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Congressional Committee Mulls Ways to Improve Literacy

The U.S. House of Representative's subcommittee on early childhood, elementary and secondary education held a hearing yesterday on improving literacy and reading comprehension. In the high school space, much has been made lately of the need to boost adolescents' reading and writing skills, and to revamp the way high schools teach that stuff. (That is to say, the need to teach literacy explicitly, and tailor that teaching to each subject in which it's taught. I wrote a story recently about a major report by the Carnegie Corporation of New York on this, and another about a high school in Alabama that weaves literacy through its curriculum.)

Speakers at yesterday's hearing gave more than a passing nod to the recent strong focus on adolescent literacy.

The opening statement by Rep. Dale Kildee, the Michigan Democrat who chairs the subcommittee, and the prepared comments of all the speakers—as well as an archived webcast of the hearing, if you'd rather listen or watch—can be found here.

Most of the testimony didn't address the adolescent literacy angle, but a couple of the speakers did. Mary Kay Doré provides an on-the-ground account of how her Colorado district focused on literacy in elementary school and has begun to move it up into middle school. Andrés Henríquez, the program officer who oversees the Carnegie Corporation's adolescent literacy work, provides an overview of the issue in his testimony.

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