No Reading Progress?
Criteria for Remedial Reading Programs

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October 14, 2008

ISSN: 1538-3202

Issue: 457
Subscribers: 64,972

In This Issue:

Three Reasons for Reading Failure

Six Qualities of Effective Reading Programs

A Model Reading Program: Reading First

11 Questions to Ask about Your Child's Reading Program


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Meet Sue Whitney

Sue Whitney

Sue is Research Editor at Wrightslaw and the co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

In Doing Your Homework, she writes about creative strategies for using federal education standards to advocate for children and to improve public schools.

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Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043



Copyright © 2008, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved. Please do NOT reprint or host on your web site without explicit permission.

Young girl reading

Is your child in remedial reading but not making any progress?

Or perhaps she spent a year in remedial reading but only made three months progress. This means she actually fell further behind her peers.

The fact that most schools fail to use research based reading programs that are implemented by trained teachers is the main reason why only 32 percent of children are proficient readers by the end of 3rd grade.

It makes you wonder about the kind of remedial program the school is using and how effective it is.

So what ARE the criteria for remedial reading programs?

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate Sue Whitney, Research Editor at Wrightslaw, explains the reasons for reading failure and the requirement for research based programs that are implemented by "trained" teachers.

Please don't hesitate to forward this issue of the Special Ed Advocate to other families, friends, and colleagues.

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Three Reasons for Reading Failure

Boy having difficulty readingTragically, 75 percent of children who are not proficient readers by the end of third grade will never be proficient readers.

In What are the Criteria for Remedial Reading Programs, Sue Whitney says:

"I am not aware of any research showing that a research based program will work if it is used by a teacher who is not properly trained, if the teacher-student ratio is wrong, if the required hours per day and week are wrong, or if the program is wrong for the child's stage of reading development."

Reading programs will not teach your child to read proficiently if:

1. The program is not appropriate for the child,
2. There are too many students in the reading class,
3. The pace of the instruction is too rapid for children to achieve mastery of skills presented.

Stages of Reading Development

If the reading program is not matched to your child's stage of reading development and is not sufficiently intense to bring his skills to where they need to be for his age and grade, it is worthless for your child.

If the program is not appropriate for your child's reading stage, it will be ineffective for him, even if it works for other children his age.

For more information about the stages of reading development, read the complete text of the article, What are the Criteria for Remedial Reading Programs.

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Six Qualities of Effective Reading Programs

Girl reading1. Effective programs are driven by reading research, not ideology.

2. Effective programs emphasize direct, systematic, intensive, and sustained reading.

3. Effective programs require school-wide buy-in before they are adopted.  

4. Effective programs are supported by initial professional development and extended follow-up training throughout the school year. 

5. When implementing an effective program, the school needs to be committed to the integrity of the program's instructional approach and materials. 

6. Effective programs make effective use of instructional time, provide multiple reading opportunities, and employ a variety of reading assessments.

Source: Considerations When Selecting a Reading Program.

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A Model Reading Program: Reading First
Reading First, a model program from the U.S. Department of Education calls for 90 minutes of instruction per day, 5 days a week, from kindergarten through grade 3.

Children who are not making sufficient progress receive additional instruction.

This model assumes that reading instruction takes place in general education classrooms. Children are not allowed to fall behind. They are given the instruction they need when they need it.

"A high-quality reading program that is based on scientifically based research must include instructional content based on the five essential components of reading instruction integrated into a coherent instructional design.

"The design should also consider the allocation of time, including a protected, uninterrupted block of time for reading instruction of more than 90 minutes per day. "

Reading First from the US Dept of EducationRead more about the Guidance for the Reading First Program, from the U.S. Department of Education in the article, What are the Criteria for Remedial Reading Programs.

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11 Questions to Ask About Your Childs' Reading Program
Mother and son read togetherHere are some questions you need to ask about your child's reading program:

1. What is the name of my child's reading program?

2. Is the reading program researched-based? Does the program include the five essential elements identified by the National Reading Panel and required by No Child Left Behind?

3. How many children will be in my child's reading group?

4. How have the children in this group been selected?

5. Has the teacher been trained in direct, systematic, multisensory reading instruction?

6. Is the teacher certified in this particular program?

7. Has the teacher completed a supervised practicum in this program?

8. How many hours of instruction per week will my child receive?

9. How will the pace of the instruction be determined?

10. What criteria will be used to determine mastery?

11. How will I be informed about my child's progress?

More information about Reading and Research Based Reading Programs.

Learn more about teaching children to read.

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