EdNC – Reading instruction needs to improve. Who will lead the charge, and how?

Reading instruction needs to improve. Who will lead the charge, and how?

By Rupen R. Fofaria, Liz Bell and Carol Bono - Posted Feb 17, 2020

North Carolina is on a growing list of states that are studying Mississippi’s rising reading scores and discussing how to align reading instruction with the so-called science of reading. That much was clear on Thursday when The Belk Foundation held a “North Carolina and the Science of Reading” event at the Friday Institute.

A large gathering of education stakeholders heard leaders of Mississippi’s movement talk about how cognitive science influenced their policies on reading instruction and how those policies led to a rise from the bottom in national reading scores to the average.

They heard an expert on reading science talk about hallmarks of effective reading instruction.

And they heard from author Natalie Wexler, who focused on reading comprehension — which she says sometimes gets lost among heavy discourse around phonics, phonemic awareness, and the process of teaching kids how to decode written English.

“I want you all to really hold onto … why we share this passion, as we listen to these speakers,” Belk Foundation Executive Director Johanna Anderson said. “Let’s take off team stripes, if that’s even a thing, and listen with fresh, curious ears. Let’s have curiosity be the theme of today.”

Among the crowd were education stakeholders, including representatives from Gov. Roy Cooper and Sen. Phil Berger’s office, at least one state legislator, members of the State Board of Education and a literacy task force it has created, leaders from the Department of Public Instruction, and officials from educator preparation programs, school districts, schools, community colleges, philanthropies, and non-profit organizations.

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