Putting Reading First
There is a reading crisis in America. Among fourth graders, 40 percent could not read at a basic level in 1998. Even worse, in the highest-poverty schools, 68 percent of fourth-graders could not read at a basic level. This week President Bush is highlighting the importance of effective reading for children. Reading is the cornerstone of an effective education for every child in America. The President is calling on Congress to finish the job on his education reform package.
|Putting Reading First|
|Why Put Reading First?|
|The President's Reading Initiative|
|Mrs. Bush's Reading and Education Initiatives|
|Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries|
|Reading and Education Initiatives|
Why Put Reading First?
There is a reading crisis in America. Among fourth graders, 40 percent could not read at basic level in 1998, as measured by the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) reading exam. Even worse, in the highest-poverty schools, 68 percent of fourth-graders could not read at basic level. NAEP data released in April 2000 revealed that reading scores in the United States have remained stagnant for more than a decade.
Research on reading instruction has clearly demonstrated effective ways to improve reading skills. Recent studies conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), conclude that: (1) effective reading instruction involves a balanced approach, which includes explicit instruction in phonics and phonological awareness skills; and (2) an emphasis on phonics-based instruction is particularly important for disadvantaged children and others at risk for reading failure.
The research community, as well as education leaders across the country, recognize it is time to promote full-scale systemic reform in reading based on the breakthrough research in methods of instruction.
Laura Bush's Reading and Education Initiatives
Laura Bush hosted the National Book Festival on September 8 to highlight the importance of reading and libraries in the U.S. To coincide with this event, Mrs. Bush established the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries which she created to enhance the collections of school libraries across the country.