Controversy: What Is "Evidence-Based Reading Instruction"? (Curriculum Update: The Latest Developments in Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies)

Article excerpt

Confused by the challenge of determining what reading materials are a good match for the children in your district's individual schools and classrooms? You're not alone.

Because of the controversy about and the need for clarification of terms included in the President's "No Child Left Behind" legislation, the International Reading Association has released a new position statement: "What is Evidence-Based Reading Instruction?" The short answer is that it's a particular program or collection of instructional practices that have a record of success. And evidence of that record is objective, valid, reliable, systematic research approved for publication by an independent review panel.

Deciding whether instructional strategies and routines central to a particular program makes it a match for the particular children being taught is often the most difficult part. The position statement offers specific questions for administrators and teachers to ask themselves as they review materials.

For example:

* Does the program feature strategies that have been proven to relate to high rates of achievement in reading for the children being taught?

* Are there assessment tools that assist teachers in identifying individual learning needs?

* Do the literacy materials meet the needs and interests (i. …