Reform needed in teaching reading

I lead an Illinois youth organization with 350 families across the state whose children are struggling readers. We are part of a broad network of educators, academics, advocates, and parents who support reading reform in Illinois. The vote by the Illinois Association of School Boards at its Nov. 20 Delegate Assembly to overwhelmingly support Resolution No. 1 about teacher preparation and licensure in evidence-based reading instruction is fantastic news.

If this legislation passes, colleges of education will be compelled to teach evidence-based reading instruction to teacher candidates.

Reading instruction has not kept pace with decades of cognitive scientific research proving how the brain learns to read. It shows in the data.

• 43% of K-8 students scored below basic reading proficiency levels in 2019 in Naperville District 204

• 46% of third-graders scored below basic reading proficiency levels in Naperville District 204.

• Statewide, 61% of 3rd-8th graders scored below basic reading proficiency levels.

• 43% of Illinois university teacher education programs earned a "D" or "F" for how they prepared future teachers to teach reading, according to a National Council on Teacher Quality 2020 study.

• 21 other states have already passed legislation and we need Illinois to be next.

We encourage all supporters to follow or join the Illinois Early Literacy Coalition at

Kristin Paxton


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