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Senate Report Promotes Science of Reading, Seeks Input on Improving Literacy

[image of young students sitting next to each other, each using a laptop computer]

Alarmed by a reduction in reading scores nationwide and their implications for the country as a whole, Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, has released a nine-page report entitled “Preventing a Lost Generation: Facing a Critical Moment for Students’ Literacy.” The document provides statistical trends from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) that show a decline in reading scores at all grade levels. Cassidy identifies the problem as a lack of teacher preparation and ensuing lack of classroom implementation for the “science of reading” approach to literacy. The science of literacy as defined in the senator’s report states that “students best learn how to read when they have explicit, systematic, and cumulative instruction in the five key pillars of literacy: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.” The report cites a 2019 EducationWeek article, stating that 75% of early elementary and special education teachers employ a method of three-cueing, often referred to as a balanced literacy approach to teaching reading. According to Cassidy, whose state has banned three-cueing, the adoption of the science of reading method has been impeded because “teachers ignore evidence in favor of expediency.” The senator invites public input regarding the literacy crisis and poses a series of seventeen questions for federal feedback focused on policy, areas beyond policy, supporting parents, and teacher preparation. Email replies are sought by April 5, 2024.


Access the report and list of questions for feedback here.

Posted:  23 February, 2024

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