We all agree that learning to read is a critical step in a child's education. But teaching children to read is controversial. In classrooms, legislatures, universities, school districts -- even courtrooms -- there is debate about what makes a good literacy program. Is phonics the answer? Whole language? A mix of both?
Amid the controversy, it can be difficult to know how to approach literacy instruction. In developing this video library, we focused on "what works" by featuring the instruction of exemplary teachers who, year after year, successfully teach students to read. Collectively, these teachers represent a range of teaching styles and practices. Each teacher's instruction, crafted to meet the needs of individual students, blends the best from different approaches. These teachers show, by way of example, that there is not one way to teach reading.
As you watch the videos, use the Observational Checklist (PDF), to help you focus on the important aspects of a literacy classroom. The Literacy Teaching Practices you'll see require varying levels of teacher support, from more (as in read-aloud) to less (as in independent reading). Each practice addresses one or more of the Essential Components of Literacy Development, which we've adapted from the findings of the National Reading Panel.