The mission of The National Right to Read Foundation is to educate, advocate and encourage the application of the definitive findings of experimental, empirical research in reading instruction. This is the critical ingredient needed to move forward with the reforms necessary to reduce, and ultimately eliminate illiteracy.
Reading curricula for colleges of education and for public, private, sectarian and home-schooled students should all include direct, systematic instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, fluency and comprehension that decades of experimental, empirical research have proven to be the most effective.
All students must first “learn to read” proficiently. Then, and only then, will they be able to “read to learn” and thus have access to the vast treasure house of literature available at home, online, in the workplace, and in libraries everywhere. The National Right to Read Foundation is committed to providing information on a variety of scientifically validated resources to help parents and teachers accomplish these objectives.
The Problem: Students Struggling to Read and Failing in School
According to the Nation’s Report Card and the National Reading Panel, only 32% of 4th grade students and 31% of 8th grade students read at grade level. Further, as the 2015n scores are still coming in, the 2013 scores indicate that 62% of 12th graders in the United States read below the level of proficient. What we have seen from the 2015 scores continues to paint a bleak picture of the nature of reading in America. Reading instruction, in its current manifestation, clearly, is not working.
There are many experimental methods of teaching reading that are commonly used in schools across America. Because publishers often change the name of these methods, it can be difficult to know if your school is on the right track.
Here are a few terms and methods to beware of:
Methods that rely on students being read to and the student memorizing content
Balanced Approach/Balanced Literacy
“Skip it”, “guess it”, “take a run at it”, “start over”, “look at the picture clue”, or “what word that begins with that letter would make sense?”
The Solution: A Phonics-Based, Systematic, and Scientifically Validated Method of Instruction
Rather than focus on what should not be included in a reading instructional program, it is more important to know what should be. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development studies show that systematic, explicit teaching changes brain patterns and dramatically improves reading scores. So, specifically, what does work? The National Reading Panel has the solution.
Image courtesy of The National Right To Read Foundation (www.nrrf.org)