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Data Demonstrate Dramatic Improvements in Reading Proficiency of America's Neediest Children

April 25, 2007

Reading First Achievement Data Demonstrate Dramatic Improvements in Reading Proficiency of America's Neediest Children

State-by-state data confirm that the scientifically based reading program is working

Washington, D.C. — This week, the U.S. Department of Education released new state-by-state data on the effectiveness of Reading First, indicating that students who receive instruction through the program achieve strong gains in reading proficiency. Another measure of the program's success since its launch in 2002, the state-by-state data demonstrate that Reading First is working to help our nation's neediest kindergarten through third-grade students significantly improve their reading skills.

"These results are yet another confirmation that Reading First is working on behalf of our children," said Deputy Assistant Secretary Amanda Farris, who oversees the program office responsible for the implementation of Reading First. "Reading First students and teachers are demonstrating tremendous progress in a remarkably short period of time. We rarely see this kind of success from a federal education program."

The state-reported data presented today reveal that students in Reading First schools largely demonstrated impressive gains in reading fluency and comprehension. Students enrolled in the program were assessed beginning in the 2003-2004 school year. Achievement data highlights include:

  • In Reading First schools, the percentage of 1st graders meeting or exceeding proficiency on Reading First fluency outcome measures increased by 14 percentage points (43% to 57%) from 2004 to 2006. 
  • In Reading First schools, the percentage of 3rd graders meeting or exceeding proficiency on Reading First fluency outcome measures increased by 7 percentage points (36% to 43%) from 2004 to 2006. 
  • On average, the 26 States with baseline data increased the percentage of students meeting or exceeding proficiency on fluency outcome measures by 16% for 1st graders, 14% for 2nd graders, and 15% for 3rd graders. 
  • On average, the 26 States with baseline data increased the percentage of students meeting or exceeding proficiency on comprehension outcome measures by 15% for 1st graders, 6% for 2nd graders, and 12% for 3rd graders.

The data released today reinforce the positive indicators from the Reading First Implementation Evaluation interim report released in July 2006. According to the interim report, Reading First students receive on average 100 extra minutes per week of proven, research-based instruction from teachers, tutors and reading coaches. Moreover, the interim report found that Reading First staff received significantly more professional development than did Title I staff, and teachers in Reading First schools spent more time on reading instruction than teachers in non-Reading First Title I schools. Additionally, the Office of Management and Budget's Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) review of Reading First gave the program an "Effective" rating.

Established as part of theNo Child Left Behind Act signed into law by President Bush in 2002, Reading First supports high-quality research-based early reading instructional tools and assessments to help teachers improve student achievement. The program aligns with the goals of No Child Left Behind by providing resources to help children build a solid reading foundation and prepare them to read on grade-level by the end of the third grade.
Reading First is the largest federal reading initiative ever undertaken in the United States. As of the 2005/2006 school year, more than 5,600 schools in 1,600 districts nationwide have participated in Reading First. The program has served approximately 1.8 million students, and more than 100,000 teachers have benefited from its professional development.

For more information on the Reading First program, please visit: http://www.ed.gov/nclb/methods/reading/readingfirst.html


Reading First achievement data are available at:
http://www.ed.gov/programs/readingfirst/performance.html

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