A Guide to Reading First

Reading First is a comprehensive program developed by the United States Department of Education to facilitate the development of reading skills of young children. The goal of the program is to help children from kindergarten up to the third grade achieve proficient reading through research-based methods and materials.

The Reading First program funds schools and districts to implement scientifically proven reading instruction to children who are struggling readers. The program focuses on ensuring that children receive instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, reading comprehension, and fluency. By using research-based instructional strategies and materials, students are encouraged to develop the necessary skills for reading success.

The Reading First program was established in 2002, along with No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which aimed to address the achievement gap between groups of students. The program specifically targeted schools with high rates of poverty and low reading achievement, offering them resources and support to increase their reading proficiency rates.

The Reading First program emphasizes the importance of improving teacher training and providing professional development opportunities for educators. This has resulted in increased use of research-based teaching skills, encouraging teachers to understand and use proven instructional practices.

In addition to providing funding, the program also promotes family and community involvement in children’s education. Reading First emphasizes the importance of parent-teacher partnerships and encourages parents to participate in their child’s learning. Parents are also provided with resources to support their child’s reading development at home.

Over the years, the results of the program have been promising. Children who participated in Reading First consistently achieved higher levels of reading ability than those who did not participate in the program. Reading First has also helped to close the achievement gap between student groups, such as low-income students and English language learners.

The future of the Reading First program is uncertain, as it was not included in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced NCLB in 2015. However, the program has had a significant impact on reading proficiency among young children and has inspired many schools and districts to take a more research-based approach to reading instruction.

Overall, Reading First is a valuable program that aims to improve the reading skills of young children in a research-supported way. Its success in improving reading proficiency rates among struggling readers has shown the importance of providing effective reading instruction at a young age.

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