Reading First

Congressional Testimony and The Design of 'Reading First

Dr. Louisa Moats: "When I was in Washington I testified to Congress three times. I had several visits from the President in our classrooms and I had lots of photo opportunity sessions with policy makers who wanted to appear as if they were doing something about this problem. They also wanted to know more about what was going on in the schools that were successful.

I was one of the people in the formulation of the Reading First Initiative. My thing there has been the professional development blueprint. Now I am working primarily on professional development. I am writing a lot of materials and conducting institutes, myself and with a team of people for mainly states that want to include my approach in the Reading First Initiative or in a statewide Reading Initiative. I am still seeing how all of this unfolds."


This program provides assistance to states and districts to establish scientifically based reading programs for students enrolled in kindergarten through grade three. Funds support increased professional development to ensure that all teachers have the skills they need to teach these programs effectively. The program also supports the use of screening and diagnostic tools and classroom-based instructional reading assessments to measure how well students are reading and to monitor their progress.

Additional Information

* The No Child Left Behind Act signed into law by President George W. Bush on January 8, 2002, established Reading First as a new, high-quality evidence-based program for the students of America.
* The Reading First initiative builds on the findings of years of scientific research, which, at the request of Congress, were compiled by the National Reading Panel.
* Ensuring that more children receive effective reading instruction in the early grades is of critical importance to the President and the nation.


* Reading First is a focused nationwide effort to enable all students to become successful early readers.
* Funds are dedicated to help states and local school districts eliminate the reading deficit by establishing high-quality, comprehensive reading instruction in kindergarten through grade 3.
* Building on a solid foundation of research, the program is designed to select, implement, and provide professional development for teachers using scientifically based reading programs, and to ensure accountability through ongoing, valid and reliable screening, diagnostic, and classroom-based assessment.

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