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NCLB Outrages

‘Reading First’ Not Helping Students Grasp Meaning, Federal Study Finds

If you can't comprehend what you read, then is it reading?

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo

The $1 billion-a-year Reading First program has had no measurable effect on studentsâ reading comprehension, on average, although participating schools are spending significantly more time teaching the basic skills that researchers say children need to become proficient readers, a major federal report finds. . . .
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Reading First Impact Study: Interim Report
NCEE 2008-4016

April 2008

Introduction

Created under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001, the Reading First program provides assistance to states and districts in using research-based reading programs and instructional materials for students in kindergarten through third grade and in introducing related professional development and assessments. The program's purpose is to ensure that increased proportions of students read at or above grade level, have mastery of the essential components of early reading, and that all students can read at or above grade level by the end of grade 3. The law requires that an independent, rigorous evaluation of the program be conducted to determine if the program influences teaching practices, mastery of early reading components, and student reading comprehension. This interim report presents the impacts of Reading First on classroom reading instruction and student reading comprehension during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 school years.

The evaluation found that Reading First did have positive, statistically significant impacts on the total class time spent on the five essential components of reading instruction promoted by the program. The study also found that, on average across the 18 study sites, Reading First did not have statistically significant impacts on student reading comprehension test scores in grades 1-3. A final report on the impacts from 2004-2007 (three school years with Reading First funding) and on the relationships between changes in instructional practice and student reading comprehension is expected in late 2008.

You can access the full report here (pdf file)

You can order this (free) report by phone:
1-877-433-7827.

You can order this (free) report online:
http://tinyurl.com/3qh9qv

— Kathleen Kennedy Manzo
Education Week
2008-05-01


INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES


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