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Informing Adolescent Literacy Policy and Practice: Lessons Learned from the Striving Readers Program

Jul 01, 2009

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Although a growing body of research points to the critical need to foster reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills for students in order to ensure their success in college, careers, and life, these efforts have tended to focus more on developing literacy skills in the early years, often ignoring secondary students. The outcome has been undeniable: While the literacy skills of students in the primary grades have improved, achievement for middle and secondary students has remained virtually unchanged. The Striving Readers program is the main federal effort aimed at reversing these trends at the secondary school level. After the first year of implementation, the Alliance for Excellent Education convened representatives of seven of the Striving Readers projects. This policy brief takes a look their experiences as well as other research and strategies that have been successful in the field in order to assist in shaping the next phase of the federal effort in adolescent literacy. Recommendations are made for both program and policy in an attempt to promote a more cohesive and comprehensive adolescent literacy effort for secondary students.

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