Research by Topic
Teacher Education and Reading Instruction
Below are selected research studies that investigate issues important to teacher education and reading instruction. The resources are listed alphabetically by author and include links to the item or to where it can be purchased.
Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: A Status Report on Teacher Development in the United States and Abroad
Darling-Hammond, L., Wei, R.C., Andree, A., Richardson, N., Orphanos, S. (2009). Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: A Status Report on Teacher Development in the United States and Abroad. Palo Alto, CA: School Redesign Network at Stanford University.
Teachers' professional development is an important part of our educational system. We rely on professional development to help teachers learn about new strategies, philosophies, and interventions. But how is the best professional development structured? A new report from the School Redesign Network at Stanford University outlines the critical components of effective professional development.
Lifting Pre-K Quality: Caring and Effective Teachers
Fuller, B, Gasko, J, Anguiano, R. (2010). Lifting Pre-K Quality: Caring and Effective Teachers. Children's Learning Institute.
This report focuses on helping pre-K teachers develop skills that matter for early learning. The researchers identified mentoring and training for preschool teachers as important tools to help them enrich their instructional activities in classrooms and boost the early language and preliteracy skills of 3- and 4-year-olds.
Producing Teachers Who Understand, Believe, and Care
Goodlad, J. (1997, February 5). Producing teachers who understand, believe, and care. Education Week, p. 48.
From Education Week:
The release in September  of "What Matters Most: Teaching for America's Future," the 151-page report of the National Commission on Teaching & America's Future, stimulated for too brief an interlude serious discussion of the country's prospects for preparing a teaching corps equal to the challenges that confront it. Because better teaching lies at the heart of all efforts to improve the schools, expanding such a discussion should be a top priority for all those engaged in reform efforts.
With that in mind, Education Week begins this week an occasional series of Commentaries dealing with issues of teacher quality and teacher preparation raised in the commission's report. This essay is the first of a two-part examination of current problems in teacher education by one of that field's leading scholars, John I. Goodlad.
The Positive Effects of Literacy Collaborative on Teaching and Student Learning
Literacy Collaborative. (2009). The Positive Effects of Literacy Collaborative on Teaching and Student Learning. Cambridge, MA: Literacy Collaborative.
New results from a four-year longitudinal study of 17 schools in the East Coast suggests that in-school literacy coaches can help boost student reading skills by as much as 32 percent in three years. Teacher expertise increased substantially, and the more coaching a teacher received the stronger the growth. Additional benefits: communication among teachers increased and the literacy coordinators became more involved in the critical conversations.
Teachers' Perceptions of Their Undergraduate and Graduate Preparation
Lyon, G., Vaasen, M., & Toomey, F. (1989). Teachers' perceptions of their undergraduate and graduate preparation. Teacher Education and Special Education, 12, 164-169.
This study assessed the extent to which teachers' perceptions of their relationships with young students varied as a function of child and teacher characteristics in a large, demographically diverse sample of 197 preschool and kindergarten teachers and 840 children. Children were evenly divided between boys and girls. Regression analyses were conducted to examine the relation between teachers' perceptions of their relationships with students and (a) teacher ethnicity, (b) child age, ethnicity, and gender, and (c) the ethnic match between teacher and child.
Child age and ethnicity and teacher-child ethnic match were consistently related to teachers' perceptions, explaining up to 27% of the variance in perceptions of negative aspects of the teacher-child relationship, specifically teacher-child conflict. When child and teacher had the same ethnicity, teachers rated their relationships with children more positively. The results are discussed in terms of classroom social processes related to children's adjustment and the measurement of teacher-child relationships.
Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science: What Expert Teachers of Reading Should Know and Be Able to Do
Moats, L. C. (1999). Teaching reading is rocket science: What expert teachers of reading should know and be able to do. Washington, DC: American Federation of Teachers.
This foundational report reviews the reading research and describes the knowledge base that is essential for teacher candidates and practicing teachers to master if they are to be successful in teaching all children to read well. Developed by the American Federation of Teachers(AFT).
Educator's Guide: Identifying What Works for Struggling Readers
Slavin, R.E., Lake, C., Davis, S., & Madden, N. (2010) Educator's Guide: Identifying What Works for Struggling Readers. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University, Center for Data-Driven Reform in Education.
This report published on the Best Evidence Encyclopedia (BEE) website provides an extensive review of the research on the outcomes of 27 early childhood programs. Six of the programs produced strong evidence of effectiveness in language, literacy, and/or phonological awareness. All of the effective programs had explicit academic content, a balance of teacher-led and child-initiated activity, and significant training and follow-up support.
