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Research Based Reading Programs
& Reading Assessments

Note: Congress has reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the statute formerly known as No Child Left Behind. The new statute, Every Student Succeeds Act, was signed into law by President Obama on December 10, 2015.


The No Child Left Behind Act includes requirements about research based instruction, screening and diagnostic reading assessments, and highly-qualified teachers. One purpose of NCLB is "to ensure that every student can read at grade level or above . . . [by] the end of grade 3."

When IDEA 2004 was reauthorized, Congress incorporated many NCLB requirements to make these laws consistent.

As a result, parents, teachers, administrators are searching for reliable information about research based programs. Where can you find information about reading programs that have research that supports their effectiveness?

The Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) reviewed reading curricula and materials (2002 through 2008) and published reports on reading programs on its website. Note: Unfortunately these reports are no longer available at FRCC.

The No Child Left Behind Act also requires schools to use screening and diagnostic reading assessments that meet specific requirements. The Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) site includes useful information about these assessments.

Reports on Reading Programs [No longer available at FCRR]

In addition to describing dozens of reading programs, these reports [No longer available at FCRR] provide information on the extent to which their content, organization, and instructional strategies are consistent with scientifically based research in reading. (See 4 Great Definitions About Reading in No Child Left Behind)

The reports [No longer available at FCRR] are intended to help teachers, principals, and district personnel choose materials that will be used by skilled teachers to provide effective instruction. They are also useful to parents who want to find out whether their child's school is using a reading program that has solid research that supports its use.

You will want to read the reports carefully. The Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) organized them so that a single report may be located under more than one category.

View the Alphabetized Summary Table of FCRR Reports at
[Tables no longer available at FCRR]

The table describes several characteristics of the programs:

Type of Program

1 = Comprehensive Core Reading Program
2 = Supplemental Intervention or Comprehensive Intervention Program
3 = Technology-Based Program
4 = Program that may be implemented by a tutor or mentor
5 = Intervention or Remedial Program for students above third grade

6 = Pre-Kindergarten Program
7 = Professional Development Program

Reading Components - The extent to which the five essential components of a reading program are taught or practiced (Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, Comprehension).

Grade(s) Reviewed

Notes about Programs - Information about whether the reading program is explicit, systematic, whether ample practice opportunities are provided, whether extensive professional development is required, and so forth.

How to Use the Reports

When you click the name of a reading program, your browser will open a pdf document that includes detailed information about the program, including the research that supports its use.

If, for example, you are looking for core reading programs (category 1) for grades K-3, you will find a surprisingly short list:

* Project Read
* Sing, Spell, Read & Write
* Success for All
* Voyager Universal Literacy Program

(Reading Recovery is not listed) If you are looking for intervention or remedial programs (category 5) for students above 3rd grade, you will find more choices.

When you click the link for a reading program - for example, Success for All (a core program for grades K-3; meets criteria for Reading First) - you will view a document that describes the program, the underlying premise of the program (that all children can and should be reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade), how reading instruction is delivered, unique features, alignment with Reading First, professional development requirements, research, strengths and weaknesses, resources, and counties in Florida that have used the program (and their phone numbers).

Note: According to the website, whether or not a program has been reviewed does not constitute endorsement or lack of endorsement by the FCRR. The programs for which reports are available do not constitute an “approved” or “required” list, since many potentially useful programs have not yet been reviewed.

The No Child Left Behind Act includes specific requirements for screening and diagnostic reading assessments. The Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) site includes useful information about these assessments.

Screening Tests and Progress Monitoring (DIBELS)
Screening tests provide the teacher with an assessment of the student's preparation for grade-level reading instruction. Progress monitoring tests keep the teacher informed about the student's progress in learning to read at grade level throughout the school year. Scroll down this page for detailed information about screening and diagnostic tests.

Diagnostic Tests
No Child Left Behind requires schools to use diagnostic tests that provide the detailed information about a student's skills and knowledge that is necessary to plan appropriate instruction. List of diagnostic tests to assess reading skills in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Reading & Research Based Instruction: Resources for Parents & Teachers:

DIBELS Parent Guide files/ParentBrochure.pdf

Get Ready to Read: Tips and activities for parents with young children.

Get Ready to Read Screening Tool

A Guide for Parents: How Do I Know a Good Early Reading Program When I See One?

A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind

Preventing Reading Difficulties and Reading Failure: Early Intervention and Prevention

Reading Rockets: Launching Young Readers

Simple Ways To Help Your Elementary Child Learn to Read - These suggestions are from research about how children learn to read. If you do some of these activities regularly, your child is likely to make faster progress in learning to read.

What Are the Criteria for Remedial Reading Programs?
Three reasons for reading failure, six qualities of effective reading programs, requirements for research based reading programs - and the price children pay when we do not teach them to read.

What Teachers, Principals & School Administrators Need to Know About NCLB

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Revised: 10/29/18
Created: 02/14/06

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