The following report is a synthesis of research consisting of over 70 articles and books, read over a period of 12 months by the members of the Alabama Reading Panel. In an effort to maintain a current research base for recommendations, the Panels review of literature will be ongoing.
Reading Panel members began to realize during the early stages of the literature review that common themes were repeated. This report reflects those themes through the bold headings. Following a brief explanation of each theme, direct quotes which support the theme are provided.
The report is divided into three sections. Beginning Reading, Expansion of Reading Power, and Effective Intervention. These sections coincide with three efforts identified by the Reading Panel as necessary to improve significantly reading achievement of Alabama students.
In making this report public, there is the risk that selected themes will be isolated from the entire report and misused in defense of an existing bias. Such action would be entirely contrary to the way the Panel has attempted to work. The writers of this report believe that all themes mentioned in the report are vital to an effective reading program.
Additionally, there is the risk that some readers will wrongly conclude that a "quick fix" to reading problems is the purchase of a commercial package. On the contrary, effective reading instruction must be delivered by highly expert teachers who are familiar with the research and who have the knowledge, skills, tools, and conditions necessary to provide effective instruction with an emphasis on beginning reading, expansion of reading power, and/or effective intervention.
In the face of these risks, however, we believe it is important to disseminate this report. It is our conviction that many educators will know how to use this information to improve reading in their schools and that they need immediate access to the information.
In an effort to be as comprehensive and as accurate as possible, this report has been reviewed by three nationally recognized experts in the field of reading.