Dr. Nell Duke, literacy expert and professor at the University of Michigan, says that "because of the complexity of teaching children to read and write, some of us treat it like it is rocket science because it is like rocket science!"
A majority of children learn to read adequately regardless of the instructional methods teachers use in school, but a full 40 percent of children require explicit scientifically based reading instruction to become capable readers (Moats, 2007).
Texas & Nationwide
Scientifically based reading research has identified five essential components of effective reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension strategies. Yet the National Council on Teacher Quality 2016 Teacher Prep Review states: “coursework in just 39% of programs equips elementary and special education teachers to use all five fundamental components of reading instruction, helping to explain why such a large proportion of American schoolchildren never learn to read beyond a basic level.”
According to The Nation's Report Card (NAEP 2015), only 28 percent of 4th graders in Texas public schools are proficient readers. The Annie E. Casey Foundation reports that 80% of Latino 4th graders in the nation are reading below grade level. The challenge is compounded because 80% of children in Texas have fewer than 100 books in their homes (Unite for Literacy).
While the challenge is widespread and complex, research shows children can be taught to read with proper instruction. SAReads addresses the need for systemic support for students, teachers and families in order to change children's reading outcomes. SAReads is a long-term project designed to produce increases in reading and educational outcomes for low-income children in public schools.
As Trinity University Professor Christine Drennon points out, “San Antonio’s stark inequalities in academic opportunity and achievement are rooted in the city’s history of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic discrimination.” (Rivard Report, July 30, 2016)