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No Miracle Cure: Selecting a Reading Curriculum

by Anne-Evan Williams, LGL Director of Educational Development

The What Works Clearinghouse has recently released the results of several studies of early elementary reading programs, giving some accolades and others heavy criticism.  It comes as no surprise, however, that no one program was effective for teaching all reading students.

Just as students come in all shapes and sizes, so do their reading skills; there is no one-size-fits-all version of reading instruction or early reading intervention.  In a recent blog entry on Eduflak, "Reading the Research," it is suggested that too many school districts are selecting a reading program in its entirety, in hopes that it will solve all their reading woes.  Eduflak suggests that we "really look under the hood, taking a close look at what the program is built on and what results the program is getting."

Eduflak and the What Works Clearinghouse have hit the nail on the head.  While some programs are strong in certain reading skills, they might be weak in others.  And just as some students may be strong in some reading skills, they too may be weak in others.  What's important for educators, particularly when choosing instructional materials, is both to know your students and know the instructional programs you are considering.  Know their strengths and weaknesses.  Then, feel comfortable enough with your instructional materials to match students with the instruction that best meets their needs.  No, there is no miracle cure.  There is no one program that will solve all your reading woes, but there are many good programs out there that when paired well with students, will definitely help!

Tags: reading instruction, reading curriculum, reading program

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