Why Reading Teachers Are Not Trained to Use a Research-Based Pedagogy: Is Institutional Reform Possible?

November 15, 2005
Sandra Stotsky

Paper presented at the
Courant Initiative for the Mathematical Sciences in Education
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
New York University
October 2, 2005

Abstract: Reading instruction is one of the very few areas where it is not the case that “more research is
needed.” Educational policy makers already have the theory and the evidence supporting it to guide the
implementation of effective reading programs from K-12. In fact, they have had the theory and the
evidence for decades. The central problem they face in providing effective reading instruction and a sound
reading curriculum stems not from an absence of a research base but from willful indifference to what the
research has consistently shown and to a theory that has been repeatedly confirmed. Using Jeanne Chall’s
The Academic Achievement Challenge as a point of departure, I suggest why our education schools,
through their influence on teachers, administrators, textbook publishers, and state and national assessments
of students and teachers, have come to be the major obstacle to closing the “gap” in student achievement.

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