More than ever, students need advanced literacy skills to succeed in a fast-paced global economy. Yet during the past four decades, the literacy performance of seventeen-year-olds on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has remained relatively flat overall. International measures of reading place American fifteen-year-olds seventeenth among developed nations in reading, lagging behind such countries as Poland, Estonia, and Belgium. Moreover, students who struggle to read and write make up a substantial portion of the 1 million students who leave high school without a diploma each year.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires schools and educators to provide high-quality instruction and evidence-based intervention strategies to teach reading and writing within subject areas and across grade levels. To support educators in this work, ESSA provides competitive state grants to help local school districts develop comprehensive birth-through-grade-twelve literacy instruction plans through the “Literacy Education for All, Results for a Nation” (LEARN) Act. The Alliance for Excellent Education’s reports Reading Next and Writing Next offer practitioners effective research-based strategies for improving adolescent literacy.
Literacy is one of the most critical components of academic success, but the majority of students are leaving high school without the reading and writing skills needed to succeed in college and a career.