadmap for Improving Early Reading Proficiency provides a framework to help state leaders and policymakers create more effective policies that will result in improved reading performance. (September 2012)...

The Progress of Education Reform: Pre-K-12 Literacy PDF - This issue of The Progress of Education Reform examines: 1) low K-12 literacy levels nationally, especially for low-income and diverse student populations; 2) trends on U.S. students’ reading proficiency since the 1970s; 3) the negative impacts correlated with low reading levels; and 4) policy recommendations for improving literacy instruction and achievement, particularly in the early grades. (Karen Schimke, ECS, December 2011)...

PreK-Grade 3 Reading and Literacy Practices That Matter PDF - This Research Review is a snapshot of five recent research studies that address reading and literacy in the early grades. The studies examine topics such as: parental investment in education, instructional practices in a balanced literacy approach, late-emerging reading difficulties, phonics and integrated language arts, and family literacy programs. (ECS, October 2011)...

What is Holding Back Reading Achievement - Hear what Robert Pondiscio had to say about reading at the 2011 ECS National Forum on Education Policy....

Reading/Literacy: Which practices matter most? - Access related research titles from the ECS Research Studies Database. Links embedded in titles will take you to each study's major findings and recommendations....

Reading Partners: The Implementation and Effectiveness of a One-on-One Tutoring Program Delivered by Community Volunteers - Reading Partners, a literacy program delivered by volunteers to second- to fifth-graders, increased reading comprehension, fluency and sight-word reading by 1.5 to two months of growth. The program involved participation twice a week for 45 minutes. (Robin Tepper Jacob et al., MDRC, June 2014)...

Improving Reading Outcomes for Students with or at Risk for Reading Disabilities: A Synthesis of the Contributions from the Institute of Education Sciences Research Centers - Eight years of IES-funded research into prevention and remediation of reading difficulties yielded ways to identify and help children before their problems became entrenched. Critical component skills that support proficient reading, found ways to assess these skills and developed and tested interventions for children at risk of developing reading difficulties, including children who are deaf or hard of hearing who have intellectual disabilities. (Carol M. Connor, et al., Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Research,February 2014) ...

Testing the Importance of Individual Growth Curves in Predicting Performance on a High-Stakes Reading Comprehension Test in Florida - To understand why individual students differ on an outcome based on performance on an assessment, this study examined the relations among descriptive measures of growth (simple difference and average difference) and inferential measures. All four growth estimates significantly contributed to the prediction of performance when controlling for several factors, but only the simple difference score was a good predictor when controlling for interim (winter) status. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, REL Southeast, January 2014)...

Skilled for Life? Key Findings from the Survey of Adult Skills - American adults did poorly in mathematical and technical skills compared to their counterparts in most developed countries, according to an international report. Young American adults lagged behind their international competitors in math and technology, but also in literacy. "This report underscores the importance of investing in adult education in the U.S.," said Martin Finsterbusch, president of the National Coalition for Literacy. "We must give adults their opportunity to improve their English literacy, numeracy and technology skills." (OECD, October 2013)...

Common Core in the Schools: A First Look at Reading Assignments - No Child Left Behind (NCLB) may have improved math achievement in the early grades, but did little to budge low reading scores. The authors argue that NCLB inspired educators to abandon such classes as science and history to gain time for teaching reading skills while the complexity of assigned texts declined. They hope that the standards- and accountability reform implicit in the Common Core will change that and reading assignments will become more complex. Readers may find recommended high school reading lists interesting. (Timothy Shanahan and Ann Duffett, Thomas B. Fordham Institute, October 2013)...

