Evaluating a Reading Program
The following questions will help you determine if a comprehensive reading program is research-based. They were developed from material presented on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education as part of The Secretary's Reading Leadership Academy. Conducted in early 2002, these workshops introduced the concepts behind Reading First and helped educators learn to choose research-based reading programs.
Twenty Questions to Ask About Any Reading Program
- Does the program show evidence of efficacy in well designed experimental studies, while reflecting the latest research on reading?
- Does it provide explicit instructional strategies?
- Does it have coordinated instructional sequences?
- Does it provide explicit phonemic awareness instruction in Grades K-1?
- Does it provide systematic, explicit phonics instruction?
- Does it use text that contains words for which the students have been taught the letter sounds?
- Does it teach an explicit strategy for sounding out words?
- Does it directly teach word families and irregular words of high utility?
- Does the teacher model instruction at each fundamental stage?
- Does it introduce passage reading quickly after the students have mastered enough words?
- Does it provide explicit instruction in spelling after students can read words?
- Does it teach strategies for determining word meaning, such as looking at the meanings of prefixes and suffixes?
- Does it introduce fluency practice to build toward set fluency goals?
- Does it model and systematically review critical comprehension skills?
- Does it include writing practice?
- Does it suggest grouping according to student performance?
- Does it present complete guidance to helping students with special needs?
- Does it include enrichment options for more advanced students?
- Does it provide students with ample practice opportunities?
- Does it have aligned student materials?
©Florida Center for Reading Research
227 N. Bronough St., Suite 7250 ▪ Tallahassee, FL 32301
http://www.fcrr.org ▪ 850-644-9352