Teaching reading in proven way – and now in a pandemic


Whitney Bryen, Oklahoma Watch

Kindergarten teacher Michelle Brooks works on sounding out letters with her class at Nichols Hills Enterprise Elementary School on Feb. 11.

Reading experts and brain scientists agree nearly every child can learn to read if they are taught using explicit, systematic, research-based instruction.

So why aren't all teachers and schools using this method?

Many Oklahoma students struggle to read. Only 29% of Oklahoma fourth graders – and 26% of eighth graders – were at or above proficiency in reading in the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress, compared with 34% and 32% nationally. The problem is especially acute among low-income children.

Yet state officials say many teachers still use reading-instruction theories...

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