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Landscape Report on Early Grade Reading

LSI has been contracted by the University Research Center to develop a Landscape Report on Early Grade Reading for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s “All Children Reading” Community of Practice.

This landscape report will be critically important to educators, Ministries of Education and development professionals worldwide as it will inform their efforts to improve the teaching and learning of reading and writing in the early grades in a way that is evidence-based, concrete and accessible to non-experts.

Evidence demonstrates that education has a positive effect on children and families’ future earning potential and health (Hanushek, & Woesmann, 2012; LeVine et al., 2012). Literacy — ability to read and write — is one of the core skills related to these positive educational outcomes. The fact that so many children worldwide do not learn to read and write in school effectively limits their horizons, particularly when it comes to accessing further education, health, employment/economic opportunities, and social mobility. Learning in content areas (e.g., science, social studies, and even math) requires reading and writing in the majority of educational settings.

Studies have consistently shown that literacy skills are related to children’s learning outcomes, not just in reading, but also math, and other subjects. Early struggle in learning to read and write is associated with high school dropout rates (Alexander, Entwisle, & Horsey, 1997; Jimerson, Egeland, Sroufe, & Carlson, 2000; Marteleto, Lam, & Ranchhod, 2008). Finally, literacy supports the ability to think, understand, and apply content area information (Heller & Greenleaf, 2007; Lee & Spratley, 2010; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). Because literacy skills are critical, there is a growing need for accurate information about how to positively impact literacy acquisition.

Many countries continue to employ approaches to the teaching and learning of reading that have been shown to be ineffective (Boyle, Ajjawi, & Xiang, 2014; Brombacher, Collins, Cummiskey, Kochetkova, & Mulcahy-Dunn, 2012). Educational decision-makers worldwide need to be able to access information from the latest research in order to implement constructive and effective reforms to improve how literacy is taught and most importantly, how to improve literacy achievement levels in the current generation of early grade students.

The Landscape Report will provide critical, reliable, and actionable information, in a succinct and accessible manner, to wide audience of education professionals worldwide.

Principal Investigator

Young-Suk Kim, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Reading and Language Arts, Florida State University

Co-Principal Investigator
Helen N. Boyle, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of International and Comparative Education


University Research Center/USAID