Kappan May 2,2022 by Leah Durán and Michiko Hikuda

…The past five years have seen SoR increasingly mandated in elementary schools as well as in teacher preparation programs. As of 2021, 46 states and the District of Columbia have passed early literacy laws, and most of those laws explicitly require instruction based on SoR (Cummings, 2021; Pondiscio, 2021). At the same time, reading scores on assessments like the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA) are trending down rather than up (Barshay, 2021). Moreover, this is accompanied by increasing inequality; the scores of strong readers are better than ever, and scores for weaker readers are declining (Craw, 2020; Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2018).

No doubt, some of the strategies recommended by SoR advocates are helpful for some students, in some schools. However, genuine, lasting improvement in reading instruction in the U.S. requires more than pedagogical changes; it necessitates structural ones. Fixing reading education is not solely a matter of research or implementation at the classroom level; it also a matter of political will.

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