Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Reading First Editorial Sent by Dr. Stephen Krashen to Boston Herald

Sent to the Boston Herald, July 9

Edward Moscovitch (“No time to close book,” July 8) might want to take a closer look at research on reading. Quoting Secretary Spellings, Moscovitch states that in a recent study, thanks to Reading First, the “vast majority” of states showed increases in the percent of students proficient in reading comprehension.

Not really. Let’s take a closer look at the study, published by the Center for Educational Policy. Only 28 states had sufficient data for analysis at the elementary level. Of these, about 11 (40%) either no gains or "slight" gains, less than a 1% yearly increase in the percentage of children reaching the proficient level. In middle school and high school reading, the results were even less impressive.

Reading First cost about a billion dollars a year, and Reading First children get considerably more instructional time in reading, the equivalent of an extra six weeks every year. A more accurate description of the report is: "Nearly half of the states showed little improvement, despite huge increases in funding and instructional time."

Stephen Krashen

For a copy of Moscovitch’s article and interesting commentary by Gerald Bracey, see:

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