1 THE NATIONAL . READING . PANEL REPORT : Practical Advice for Teachers Timothy Shanahan University of Illinois at Chicago Timothy Shanahan University of Illinois at Chicago 1120 East Diehl Road, Suite 200. Naperville, IL 60563-1486. 800-252-0283 > 630-649-6500. Copyright 2005 Learning Point Associates, sponsored under government contract number ED-01-CO-0011. All rights reserved. This work was originally produced in whole or in part by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL ) with funds from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Department of Education, under contract number ED-01-CO-0011. The content does not necessarily reflect the position or policy of IES or the Department of Education, nor does mention or visual representation of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the federal government. NCREL remains one of the 10 regional educational laboratories funded by the Department of Education and its work is conducted by Learning Point Associates.
2 Learning Point Associates, North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, and NCREL are trademarks or registered trademarks of Learning Point Associates. Contents The NATIONAL READING Oral READING Fluency ..18. PANEL REPORT ..1 Some Definitions and Distinctions ..18. Should We Even Care What the REPORT Says? ..1 Does Fluency Instruction Make a Difference? ..18. Why Research? ..3 How Do We Teach Fluency? ..19. How the PANEL Worked ..3 Advice for Teachers on What Has Happened Since the Teaching Oral READING Fluency ..20. NATIONAL READING PANEL ? ..5 Oral READING Fluency Summary ..22. Phonemic Awareness ..6 Vocabulary ..23. Some Definitions and Distinctions ..6 Some Definitions and Distinctions ..23. Developmental Sequence ..7 Does Vocabulary Instruction Improve READING ? ..24. Does Phonemic Awareness Advice for Teachers on Teaching Vocabulary ..25. Instruction Improve READING ?
3 8. Vocabulary Summary ..27. How Much Phonemic Awareness Instruction Do Children Need? ..8 Comprehension Strategies ..28. What Kinds of Phonemic Awareness Some Definitions and Distinctions ..28. Instruction Are Best? ..8. Can READING Comprehension More Advice for Teachers on Be Taught Directly? ..29. Teaching Phonemic Awareness ..9. Advice for Teachers on Phonemic Awareness Summary ..10 Teaching READING Comprehension ..30. READING Comprehension Summary ..33. Phonics ..11. Some Definitions and Distinctions ..11 Final Words ..34. Does Phonics Instruction Improve READING ? ..12. Advice for Teachers on Teaching Phonics ..14 References ..36. Phonics Summary ..17 Appendixes Appendix A. Tables ..40. Appendix B. Resources ..44. The forth opinions or even strive for consensus . but was to understand the actual research NATIONAL READING findings so schools could proceed to do what was best for children.
4 PANEL REPORT Since it first appeared, the NATIONAL READING PANEL REPORT ( NATIONAL Institute of Child Health and Human Development [NICHD], Context: It is the 1990s and dark shadows 2000) has been translated into various lie across the land of READING education. Time summary documents, educational policies, and other news magazines begin referring and designs for curriculum materials. Even to READING wars, war being an apt metaphor so, the REPORT is still not accessible to many for the bitter debates over how to teach teachers and principals, and the various READING that were raging in the nation. On summaries have been criticized for their one side are those who view the hallmark inadequacy and inaccuracy (Allington, 2002;. of sound literacy education as a sufficiently Shanahan, 2003, 2004). The REPORT itself is supportive environment: If classrooms more than 500 pages and was written by provided books that were compelling, if a committee of scientists; the multiple classroom routines were not so routine, if it authorship resulted in some inconsistency could be possible for children to love READING of style, voice, and accessibility of the writing.
5 Enough, then READING would happen. On the The purpose of this monograph is to try other side are those more focused on explicit to summarize, explain, and provide advice teaching: If we could provide all children with for teachers about how to use the findings the skills needed, if we could teach READING of the NATIONAL READING PANEL REPORT . But, well enough, if we could teach READING early first, some preliminaries: enough, then all children would be able to read. Response: When this war of words between Should We Even Care whole-language and basic-skills philosophies became so intense that it disrupted schooling What the REPORT Says? and threatened to undermine confidence in Of course, there are many books on READING public education, something unprecedented education and thousands of vendors, took place. For the first time in history, the consultants, professors, and other experts on federal government, under President Bill the subject.
