The statistics are well known: only 35 percent of students are reading proficiently by grade 4, and NAEP reading scores are the lowest in decades. Although most students can learn to read, the majority are not reaching their full potential. A significant step toward improving our nation’s literacy landscape is relying on brain-based, science of reading instruction.
As Louisa C. Moats details in Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science, many teachers—the stakeholders who have the single greatest impact on student learning—are not equipped or trained to teach reading in the way current research shows is the most effective. The good news is that professional learning can empower educators with up-to-date research, findings and best classroom practices to increase instructional capacity, drive student success and set reading scores on an upward trajectory.
Effective Professional Learning
“Professional learning should not only bring educators the most current research but also support them as they develop, implement and refine strategies that align with that research,” says Brent Hartsell, director of solutions for Professional Learning at Learning Ally, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the reading gap.
Research shows that, to be effective, professional learning must be comprehensive and ongoing. After decades of studies, professional learning researchers such as Linda Darling-Hammond, Bruce Joyce and Beverly Showers have identified integral elements to foster continued educator growth and lasting instructional change to improve student achievement.