Preschool Curriculum: What's in It for Children and Teachers?
The Albert Shanker Institute (2009). Preschool Curriculum: What's in It for Children and Teachers? Washington, D.C.: The Albert Shanker Institute
A new report from the Albert Shanker Institute outlines developmental accomplishments and instructional practices in four areas of preschool curriculum: oral language, literacy, mathematics, and science. Their recommendations can inform districts struggling to design a preschool program or provide guidelines for program evaluation.
Preschool Education and Its Lasting Effects: Research and Policy Implications
W. Steven Barnett (2008). Preschool Education and Its Lasting Effects: Research and Policy Implications. National Institute for Early Education Research Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
All children benefit from preschool, and increasing the public's investment in effective preschool can have lasting educational, social, and economic benefits. Recommendations for capitalizing on these conclusions include using proven models, training preschool teachers, and working to increase the number of disadvantaged kids attending preschool.
What Education Schools Aren't Teaching About Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren't Learning
Walsh, K., Glaser, D., and Dunne Wilcox, D. (2006). What Education Schools Aren't Teaching About Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren't Learning. National Council on Teacher Quality: Washington DC.
When some children are learning to read, they catch on so quickly that it appears effortless. It does not seem to matter what reading curriculum or teachers they encounter, for they arrive at school already possessing the important foundational skills. For other children, though, the path to literacy is far more difficult and by no means assured. It matters very much what curriculum their schools use and who their first teachers are.
Degrees in Context: Asking the Right Questions about Preparing Skilled and Effective Teachers of Young Children
Whitebook, M. & Ryan, S. 2011. Degrees in context: Asking the right questions about preparing skilled and effective teachers of young children. Preschool Policy Brief, 22. National Institute for Early Education Research, New Brunswick, NJ.
A 2011 policy brief developed jointly by National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) and the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) argues that there has been too much focus on debating baseline qualifications such as AA and BA degrees for teachers of young children and not enough focus on the actual education these teachers receive, the support they get for ongoing learning, and the effects of the workplace environment on their teaching practice.
Take a Giant Step: A Blueprint for Teaching Young Children in a Digital Age
Barron, B., Cayton-Hodges, G., Bofferding, L., Copple, C., Darling-Hammond, L., & Levine, M. (2011). Take a Giant Step: A Blueprint for Teaching Children in a Digital Age. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
In January 2010, the Cooney Center and the Stanford Educational Leadership Institute convened a Digital Age Teacher Preparation Council to look at current practices for teaching young children and to design a professional development action plan for integrating the effective use of technology in preschool and the primary grades. This report describes the Council's action plan to enhance teacher education and a higher quality, 21st century approach to the learning and healthy development of children in preschool and the primary grades. The report sets forth several goals for the nation to meet by 2020, including advancing technology integration and infrastructure; a more robust professional training program for early education professionals; the expanded use of public media as cost-effective assets for teachers; and the establishment of a Digital Teacher Corps.
Waiting Rarely Works: Late Bloomers Usually Just Wilt
American Federation of Teachers. (2004). Waiting Rarely Works: Late Bloomers Usually Just Wilt. American Educator: Washington, D.C.
Until about a decade ago, the idea of a child being a "late bloomer" was accepted among researchers and educators as a valid reason for a child learning at a slower pace than peers. It was thought that these children would eventually bloom in their reading, but that they would just do it a bit later than their peers. Known as the "developmental lag theory," it justified the common practice of delaying the diagnosis of reading problems until they were quite severe. But more recently, long after many teachers ended their formal education training, researchers have been able to put the developmental lag theory to rest. Rather than a lag, early reading weakness is now defined as a skill deficit.
Teaching Teachers to Teach Reading: Paradigm Shifts, Persistent Problems, and Challenges
Anders, P., Hoffman, J., & Duffy, G. (2000). Teaching teachers to teach reading: Paradigm shifts, persistent problems, and challenges. In M. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, P.D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.). Handbook of Reading Research, Vol.3 (pp. 721-744). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
An Evaluation of Computer-assisted Instruction in Phonological Awareness with Below Average Readers
Barker, A.B., & Torgeson, J.K. (1995). An evaluation of computer-assisted instruction in phonological awareness with below average readers. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 13, 89-103.
The use of computer-assisted instruction (CAI) to train phonological awareness skills in at-risk first graders was evaluated. Fifty-four children ranging in age from six years two months to seven years eight months participated in an eight-week training study. There were three experimental conditions. The first group received approximately twenty-five minutes a day, four days a week with two phonological awareness training programs. The second group received the same amount of training with a program designed to train alphabetic decoding skills. The third group served as an attentional control group and spent equal time on the computer with several programs designed to provide practice on basic math skills.
