effective programs share certain common features. Formal instruction in reading needs to focus on the development of two sorts of mastery: word recognition and comprehension. In Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children (National Academy Press, 1998), we make recommendations for reading instruction for kindergarten through third grade. The concepts included in these recommendations, along with those relevant to preschoolers, toddlers, and babies, are those that we will clarify and illustrate throughout this book.

The majority of reading problems faced by today’s adolescents and adults could have been avoided or resolved in children’s early years. That is one reason why this book is partly addressed to policy makers, such as school superintendents, district leaders, and elected officials. If we, as a society, are to prevent

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