Evaluating the Screening Accuracy of Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading (FAIR) - Student performance on the interim Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading (FAIR) was analyzed across grades 4-10 with the end-of-year Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) 2.0 to determine how well the FAIR and the 2011 FCAT 2.0 scores predicted 2012 FCAT 2.0 performance. The first key finding was that the reading comprehension screen of the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading (FAIR) was more accurate than the 2011 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) 2.0 scores in correctly identifying students as not at risk for failing to meet grade-level standards on the 2012 FCAT 2.0. The second key finding was that using both the FAIR screen and the 2011 FCAT 2.0 lowered the underidentification rate of at-risk students by 12–20 percentage points compared with the results using the 2011 FCAT 2.0 score alone. (Barbara R. Foorman, Sarah Kershaw and Yaacov Petscher, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Evaluation, September 2013)...

Literacy - See the Institute for Education Sciences' What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) for recommendations on literacy. The WWC reviews the research on the different programs, products, practices, and policies in education. Then, by focusing on the results from high-quality research, they try to answer the question “What works in education?” The goal is to provide educators with the information they need to make evidence-based decisions. (WWC, September 2013)...

Evalulation of the i3 Scale-up of Reading Recovery - Students who participated in Reading Recovery (RR) outperformed students in the control group on each subscale of the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS). The estimated standardized effect of RR on students' ITBS was .68 standard deviations relative to the population of struggling readers who were RR eligible, large relative to typical effect sizes found in educational evaluations. Teacher training sessions were described as very valuable. Students in RR meet with a specially trained teacher every school day for 30 minutes over a period of 12-20 weeks. (Consortium for Policy Research Education, August 2013)...

Bending the Growth Trajectory: Instructional Strategies to Promote Reading Skills and Close the Readiness Gap - Impressive growth in reading gains shown by students at the end of their third school year begin to decelerate after that to the point that when they graduate high school, there is an impressive gap between their reading abilities and what is required for career/college. The author asserts even small, consistent modifications over the course of fourth grade through high school can have a tremendous impact. Further those interventions should continue to graduation as opposed to stopping them when the student switches from learning to read to reading to learn. (Malbert Smith III, MetaMetrics, March 2013)...

Bridging the Readiness Gap: Demystifiying Required Reading Levels for Postsecondary Pursuits - Defining "ready" as the ability to read and comprehend complex texts, the author argues that careful attention be paid to text complexity over the P-20 continuum. That involves quantifying text difficulty by Lexile, and classifying students by their Lexile scores. He offers a nifty chart by grades with goal Lexile scores before and after the Common Core State Standards. (Malbert Smith III, MetaMetrics, March 2013)...

WWC Review of the Report "Summer School Effects in a Randomized Field Trial" - Moderate-risk kindergarten and first-grade students participated in a summer reading program, tested in the spring before the program began and again in the fall. A comparison group did not receive the intervention. The study found and WWC confirmed a statistically significant positive effect of the summer school for both kindergartners and first-graders. (What Works Clearing House, February 2013) ...

Is Retaining Students in Early Grades Self-Defeating? - With substantial evidence indicating future educational struggles for those children who don't acquire basic reading skills by third grade, Martin West discusses the effectiveness of policies that retain students and provide them with intensive remedial interventions versus those that promote students to keep them with their peers. (Center on Children and Families at Brookings, 2012)...

Does a Summer Reading Program Based on Lexiles Affect Reading Comprehension? - This report presents estimates on the effectiveness of a summer reading program on improving student reading comprehension for economically disadvantaged grade 3 students reading below the 50th percentile nationally. Students were provided books to read over the summer and reminder cards were sent to them in the mail. Findings indicate no significant effect on children reading achievement. Authors conclude that teacher and parent support components may be necessary for a summer reading program to be effective during a single summer, but may be less important if students participate in summer reading programs over a longer time period. Executive summary starts on p. 11. (REL Southwest, March 2012)...

PIRLS 2011 International Results in Reading - PIRLS, an international assessment of reading comprehension in the fourth grade, has been conducted every five years since 2001. For PIRLS 2011, 45 countries assessed fourth-graders; some participated in other options to permit wider participation. Top-performing countries in PIRLS 2011 were Hong Kong SAR, Russian Federation, Finland, and Singapore. There was little reduction in the large gender gap favoring girls. (TIMSS & PIRLS, 2012)...

