Many districts are determined to increase the reading, writing, and communication proficiency of their students. Early reading (PK to third grade) is a particular focus area, as it is commonly understood that students need to learn to read by third grade so they’ll be ready to “read to learn.” Schools must meet the needs of students at different levels of reading and writing. To achieve this aim, teachers need access to effective ELA curricula and proven interventions for struggling readers, as well as suitable instructional strategies to support all students. They also need ways to help parents support reading at home.
Respondents reported this challenge is urgent
Respondents reported their schools or districts have made progress on this challenge
Elementary school staff responded they experience this challenge often
Middle school staff responded they experience this challenge often
High school staff responded they experience this challenge often
Ideas from the Field
- One approach works to ensure that literacy concepts and standards are integrated into social studies, science, and other subject matters so that no matter what is being taught, literacy skills are part of the process and outcome.
- Incorporating technology for literacy, both with general student populations and English learners, is one emerging trend. Even teachers who were originally resistant to the idea of using technology for literacy came around after seeing how engaged the students became.
Related Innovation Portfolios
Supporting students with a district-wide literacy programMeeting the individual needs of all learners through Response to Intervention
Supporting grade-level literacy through summer school programsOffering two months of summer school with a focus on foundational skills
English learners are chasing leads and breaking newsReaching English learners in grades 3–5 with investigative journalism projects
In the Words of District Staff
“Reading is a complex subject. And you really have to have, especially with strugglers, a high level of expertise to really know the right techniques to support the student.”
“One of the first problems of practice that we talked about with instructional coaches was teaching the skills of close reading in disciplinary content areas…we've got problems with our literacy scores… So how do we teach [disciplinary content area teachers] how to teach literacy in their content areas?”
“So I think it is challenging to meet the needs of students at different levels of reading and writing proficiency both at the struggling levels but also at the high levels. I really believe that we don't always do enough to challenge our kids who really do get it and move them forward. I think that part of the challenge is a lack of access to proven interventions.”
Literacy topic page - From Digital Promise, this page provides an introduction and key findings from the research on the learning and teaching of reading and writing, including links to additional resources.
Reading PK-3 model - From Digital Promise, a research-driven, holistic representation of all of the critical variables that affect how PK-3rd graders learn to read, including proven instructional strategies.
Literacy 4-6 model - From Digital Promise, a research-driven, holistic representation of all of the critical variables that affect how 4th-6th graders learn literacy, including proven instructional strategies.
Supporting Research-based Personalization for Reading Success - From Digital Promise, this report provides an overview of the learning sciences research in early reading.