SOE News

Seeking a way forward to improve childhood literacy

In U.S. schools, struggling readers need more help than they are now getting.

Only about 36 percent of fourth graders were proficient in reading, according to the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The benchmark is important because research has demonstrated that children who are not reading proficient by the fourth grade lag through the remainder of their schooling.

The Business Roundtable, a national organization of corporate chief executive officers, recently issued a report — “Why Reading Matters and What To Do About It” — urging policy changes to support efforts to improve reading proficiency among U.S. students in the K-3 grades. It urges states to adopt a range of policies with the aim of improving reading instruction in the early grades.

School of Education faculty member Lynne Vernon-Feagans  has led a research program that has developed and is evaluating a reading intervention that has been shown to be highly effective in helping teachers who work with struggling readers. Through the Targeted Reading Intervention, reading experts at the campus in Chapel Hill use webcam technology to watch teachers in distant schools work with struggling readers, coaching the teachers in the TRI technique.

Carolina’s School of Education hosted a conversation about the Business Roundtable report and the Targeted Reading Intervention as part of its “EDTalks” series. The participants were Vernon-Feagans and Susan Gates, special advisor on education at SAS Institute, the analytics and data management software firm based in Cary, N.C. Gates had a leading role in developing the Business Roundtable report. Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, dean of Carolina’s School of Education, moderated the discussion.

#SOElongform has the video of their conversation, an edited transcript and links to the Business Roundtable Report and more information about the Targeted Reading Intervention.

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