Adol-Lit-Walk-ThroughThe Center on Instruction released a guide designed to help principals monitor and support adolescent literacy instruction in their schools more effectively. The guide can be used at the late elementary school level, in content-area classes in middle and high school, and with intervention groups or classes. It provides a scaffold to build principals’ understanding of scientifically based reading instruction, as a means for a principal to gather information about the quality of literacy and reading intervention instruction in a school, and as a data collection guide for planning targeted professional development and resource allocation. Also included are examples of what a principal might expect to see in a classroom as well as templates that states, districts, and schools can use or adapt.

Although the most recent report of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) (Lee, Grigg, & Donahue, 2007) revealed positive growth in reading achievement for both fourth and eighth-grade students from 1992 to 2007, this growth occurred in numbers of students performing at or above the Basic level; there was no meaningful increase in student performance at or above the Proficient level. NAEP reading scores are based on a definition of reading that involves developing a general understanding of written texts, interpreting texts, and using texts for different purposes. Basic represents
partial mastery of prerequisite knowledge and skills that are fundamental for proficient work at a given grade; Proficient involves solid academic performance and demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter. The 2007 NAEP results report that a startling 27% of eighth graders and 34% of fourth graders do not even have the basic skills necessary for grade-level reading; they score Below Basic. Another 34% of fourth graders and 43% of eighth graders score Basic, still not skilled enough to achieve Proficiency.