What Makes Better Readers?

Published April 1, 1999

As part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, researchers identified school and home factors associated with better reading scores. The 1998 Reading Report Card for the Nation lists the following best practices to improve reading scores:

  • Daily Reading Habits. In 1998, 8th and 12th graders read more pages each day in school and for homework than did their counterparts in 1994. Even so, less than half of 8th and 12th graders read as many as 11 pages a day.
  • Reading and Writing. In 1998, a higher percentage of 4th and 8th graders reported that at least once a week they wrote long answers to questions that required reading.
  • Comprehension and Interpretation. Compared to 1994, in 1998 teachers more frequently asked 8th and 12th grade students to explain their understanding of what they had read; also, more 8th-grade students were asked to discuss interpretations of what they had read.
  • Less Television. In 1998, fewer students in all grades watched six or more hours of television a day compared to 1994. More students reported watching only one hour or of television each day, or even less.