Amber Winkler, Fordham’s new hire, jumps into the Reading First debate on Education Gadfly. Reading First has spread quickly to schools that aren’t offiicially in the program, she writes. That “contaminated” the schools that were supposed to be the control group.
In a different, state-based Reading First evaluation that I helped conduct, we found evidence that our comparison schools/districts were adopting many of the practices of the Reading First grantees, including concentrating on the five essential components of reading, hiring building-level literacy coaches, adopting 90-minute literacy blocks, and using the same core reading programs. (Not surprising since, as I understand it, the RF statute required participating RF districts to spread professional development based on scientifically-based reading research [SBRR] beyond their participating schools.)
Implementation is not a problem, she writes. Reading First schools are doing it right. And, possibly, so are other schools that missed out on funding.
D-Ed Reckoning offers a layman’s guide to the RF controversy.
Update: Sol Stern defends Reading First on City Journal.