6 There are even a large number of Clinton and the Congress, required that authoritative reports written with the idea of a group of scientists, teachers, administrators, shaping READING education. There are so many and teacher educators determine what alternative sources of information, why should research had to say about READING . This PANEL , anyone listen to the NATIONAL READING PANEL ? the NATIONAL READING PANEL , was not to put What gives this REPORT any special legitimacy? 1 Learning Point Associates First, the PANEL was composed of a group of PANEL issued extensive plans for how 14 outstanding scholars who had been selected to identify questions, search the research by NICHD Director Duane Alexander and literature, select studies, and combine the Secretary of Education Richard Riley from studies into findings. These procedures were a list of 300 nominees offered by educational made public early in the process.
7 This means organizations and agencies such as the the PANEL could not begin with predetermined International READING Association and results; that is, simply selecting studies that the NATIONAL READING Conference. fit a previously chosen set of conclusions. Second, the panelists were prohibited from Fifth, the PANEL drew evidence only from having financial ties to commercial publishers; the types of research that permit a high they were required to provide financial degree of certainty in determining what disclosure statements and sign affidavits instructional actions cause higher achievement. attesting to their independence from financial Because the goal was to identify instructional conflicts of interest. Someone who might practices that confer a learning benefit, it was have profited from the work may have been deemed essential the studies be ones in which able to do it without bias, but teachers and instructional practices were tested by teachers parents should not have to worry about the in classrooms under conditions that allowed role of financial influence in such decisions, the learning benefits or lack of benefits.
8 And with the NATIONAL READING PANEL that to be measured. Although other kinds of is not a concern. research are valuable, they cannot provide direct answers to the PANEL 's questions, Third, the PANEL proceeded based on input and so such research was not used. from five public hearings at which more than 400 teachers and others gave testimony. Sixth, the PANEL only drew conclusions All PANEL meetings were open to the public when there was a high degree of certainty and its deliberations and discussions took the findings were correct. Due to small place in plain sight each meeting was even sample sizes and design differences, research audiotaped and transcribed. No other findings studies can produce results that seem to on READING education have ever been so be in conflict. All major determinations publicly determined. made by the NATIONAL READING PANEL were made based on a synthesis of a large number Fourth, the PANEL did not offer opinions about of studies.
9 Results that are repeated across research findings, nor were the members many independent investigations are the of the PANEL allowed to arbitrarily select or most trustworthy, and the PANEL limited its omit any studies. Instead, the PANEL had to use of research to often-replicated findings. establish research and synthesis procedures first and then follow them consistently. Prior to beginning the synthesis of research, the The NATIONAL READING PANEL REPORT : Practical Advice for Teachers 2. Why Research? situation in which the NATIONAL READING PANEL REPORT is useful. It is intended to Teachers, principals, and parents are working provide an unbiased and careful review of hard to improve their children's READING the research findings on various issues and achievement; most are doing everything they topics, so schools was be able to depend know to help children succeed in learning on trustworthy and accurate information to read and write.
10 Nevertheless, estimates on how to improve READING achievement. of NATIONAL READING achievement reveal the insufficiency of current efforts. According to the NATIONAL Assessment of Educational How the PANEL Worked Progress (Grigg, Daane, Jin, & Campbell, 2003), far too many American children cannot read The NATIONAL READING PANEL began deliberations well enough to do their schoolwork, and it is in April 1998 and issued a REPORT two years doubtful they will eventually receive the full later. Originally, Congress asked the PANEL economic, social, and civic benefits of society. to complete its work in less than a year, but acceded to the PANEL 's request for an Many sources of information can be used additional year of study. as the starting point for school improvement. For example, teachers can draw on their The PANEL met often during those two years, own experiences of what works, and they can and many decisions were made at those share these experiences among themselves.