Nation's Report Card--Findings in Brief: Reading and Mathematics--2011 - This brief report summarizes the major findings from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading and mathematics assessments. The assessments were administered at grades 4 and 8, and the report includes information on students in public and private schools in the nation as well as public school students in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense schools. (NCES, November 2011)...

The Nation's Report Card: Reading 2011 - Fourth-graders' reading comprehension was unchanged from 2009, but improved at grade 8. Two years later, a higher percentage of eighth-graders were reading at or above proficient. Scores were higher in 12 states than in 2009 and lower in two. (National Center for Education Statistics, November 2011)...

What Works for Early Language and Literacy Development - This fact sheet provides an overview of the effectiveness of 15 early literacy intervention programs on improving seven skills -- vocabulary development, verbal fluency and auditory comprehension, phonemic/phonological awareness, letter/word knowledge and print concepts, emergent literacy skills, narrative skills and peer interaction and communication. For each skill, the document lists programs that have demonstrated positive, significant impact; those that have shown mixed results; and those that have not been found to be effective. (Child Trends, June 2011)...

Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation - A student who can't read on grade level by 3rd grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently by that time. Add poverty to the mix, and a student is 13 times less likely to graduate on time than his or her proficient, wealthier peer. (Donald Hernandez, Annie E. Casey Foundation, April 2011)...

Engineering Solutions to the National Crisis in Literacy: How to Make Good on the Promise of the Common Core State Standards - The development of strong literacy skills as a continuum of teaching and learning from birth through grade 12 is essential to ensuring that all young people graduate with the advanced skills essential for success in the modern world. (Alliance for Excellent Education, April 2011)...

Getting in Sync: Revamping Licensure and Preparation for Teachers in Pre-K Kindergarten and the Early Grades - Many teachers in the early grades come from K-5 or K-6 degree programs. The courses taught in educator preparation programs show a lack of focused attention on the recent research on emergent literacy in young children. The analysis of research conducted for this report show many examples of where the current system for training and licensing teachers is out of sync with what research and practice indicates is best for young children. (New America Foundation, March 2011)...

Relationship Between Young Children's Nursery Rhyme Experiences and Knowledge and Phonological and Print-Related Abilities - The authors examined the relationships between nursery rhyme experiences, knowledge and awareness and both phonological- and print-related skills in 12 studies of 5,299 preschoolers. The research synthesis examines nursery rhyme experience and knowledge as determinants of later literacy abilities. (Center for Early Literacy Learning, February 2011)...

Learning to Read: A Guide to Federal Funding for Grade-Level Reading Proficiency - Even during trying fiscal times, nothing is more important than ensuring all children learn to read. A first of its kind, this Finance Project guide helps state and local officials, leaders of community-based and national organizations, school leaders and private investors find funding to strengthen and sustain grade-level reading programs and services for children from birth through third grade. (The Finance Project, February 2011)...

Effective Instruction for Maximizing Kindergartners' Reading Achievement - Many schools across the nation are changing from part- to full-day kindergarten programs. State and local agencies need empirically-based evidence on ways that schools and teachers can best structure the additional instructional time of full-day programs to improve children's early reading skills. Nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study indicate the linkage between success in the early grades and kindergarten reading. (AIR, January 2011)...

The Federal Role in Confronting the Crisis in Adolescent Literacy - Results on reading assessments show that millions of young people leave high school without the advanced reading and writing skills required for career and college success. Young adults who lack these skills will likely be relegated to the ranks of the unskilled workers in a world where literacy is an absolute precondition for success. While federal and state strategies have begun to focus on the adolescent literacy crisis, more than ever it is time to build upon these initial efforts. (Alliance for Excellent Education, September 2010)...