The children exposed to the phonological awareness training programs made significantly greater improvements on several measures of phonological awareness and on a measure of word recognition, when compared to children in the other two groups. Tentative conclusions were drawn about the use of CAI as means of training phonological awareness skills with at-risk students.
What Works to Improve Student Literacy Achievement? An Examination of Instructional Practices in a Balanced Literacy Approach
Bitter, C., O'Day, J., Gubbins, P., & Socias, M. (2009). What works to improve student literacy achievement? an examination of instructional practices in a balanced literacy approach. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 14(1), 17-44.
A core assumption of the San Diego City Schools (SDCS) reform effort was that improved instructional practices, aligned with a balanced literacy approach, would be effective in improving student outcomes. This article explores this hypothesis by presenting findings from an analysis of classroom instruction data collected in 101 classrooms in nine high-poverty elementary schools. The study found a prevalent focus on reading comprehension instruction and on students' active engagement in making meaning from text. Teachers' use of higher-level questions and discussion about text were substantially higher than that found by a prior study using the same instrument in similar classrooms elsewhere. Analyses of instruction and student outcome data indicate that teacher practices related to the higher-level meaning of text, writing instruction, and strategies for accountable talk were associated with growth in students' reading comprehension.
Teacher Quality and Student Achievement: A Review of State Policy Evidence
Darling-Hammond, L. (2000). Teacher quality and student achievement: A review of state policy evidence. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 8 (1).
Using data from a 50-state survey of policies, state case study analyses, the 1993-94 Schools and Staffing Surveys (SASS), and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), this study examines the ways in which teacher qualifications and other school inputs are related to student achievement across states. The findings of both the qualitative and quantitative analyses suggest that policy investments in the quality of teachers may be related to improvements in student performance. Quantitative analyses indicate that measures of teacher preparation and certification are by far the strongest correlates of student achievement in reading and mathematics, both before and after controlling for student poverty and language status.
State policy surveys and case study data are used to evaluate policies that influence the overall level of teacher qualifications within and across states. This analysis suggests that policies adopted by states regarding teacher education, licensing, hiring, and professional development may make an important difference in the qualifications and capacities that teachers bring to their work. The implications for state efforts to enhance quality and equity in public education are discussed.
Children's Story Retelling as a Literacy and Language Enhancement Strategy
Dunst, C, Simkus, A, Hamby, D. (2012). Children's Story Retelling as a Literacy and Language Enhancement Strategy. CELLreviews 5(4). Asheville, NC: Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute, Center for Early Literacy Learning.
The effects of children's story retelling on early literacy and language development was examined in a meta-analysis of 11 studies including 687 toddlers and preschoolers. Results indicated that children's story retelling influenced both story-related comprehension and expressive vocabulary as well as nonstory-related receptive language and early literacy development. Findings also showed that the use of the characteristics that experts consider the important features of retelling practices was associated with positive child outcomes. Implications for practice are described.
The Impact of Two Professional Development Interventions on Early Reading Instruction and Achievement
Garet, M., Stephanie Cronen, Marian Eaton, Anja Kurki, Meredith Ludwig, Wehmah Jones, Kazuaki Uekawa, Audrey Falk, Howard Bloom, Fred Doolittle, Pei Zhu, and Laura Sztejnberg. The Impact of Two Professional Development Interventions on Early Reading Instruction and Achievement (NCEE 2008-4030). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.
The report describes the effectiveness of two specific professional development strategies in improving the knowledge and practice of 2nd grade teachers in high-poverty schools and the reading achievement of their students. Both the 8-day content-focused institutes series (treatment A) and the institute series plus in-school coaching (treatment B) produced positive impacts on teachers' knowledge of scientifically based reading instruction and on one of the three instructional practices promoted by the professional development. However, neither intervention resulted in significantly higher student test scores at the end of the one-year implementation period. The institute series plus in-school coaching did not produce a significantly greater impact on teacher practice than the institute series alone.
Watching Teachers Work: Using Observation Tools to Promote Effective Teaching in the Early Years and Early Grades
Guernsey, L., and Ochshorn, S. (2011). Watching Teachers Work: Using Observation Tools to Promote Effective Teaching in the Early Years and Early Grades. Washington, DC: New America Foundation.
