Teaching Teachers To Teach Reading

Published May 1, 2004

“When I was a teacher, I knew I was not as prepared as I should have been to teach certain subjects. Take reading, for example. Even with a degree in education and practice as a student teacher, I didn’t know how to teach a child to read. … I realized that some of my students were having trouble learning–not because of a problem on their part, but because I needed to know more about the concepts.” Laura Bush, March 2002 Remarks to the House Education and Workforce Committee

When schools of education fail to keep abreast of scientific research on the teaching of reading, their graduates become new elementary school teachers who find themselves in situations similar to the one described by the First Lady: producing children who are having trouble learning because of the instructional methods their teachers are using.

How can teachers learn the most effective methods for teaching children to read? Scholastic Corporation provides one readily accessible solution.

Last fall, Scholastic added individual teacher enrollment to its online professional development program for improving reading instruction, Scholastic Red®. The program remains available for district purchase for groups of teachers within schools, but this extension provides individual teachers with access to the program’s leading reading researchers, interactive training, and resources for implementing reading strategies in the classroom. Scholastic Red® is currently in use in urban districts such as Atlanta, Georgia; Clark County in Las Vegas, Nevada; and El Paso, Texas.

“New federal standards requiring schools and teachers to show growth in academic achievement and adequate yearly progress for each student have increased the need for every teacher to know how to help their students master key reading skills,” said John Lent, vice president of Scholastic Education.

Scholastic Red® provides teachers with self-paced instruction and training resources available 24/7. The professional development program provides resources and techniques for teaching the five key components of early reading identified in the No Child Left Behind Act:

  • phonemic awareness
  • phonics
  • fluency
  • vocabulary, and
  • comprehension.

Among the resources Scholastic Red® offers individual teachers are:

  • interactive simulations and video modeling of research-based practices and lessons by master teachers in real classrooms.
  • opportunities to practice new strategies in a safe, virtual environment, and collaboration and feedback within a supportive community of online learners.
  • online support of teachers through online mentors who answer questions, help teachers implement new strategies, and lend guidance.
  • ideas and activities for working with special education and ESL students.

Scholastic Red®’s faculty and national advisors include leading reading specialists Louisa Cook Moats, former director of the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development Early Intervention Project; and Phyllis Hunter, national reading consultant.

Scholastic Corporation is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of a wide range of educational materials for use in school and at home, including children’s books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, videos, and toys. The company distributes its products and services through schools, school organizations, retail stores, libraries, television networks, and the Internet.

George A. Clowes is managing editor of School Reform News. His email address is [email protected].

For more information …

Additional information on Scholastic Red® is available online at http://www.scholasticred.com.

Information on other Scholastic reading programs, such as the Fluency Formula™ program to increase reader comprehension, is available at http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/product_info.