Adolescent Literacy - As technology advances and the American economy grows increasingly knowledge based, individuals must be able to read, write and communicate at higher levels in order to remain economic and social contributors. A student’s level of literacy is a critical determinant of success in secondary school and beyond. An increasing number of students who graduate from high school need remedial coursework in college and are less likely to earn a college degree or certificate. In addition, many of the high school students who leave without a diploma have low literacy skills. (Alliance for Excellent Education, Updated December 2013)...

A Look Inside the Fourth-Grade Reading Classroom - The report provides data on the following aspects of the fourth-grade reading classroom: (1) Teacher background and education; (2) Teacher professional development and training; (3) How teachers organize their classrooms and instruction for reading and language arts; (4) Classroom pedagogy; (5) Use and availability of technology in reading instruction; and (6) Availability of resources and the effect of external influences or policies on teaching and learning in reading and language arts. (Richard Coley, Educational Testing Service, Fall 2010)...

The Enhanced Reading Opportunities Study Final Report: The Impact of Supplemental Literacy Courses for Struggling Ninth-Grade Readers - Over two years, about 6000 eligible students in 34 high schools from 10 districts were randomly assigned to enroll in a year-long enhanced reading opportunities (ERO) class or remain in a regularly scheduled elective class. At the end of the 9th grade, both groups were assessed using a standardized nationally normed reading test and participated in surveys about their reading activities and behaviors. School records were used to examine the effect of the literacy programs on academic performance during the program year and a year afterwards. This study reports the findings. (National Center for Education Statistics/Institute of Education Sciences, July 2010)...

WWC Quick Review of the Report "Summative Evaluation of the Ready to Learn Initiative" - The authors provide a thorough summary of the Summative Evaluation of the Ready to Learn Initiative, evaluating whether early exposure to rich literature resulted in better reading skills. (What Works Clearinghouse, Institute of Education Sciences, June 2010)...

Intervention: Project CRISS (Creating Independence Through Student-Owned Strategies) - Project CRISS is a professional development program for teachers that aims to improve reading, writing and learning for 3rd-12th-grade students. Implementation of Project CRISS calls for a change in teaching style to focus on three primary concepts derived from cognitive psychology and brain research. This overview from the What Works Clearinghouse reviews two studies of Project CRISS that fall within the scope of adolescent literacy review protocol. (What Works Clearinghouse, Institute of Education Sciences, June 2010)...

Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters - Students who don't read well by the end of the 3rd grade have a greater chance of dropping out of high school than their classmates who are better readers. Through 3rd grade, children are learning to read. After that they are reading to learn. If they have not learned to read by the end of the 3rd grade, as much as half of the printed 4th-grade curriculum is incomprehensible. The effects fall more harshly on children from low-income families. If current trends continue, the report says, as many as 83% of lower-income children are at an increased risk of dropping out of high school because they didn't read well by 3rd grade. (Leila Fiester, Annie E. Casey Foundation, May 2010)...

Positive Effects of Literacy Collaborative on Teaching and Student Learning: A Federally Funded Value-Added Study - A four-year longitudinal study of teaching and student achievement resulted in the following primary findings: (1) Students' average rates of learning in grades K-2 increased by 16% in the first implementation year, 28% in the second and 32% in the third year; (2) Teacher expertise increased substantially and the rate of improvement was predicted by the amount of coaching a teacher received; and (3) Professional communication amongst teachers in the schools increased over the three years and the literacy coordinators became more central in their schools' communication networks. (Literacy Collaborative, March 2010)...

Intervention: Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing (LiPS) Program - The LiPS program is designed to teach students the skills they need to decode words and to identify individual sounds and blends in words. LiPS is designed for emergent readers in kindergarten through grade three or for struggling, dyslexic readers. The program is individualized to meet students’ needs and is often used with students who have learning disabilities or difficulties. The version of the program tested here involved computer-supported activities. (Institute of Education Sciences, March 2010)...


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