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ERIC Number: ED500864
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May
Pages: 29
Abstractor: ERIC
Building Capacity for Professional Development in Adolescent Reading: The National Writing Project's National Reading Initiative. Evaluation Summary Report 2003-2006
Academy for Educational Development
An area of particular concern in adolescent literacy is comprehension of informational text: many students can successfully decode words without actually being able to understand the texts they read. As they progress through school, they have to read increasingly complex texts but receive little if any explicit instruction to help them. Beyond the third grade, reading instruction tends to focus on fiction, yet students must understand nonfiction texts in order to learn content-area subjects as well as to navigate the informational texts they must read for work and everyday life as adults. The National Reading Initiative (NRI) was designed to address teachers' lack of access to high-quality, well-designed professional development focused on reading of informational texts, especially in grades 4-12. The ultimate aim of the NRI was to develop models, approaches, and resources for professional development in reading that could be disseminated and used throughout the large National Writing Project (NWP) network of sites. To create these models, NRI supported a cohort of nine university-based local Writing Project sites in studying, refining, and expanding their local professional development work in reading with a view toward creating professional development approaches that could be useful to the network at large. The report evaluates the first three years of work by these lead sites. The goals of the evaluation were to document and assess the work of the NRI, to provide formative feedback that could better shape this initial investment in capacity-building, and to examine and understand the impact of participation in the NRI on local writing project sites and participating teachers. The evaluation concludes that the power of the NRI model lies in its ability to build the capacity of an entire system to provide effective professional development that becomes an integral part of teachers' classroom practices. The influence of the inquiry-based professional development in reading that NRI sites facilitated reached far beyond the teachers who participated in site-sponsored institutes or inquiry groups. Through fostering professional "communities of practice" focused on reading instruction and by developing teachers' leadership capabilities, NRI sites expanded their capacity to provide high-quality professional development in their service areas and for the NWP network as a whole. (Contains 1 footnote, 2 figures and 3 tables.)
Academy for Educational Development. 1825 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009-5721. Tel: 202-884-8000; Fax: 202-884-8400; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Academy for Educational Development, Inc., New York, NY.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A