In this information age, where the majority of U.S. jobs are in the fields of science, technology, and engineering, people who are not functionally literate don't have the same opportunities for success as those who are proficient readers.
Children must be able to achieve grade level reading benchmarks in order to learn grade level curriculum. Children who read well become adults who have greater lifetime earnings potential, are healthier socially and physically, and have easier access to lifetime learning.
All stakeholders need to prioritize reading. School leaders must sponsor and actively lead necessary system-wide changes. Teachers must be provided ongoing professional development and support, as well as having a critical role in establishing reading policy/vision. Parents must actively participate in educational planning and development of their children’s reading program.
School systems must create sustainable and integrated systems of reading instruction tiered to support all learners on the path to reading proficiency. Reading systems must effectively target the individual learning needs of diverse populations using intensive, highly effective reading interventions. Districts must maintain high expectations for reading development for English Language Learners (ELLs) and students with learning disabilities, while proficient and advanced readers need to be challenged.
Reading is the most important skill children come to school to learn. All other learning stems from being able to read. We must commit to building a system with the inherent flexibility needed to meet the reading needs of a diverse population. Reading research provides meaningful insight into how children learn to read and what we need to do to help those that have difficulty learning to read. Yet there is a huge gap between what research tells us works (or doesn’t) and what we practice in the classroom.
Rather than playing catch-up with students who fall behind and get left further and further behind, we need an integrated system designed to “catch them before they fall.” Revolutionary, as opposed to evolutionary, changes are needed to overcome current system deficiencies. Fortunately, an intensive tiered system can be used to redesign the teaching process so that learning modes can be targeted to a diverse student population.
Using our highly effective literacy systems, your district will develop these essential components: