Children in Reading First classrooms receive significantly more reading instruction and schools participating in the program are much more likely to have a reading coach, according to the Reading First Implementation Evaluation: Interim Report, released today by the U.S. Department of Education. The report shows significant differences between what Reading First teachers report about their instructional practices and the responses of teachers in non-Reading First Title I schools, which are demographically similar to the Reading First schools.
“The goal of Reading First is to help teachers translate scientific insights into practical tools they can use in their classrooms,” Secretary Spellings said. “The program is helping millions of children and providing teachers with high-quality, research-based support. As we push towards our ultimate goal of every child reading and doing math on grade level by 2014, Reading First is a valuable help to our efforts.”
The report shows Reading First schools appear to be implementing the major elements of the program as intended by the No Child Left Behind legislation. Reading First respondents reported that they made substantial changes to their reading materials and that the instruction is more likely to be aligned with scientifically based reading research; they are more likely to have scheduled reading blocks and spend more time teaching reading; they are more likely to apply assessment results for instructional purposes, and they receive professional development focused on helping struggling readers more often than non-Reading First Title I schools in the evaluation.
Reading First funds, subject to some controversy, were rejected by the Madison School District a few years ago. UW’s Mark Seidenberg wrote a letter to Isthmus addressing reading last year (.doc file). More on Seidenberg.
Madison School Board Superintendent Art Rainwater wrote an email responding to a Wisconsin State Journal’s Editorial.
One thought on “ED.Gov: New Report Shows Progress in Reading First Implementation and Changes in Reading Instruction”
Here’s an irony that I’d previously overlooked. The MMSD teachers wrote:
“In 2001, 52.7% of Midvale/Lincoln third graders were “proficient” and “advanced” while in 2004 66.9% of the students were proficient or advanced, according to the Department of Public Instruction’s Web site. This is a 14.2% increase, not the decline stated in the editorial.”
The teacher misunderstood the math of percentages. The increase was not 14.2%, but an increase of 14.2 percentage points.
In fact, 114 students read at proficient or advanced levels in 2001. In 2004, 115 students read at those levels.
I hope that the superintendent took these teachers to task, as he did the State Journal:
“There are always legitimate disagreements that can be made over many of the decisions that the District makes. However, using inaccurate and clearly wrong data to make those arguments should never be acceptable.”
As I always say, you can take nothing from the MMSD at face value. When someone from the MMSD makes an assertion, be sure to check the facts. Usually the facts don’t support the assertion.
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