National Council of Teachers of English Logo

The Federal Government Wants Me to Teach What?

A Teacher's Guide to the National Reading Panel Report

Diane Stephens

Download a free PDF of this document

All across the country, teachers are being told to use practices and materials that are consistent with scientifically based reading research (SBRR). The most often cited source of SBRR is the report written in 2000 by the National Reading Panel (NRP), a panel commissioned by Congress and convened by the director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in consultation with the U.S. Secretary of Education. This panel examined the experimental and quasi-experimental research in five areas they considered to be related to reading (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension).

Far too often, however, misunderstandings based on the NRP report (rather than actual research findings) have had a major impact on how reading is taught in the United States. These misunderstandings have eroded the power of teachers to make informed, scientifically based decisions and, as a consequence, have interfered with, rather than supported, effective reading instruction. This is not only problematic but ironic because the full report makes it clear that teachers make the difference, not materials.

To help teachers understand what the studies cited in the NRP report actually found, Diane Stephens closely examines the studies and their findings and explains how teachers might interrogate and use the findings so that they can make instructional decisions that support all students as readers.

Document and Site Resources

Share This On:


Anonymous commenting is not allowed. Please log in with an individual NCTE account to post comments to this page.

Most Recent Comments (0 Total Posts)

There are no comment postings on this page yet.

Page Tools:

Join NCTE Today

Related Search Terms


Copyright © 1998-2018 National Council of Teachers of English. All rights reserved in all media.

1111 W. Kenyon Road, Urbana, Illinois 61801-1096 Phone: 217-328-3870 or 877-369-6283

Looking for information? Browse our FAQs, tour our sitemap and store sitemap, or contact NCTE

Read our Privacy Policy Statement and Links Policy. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use

Visit us on:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linked In
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram

Document URL

Document Owner

Organization Name

NCTE - The National Council of Teachers Of English

A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts