Explicit, systematic instruction in the essential skills of literacy

No Time to Get Behind

May 13, 2014 10:34 pm

With Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, and the more rigorous Common Core State Standards, we are constantly faced with the challenge of choosing instructional tools that insure the success of all students. It is a daunting responsibility for all educators. The literature on school improvement suggests many viewpoints, some with compelling evidence, that we should try everything and anything that comes along in the hopes that it will be the magic bullet. The danger that is inherent in the bandwagon approach is that time is an enemy for children who struggle. We really need to get it right, or as close to it as possible, from the very beginning.

Although not every intervention will have controlled randomized trials, there is enough scientific evidence of what works in the field of teaching reading and spelling that we shouldn’t find ourselves to far afield of promising practices.

Teaching is rocket science.

Developing an appropriate reading program should be based on scientific principles that are widely available. The program should be living and breathing, responsive to the needs of the children it serves. Data gathering and analysis should be an integral part of the program, allowing it to be fine-tuned until the desired results are realized. Let the science guide us into becoming highly skilled practitioners who insure that no child leaves the classroom not being able to read and spell.

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