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May 06, 2009

Federal Study: Four Reading Programs Don't Have Positive Impact

A large-scale randomized control study released yesterday by the federal government doesn't give us much insight into reading programs that are effective because it found that three of the four reading programs examined didn't have a positive impact and one had a negative impact on students' reading...

May 04, 2009

Taking Reading Instruction Beyond the Primary Grades

Two reports have been released in the last few days that stress the need for states to have a statewide focus on adolescent literacy. Both reports challenge the traditional assumption that reading instruction in schools should end at grade 3. They emphasize that quite a lot of research is availabl...

April 17, 2009

Judith Krug, Helped Librarians Fight Book Bans, Dies at 69

When Banned Books Week is commemorated for the 27th time this fall, the annual list of texts slated for possible removal from school libraries will be shorter than previously, if it follows the trend of the last few years. And it's expected that there will be many more books on the list that were "c...

April 03, 2009

Commentary: Release Education to Free-Market Forces

Reading First failed to have stellar results not because it favored a systematic use of phonics but because it was implemented by the federal government, argues Andrew J. Coulson over at Cato @ Liberty. Coulson writes: "If we want schools around the country to continually adopt and refine the best ...

March 25, 2009

Prepare Students for Tests With Knowledge

In this New York Times op-ed, E.D. Hirsch Jr. calls for improvement in the reading passages on standardized tests to reflect the content of the curriculum. Hirsch has railed against the teaching of reading strategies over subject matter, and, as the founder of the Core Knowledge curriculum, promotes...

February 24, 2009

Tension Over Spending for Reading First

"Reading First is still out" of the spending bill for fiscal 2009 expected to soon be taken up by the U.S. Congress, according to my colleague Alyson Klein over at Politics K-12. But at the same time, Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon of California, the top Republican in the House Education and Labor Com...

February 11, 2009

Reading First Positions Getting Cut

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 dev...

February 11, 2009

Book Accessories?

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is accusing Scholastic Inc. of using school book clubs to sell video games, jewelry kits, and toy cars, The New York Times reported this week. A spokeswoman for the Boston-based advocacy group said it reviewed brochures for Scholastic's book club for 2nd ...

February 09, 2009

If You Ban Them, Readers Will Come

There is a fairly regular stream of stories in the news about schools and districts tackling requests to ban or restrict students' access to books that a parent or community member finds offensive or inappropriate. I wrote about one case in Fayetteville, Ark., that sparked heated debate over dozens ...

January 30, 2009

What's a "Coach" in Reading First?

One major piece of the Reading First program is the money it provides schools to hire reading "coaches," who work to improve the skills of fellow teachers. Under the federal law, money flows to states, which provide grants to schools and districts to adopt "scientifically based" reading programs and...

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