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Reading by Grade 3: Reading First and NCLB
by Sue Whitney, Research Editor, Wrightslaw

According to the U. S. Department of Education:

· Only 32 percent of 4th graders are proficient readers
· Only 33 percent of 8th graders are proficient readers.
· Only 36 percent of 12th graders are proficient readers.
   (Source: Nation's Report Card, 2002)

Because two-thirds of students are not proficient readers when they graduate from high school, No Child Left Behind focuses on teaching children to read.

One purpose of the law is "to ensure that every student can read at grade level or above . . . [by] the end of grade 3."

The law requires schools to implement research-based reading programs and "prepare teachers, including special ed teachers . . so teachers have the tools to effectively help their students learn to read."

NCLB also requires that states and school districts select or develop "effective instructional materials, programs, learning systems, and strategies that have been proven to prevent or remediate reading failure . . ."

The purposes of Reading First are:

(1) To provide assistance to State educational agencies and local educational agencies in establishing reading programs for students in kindergarten through grade 3 that are based on scientifically based reading research, to ensure that every student can read at grade level or above not later than the end of grade 3.

(2) To provide assistance to State educational agencies and local educational agencies in preparing teachers, including special education teachers, through professional development and other support, so the teachers can identify specific reading barriers facing their students and so the teachers have the tools to effectively help their students learn to read.

(3) To provide assistance to State educational agencies and local educational agencies in selecting or administering screening, diagnostic, and classroom-based instructional reading assessments.

(4) To provide assistance to State educational agencies and local educational agencies in selecting or developing effective instructional materials (including classroom-based materials to assist teachers in implementing the essential components of reading instruction), programs, learning systems, and strategies
to implement methods that have been proven to prevent or remediate reading failure within a State.

(5) To strengthen coordination among schools, early literacy programs, and family literacy programs to improve reading achievement for all children. (20 U. S. C. § 6361. Purposes. Section 1201 of NCLB Act)

Links: NCLB & Reading

From U. S. Department of Education
Guidance for the Reading First Program
No Child Left Behind - A Parents Guide
A Toolkit for Teachers
Using Data to Influence Classroom Decisions
Reading, Math, Science Graphs

From Wrightslaw
4 Great Things About Reading in NCLB
Getting Help for Children with Reading Problems
A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind
No Child Left Behind: What Educators, Principals & Administrators Need to Know.

From Others
Implementing the No Child Left Behind Act: What it Means for IDEA (National Association of State Directors of Special Education)
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001- Implications for Special Education Policy and Practice, Selected Sections of Title I and Title II (Council for Exceptional Children, September 2002)
Major Changes to ESEA in the No Child Left Behind Act (Learning First Alliance)

New from Wrightslaw!

Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (ISBN: 1-892320-12-6) is available from Harbor House Law Press. [pre-publication offer]

Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind includes:

* Full text of the No Child Left Behind Act
* Analysis, Interpretation & Commentary
* Advocacy Strategies, Tips & Sample Letters
* No Child Left Behind CD-ROM of Resources and References

Learn what the law says about:

* Scientifically based Reading Instruction
* Annual Proficiency Testing in Reading, Math & Science
* Transfers from Failing Schools and Public School Choice
* New Qualifications for Teachers & Paraprofessionals
* Bonus Pay, Stipends, Scholarships for Teachers & Principals
* Teacher Liability Protection

Bonus! The No Child Left Behind CD-ROM includes the full text of the NCLB statute, regulations, and dozens of publications and resources.

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