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4 Great Definitions About Reading

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We support the No Child Left Behind Act because it emphasizes reading, math and science, annual testing of reading and math, highly qualified teachers, and requirements that schools and school districts report their progress to the community every year (transparency).

NCLB includes four important legal definitions: reading, essential components of reading instruction; scientifically based reading research, and diagnostic reading assessment. Pete has used the language in these legal definitions in cases when school districts failed to use research based reading programs.

1. Reading

The term 'reading' means a complex system of deriving meaning from print that requires all of the following:

(A) The skills and knowledge to understand how phonemes, or speech sounds, are connected to print.
(B) The ability to decode unfamiliar words.
(C) The ability to read fluently.
(D) Sufficient background information and vocabulary to foster reading comprehension.
(E) The development of appropriate active strategies to construct meaning from print.
(F) The development and maintenance of a motivation to read.
2. Essential components of reading instruction

The term 'essential components of reading instruction' means explicit and systematic instruction in-

(A) phonemic awareness;
(B) phonics;
(C) vocabulary development;
(D) reading fluency, including oral reading skills; and
(E) reading comprehension strategies.

3. Scientifically based reading research

The term 'scientifically based reading research' means research that-

(A) applies rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain valid knowledge relevant to reading development, reading instruction, and reading difficulties;
(B) includes research that-
(i) employs systematic, empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment;
(ii) involves rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions drawn;
(iii) relies on measurements or observational methods that provide valid data across evaluators and observers and across multiple measurements and observations; and
(iv) has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review.

4. Diagnostic reading assessment

The term 'diagnostic reading assessment' means an assessment that is-

(i) valid, reliable, and based on scientifically based reading research; and
(ii) used for the purpose of-
(I) identifying a child's specific areas of strengths and weaknesses so that the child has learned to read by the end of grade 3;
(II) determining any difficulties that a child may have in learning to read and the potential cause of such difficulties; and
(III) helping to determine possible reading intervention strategies and related special needs.
A Special Message to Parents of Kids with Disabilities

Some parents say, "My child receives special ed services so No Child Left Behind doesn't apply to him."

Yes, it does!

No Child Left Behind requires schools to meet the educational needs of children who are often "left behind" --English language learners, low income kids, minority kids, homeless kids - and yes, children with disabilities.

Most children with disabilities have weaknesses in reading. Read the "essential components of reading instruction." Does your child's reading program pass muster? Has the school given your child a diagnostic reading assessment? What did this assessment show?

Schools that receive Title I funds must publicly report their progress educating all children and subgroups groups of children to parents and the community.

More NCLB Resources

No Child Left Behind includes many new responsibilities and requirements for states, school districts, and schools. The law also includes new rights and responsibilities for children who attend public schools that receive Title I funds and their parents. Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind will help you sort through these issues.

FAQs: Reading & NCLB - Answers to frequently asked questions about reading and NLCB:

- Answers to questions about accountability, doing what works, school choice, safe schools, testing, and teachers.

Parent's Guide to NCLB - Learn what NCLB means to parents.

More articles and resources about NCLB

Rev: 02/27/09

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