By Evelyn Peter, M.A.T.
BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has released the results of a first-of-its-kind reading development study bearing significant implications for educators. This study has garnered worldwide attention due to its scientific scope and rigor, and educators are being called upon to reevaluate how reading is taught to all children.
Dr. Reid Lyon, visionary and director of the NICHD, is frequently asked, "Why does the NICHD conduct and support research in reading, given the nature of the agency?"
His primary response is that learning to read is critical to a childís well-being and that if a youngster does not learn to read in our literacy-driven society, hope for a fulfilling, productive life diminishes. In short, difficulties in learning to read are not only an educational problem, but also constitute a serious public health concern.
NICHD is part of a federal agency that emphasizes basic biomedical science and health-related research and has been studying normal reading development and reading difficulties for 35 years.
Researchers have studied more than 10,000 children, published more than 2,500 articles and written more than 50 books that present the results of 10 large-scale longitudinal studies and more than 1,500 smaller scale experimental and cross-sectional studies.
Many of the longitudinal research sites initiated studies in the early 1980s with kindergarten children before they began their reading instruction and have studied the children over time. Researchers have studied some children for as long as 15 years with several sites following the youngsters for at least 5 years. At most sites, multidisciplinary research teams study cognitive, linguistic, neurobiological, genetic, and instructional factors related to early reading development and reading difficulties.
The NICHD reading research program is rooted in scientific tradition and the scientific method. The program rests on systematic, longitudinal, field-based investigations, cross-sectional studies and laboratory-based experiments that are publicly verifiable and replicable. It also integrates quantitative and qualitative methods to increase the richness, impact, and ecological validity of data.
WHAT THE NICHD ASKED
KEY FINDINGS OF NICHD RESEARCH ON READING
For more information about national research and findings or about multisensory teaching strategies and materials, visit our web page at www.rlac.com and visit both our Educators and Parents pages. Join our FREE email newsletter from our web site.
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