Tips for Teachers

From relying on research to assessing often, these principles of good instruction provide teachers with strategies for promoting their students' reading achievement.
  • Rely on good research

    Promote the adoption of reading instruction programs in your school that are based on sound research and that provide all children with explicit, systematic instruction in phonics and exposure to rich literature, both fiction and nonfiction.

  • Push for good professional development

    Insist on high quality instructional strategies that includes discussion of research on how children learn to read as well as extensive in-class follow-up.

  • Make success schoolwide

    Promote adoption of effective reading instruction and professional development methods.

  • Team up with parents

    Involve parents in support of their children's reading. Work with parents and guardians to ensure that their children arrive at school ready to learn every day. Children should spend more time reading than is available at school, and teachers can reinforce this important point to parents and provide ideas on how to make reading an everyday activity in their home.

  • How's it going?

    Assess students' progress regularly.

  • Small classes pay big dividends

    Encourage school officials to reduce class size for reading instruction and to provide tutoring for students who fall behind. Changes in school organization may be necessary to create more appropriate class groupings and effective uses of special education, Title I, and other supplementary resources.

  • Be alert to older non-readers

    Reading success is especially critical in the early grades because it is easier to prevent reading problems than to remediate them. Teachers at all grade levels should keep an eye out for students having trouble with reading. One-to-one tutoring programs built on sound phonetic principles can often make a remarkable difference in students' reading performance in a period of months. Teachers can help ensure that older students reading below grade levels have level-appropriate texts for independent reading.

  • Use help wisely

    Classroom paraprofessionals involved in reading education should receive the training and support necessary to enable them to make a significant contribution to children's reading achievement. Teachers should utilize paraprofessionals in ways that augment the research-based reading program used in the classroom and allow students to receive more individualized support. Volunteers should also receive adequate training and supervision, should be assigned work with children who can benefit from their assistance, and they should operate consistently with the reading program of the school.

Excerpted from: Every Child Reading: An Action Plan. (June, 1998). Learning First Alliance. Reprinted with permission.

Copyright © 1998 by the Learning First Alliance. Learning First Alliance member organizations include: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Council of Chief State School Officers, Education Commission of the States, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, National Association of State Boards of Education, National Education Association, National Parent Teacher Association, National School Boards Association. For more information, see


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