Identifying good teachers is a high priority in education reform, yet the debate rarely focuses on how education might improve if policies were based on teachers' individual interactions with their students. This report argues for improving early education up through the third grade (PreK-3rd) by actually watching teachers in action using innovative observation tools in combination with evaluation and training programs. The report also paints a picture of the dismal state of early education for many children — especially the disadvantaged — who are rarely given access to the kinds of stimulating, content-rich conversations that provide them with the cognitive and social-emotional skills they need to succeed throughout their years in school.
Pioneering Literacy in the Digital Wild West: Empowering Parents and Educators
Guernsey, L., Levine, M., Chiong, C. Stevens, M. (2012). Pioneering Literacy in the Digital Wild West: Empowering Parents and Educators. Washington DC: The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
Digital apps designed to teach young children to read are an increasingly large share of the market, but parents and educators have little to no information about whether and how they work. Produced as part of a collaboration between the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, the New America Foundation, and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, this report scans the market of digital products and shares promising practices and programs.
Teaching Reading Well: A Synthesis of the International Reading Association's Research on Teacher Preparation for Reading Instruction
International Reading Association. (2007). Reading Well: A Synthesis of the International Reading Association's Research on Teacher Preparation for Reading Instruction. Newark, DE: Author.
This report synthesizes the findings of research efforts focused on identifying essential qualities of effective teacher preparation programs for reading instruction. It finds that good teacher prep programs provide students with excellent instructional content; faculty and teaching; apprenticeships, field experiences, and practica; diversity; candidate and program assessment; and governance, resources, and vision.
Using Instructional Routines to Differentiate Instruction: A Guide for Teachers
Kosanovich, M. (2012). Using Instructional Routines to differentiate instruction. A guide for teachers. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.
The Center on Instruction released a publication to help educators plan differentiated instruction using 72 formatted activities called Instructional Routines, which provide a structure for teaching specific foundational reading skills. Included is a table which displays the alignment between the Instructional Routines and the Common Core State Standards organized by the five reading components (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension). This resource provides support in the alignment of instruction in schools that are implementing School Improvement Grants (SIG) and/or College and Career Ready Standards (including Common Core State Standards).
PreK-Grade 3 Reading and Literacy Practices That Matter
Ryan, M. PreK-Grade 3: Reading and Literacy Practices That Matter. (2010). Education Commission of the States. New York, NY.
This snapshot of five recent research studies addresses reading and literacy in the early grades. Policy recommendations on practices that matter are included for each of the five studies.
Improving Reading Comprehension in Kindergarten Through 3rd Grade
Shanahan, T., Callison, K., Carriere, C., Duke, N. K., Pearson, P. D., Schatschneider, C., & Torgesen, J. (2010). Improving reading comprehension in kindergarten through 3rd grade: A practice guide (NCEE 2010-4038). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from whatworks.ed.gov/publications/practiceguides.
This Practice Guide focuses on three areas that current research on reading indicates are critical to building a young student's capacity to comprehend what he or she reads: knowledge and abilities required specifically to comprehend text, thinking and reasoning skills, and motivation to understand and work toward academic goals. Five recommendations: (1) Teach students how to use reading comprehension strategies; (2) Teach students to identify and use the text's organizational structure to comprehend, learn, and remember content; (3) Guide students through focused, high-quality discussion on the meaning of text; (4) Select texts purposefully to support comprehension development; and (5) Establish an engaging and motivating context in which to teach reading comprehension.
Effective Schools and Accomplished Teachers: Lessons About Primary-Grade Reading Instruction in Low-Income Schools
Taylor, B.M., Pearson, P.D., Clark, K.M., & Walpole, S. (2000). Effective schools and accomplished teachers: Lessons about primary-grade reading instruction in low-income schools. The Elementary School Journal, 101, 121-165.
Student Center Activities Aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects K-5
Verhagen, C. (2012). Student center activities aligned to the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects K-5. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.
The Center on Instruction released a publication to help educators create differentiated reading instruction experiences for their students by showing the relationship between two distinct resources: Student Center Activities (SCAs) created by the Florida Center for Reading Research for K-5 classroom teachers as differentiated reading activities for use in small student groups, and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). It contains crosswalks that map the relationships between each SCA and corresponding, grade-specific standards in CCSS in English language arts and literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects K-5 (ELA-literacy). These resources provide support in the alignment of instruction in schools that are implementing School Improvement Grants (SIG) and/or College and Career Ready Standards (including Common Core State Standards).
Literacy Instruction in Nine First-Grade Classrooms: Teacher Characteristics and Student Achievement
Wharton-McDonald, R., Pressley, M., & Hampston, J.M. (1998). Literacy instruction in nine first-grade classrooms: Teacher characteristics and student achievement. The Elementary School Journal, 99, 101-128.