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Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy
Grigg, and Donahue, 2007). Furthermore, 4th- and 8th-grade students who are English-language learners scored 36 and 42 standard-scale points, respectively, below the performance of native speakers of English in 2007 (Lee, Grigg, and Donahue, 2007).
In this chapter we first briefly discuss the general state of research on reading. The next four sections address the four questions presented in Chapter 4 as applied to reading:
What are students expected to know and be able to do to be successful readers?
What instructional opportunities are necessary to support successful students?
What do successful teachers know about reading and how to teach reading?
What instructional opportunities are necessary to prepare successful teachers?
We then turn to what is known about how teachers are currently being prepared to teach reading, and we close with our conclusions.
THE RESEARCH BASE
The available research that relates specifically to the preparation of reading teachers is relatively sparse, but we identified a range of materials that shed light on our questions about what preparation for reading teachers ought to entail and on what reading programs currently require. The overwhelming majority of the research we found on reading education concerns two topics: the process of learning to read and strategies for teaching the elements of fluent, accurate reading, and for addressing problems that can delay the development of reading skills.
The study of reading has followed a variety of pathways in the course of a long history (Venezky, 1984). As the practical necessity and prevalence of literacy have grown, scholars from a range of fields—including linguistics, neuroscience, and cognitive and developmental psychology, as well as sociology and history—have explored questions about how people learn to read, reading difficulties, and other questions pertaining to literacy. Yet there are now so many publications on teaching reading, from so many sources, that there is a certain amount of fog around the question of how much of the guidance is based on research.
The National Reading Panel identified approximately 100,000 research studies published between 1966 and the late 1990s (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000). These publications include summary documents that synthesize many research threads, consensus