Alabama Reading Initiative Gives Top Scores to Pearson's Reading Street Program
Montgomery, AL (September 3, 2008) - "In our efforts to close the achievement gap, we must close the access gap. If we want to abate the number of struggling readers, then we must provide quality instruction." This statement from Birmingham City Schools Reading and Language Arts Director Dr. Dimple J. Martin reflects the thinking behind the decision of one of the 80-plus Alabama School Districts that has chosen the Scott Foresman Reading Street curriculum.
As the state's 400,000 elementary students begin the school year, more than 75% of them will be learning to read with an innovative, research-based program that received top scores in a comprehensive review by the Alabama Reading Initiative of the Department of Education. Alabama joins hundreds of thousands of students across the nation who are learning with the Scott Foresman Reading Street program. Developed by the education publisher Pearson, the curriculum is steeped in scientifically-based research and centered on the priority skills set by the National Reading Panel.
The state's largest districts - Mobile County, Montgomery County, Jefferson County, Birmingham City, Huntsville City, Madison County, Baldwin County, and Elmore County - are among the three-quarters of Alabama school districts that have adopted the Scott Foresman Reading Street curriculum. Evaluated by the Alabama Reading Initiative in its "Expert Review of Core Reading Programs," Reading Street received the highest scores of the nine core programs that were evaluated.
Explaining why Birmingham chose the program, Dr. Martin said, "Struggling readers don't only need remediation, they also need acceleration." She added, "With Scott Foresman Reading Street, we finally have a solid core reading program that understands the importance of language acquisition for early readers, intermediate readers and struggling readers."
She noted, "One of the main reasons we chose Reading Street was because of the program's high-interest reading content. We know that if we provide material that interests our students, they will become engaged and, in turn, will comprehend reading for meaning. Scott Foresman has helped us understand that if reading comprehension capabilities are solid, our students will be successful on any state-mandated test."
Mobile County Public Schools (MCPSS) has adopted both Reading Street and its companion intervention for struggling readers series, My Sidewalks. Marilyn Howell, Elementary Education Supervisor, Division of Curriculum and Instruction, described the decision-making process, "Our team conducted an extensive study of four reading series for potential adoption. This study included delving deeply into each of the series, searching for that which most closely aligned with the Alabama Course of Study, the MCPSS K-5 Reading Curriculum, and high stakes testing." She added, "We were also looking for a program that made the most effective provision for all types and levels of learners, possessed an array of assessments, was most user friendly for teachers, and provided motivating and appealing literature. After close scrutiny, it was the consensus of the textbook committee that Reading Street and My Sidewalks most completely met the MCPSS criteria."
Pearson's Alabama representative Brian Rhodes said, "Alabama recognized the depth and scope of the Scott Foresman Reading Street curriculum, which includes an integrated combination of instruction and intervention aligned to Reading First requirements and Alabama's state standards. Additionally, we created customized assessments and tailored professional development for teachers, both designed specifically for Alabama."
Pearson senior vice president for Reading, Dean Brown said, "Over the past two years, thousands of schools have adopted the Reading Street core curriculum, and districts' success with the program is being clearly documented in improved reading scores. We anticipate that Alabama will experience the same kinds of success as the rest of the country." He added that the Reading Street curriculum is solidly anchored in the most current scientific research and focuses on the National Reading Panel's priority skills that are proven to be indicators of reading success: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension.
Pearson (NYSE: PSO) is the global leader in educational publishing, assessment, information and services, helping people of all ages to learn at their own pace, in their own way. For students preK-12, Pearson provides effective and innovative curriculum products in all available media, educational assessment and measurement for students and teachers, student information systems, and teacher professional development and certification programs. The company's respected brands include Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, PowerSchool, SuccessMaker, TeacherVision and many others. Pearson's comprehensive offerings help inform targeted instruction and intervention so that success is within reach of every student. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group. For more information, go to www.pearsonschool.com.
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