Alliance for Excellent Education’s New Report Urges Higher Expectations for All Students in Reading and Writing, and New Approach to Improving These Skills
Reading and writing instruction must be included in all academic areas if literacy is to improve to levels that will ensure the nation’s middle and high school students are prepared for success in college, work, and citizenship, according to a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education.
Literacy Instruction in the Content Areas: Getting to the Core of Middle and High School Improvement, a report to Carnegie Corporation of New York, argues that the acceptable standard for all students must exceed simply reading at grade level. Only advanced reading skills will truly prepare students to meet the challenges of education beyond high school, the needs of the workplace, and the demands of the 21st century. The report contends that these increased expectations are best met by providing added instruction that corresponds with the specific reading and writing requirements of each academic course in middle and high school.
“The only way to guarantee that future generations will succeed in the 21st century is by raising expectations and meeting them with reading and writing strategies for each course,”says Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia.
Written by Cynthia R. Greenleaf, codirector of the Strategic Literacy Initiative at WestEd, and Rafael Heller, senior policy associate at the Alliance for Excellent Education, the report calls on district, state, and federal policymakers to ensure that
1) It is explicitly understood that it is not the job of the teacher for each academic course to provide basic reading instruction.
2) Members of every academic area define the reading and writing skills that are specific to their course and which they should be responsible for teaching.
3) All middle and high school teachers receive initial and ongoing professional development in teaching the reading and writing skills that are specific to their own courses.
4) School and district rules and regulations, education funding mechanisms, and state standards and accountability systems combine to give teachers positive incentives and appropriate tools with which to provide reading and writing instruction.
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The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington-based policy, research, and advocacy organization that works to make every child a graduate, prepared for postsecondary education and success in life.
For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit: www.all4ed.com.