About the Center on Education Policy: The Center on Education Policy is a national, independent advocate for public education and for more effective public schools. The Center helps Americans better understand the role of public education in a democracy and the need to improve the academic quality of public schools. We do not represent special interests. Instead, we try to help citizens make sense of the conflicting opinions and perceptions about public education and create the conditions that will lead to better public schools.
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Despite problems with the federal administration of the Reading First program, this CEP report finds that the program is widely credited by state and local officials for lifting the achievement of students who receive Reading First services. Overall, more than three-fourths of states and two-thirds of districts with Reading First grants reported that the program’s assessment and instructional programs were important causes of gains in student achievement. Further, the report finds that Reading First’s impact is felt far beyond the participating schools, with more than half of Reading First districts using elements of Reading First in non-Reading-First schools and in the upper grades. Similarly, states reported that more than 3,000 non-Reading-First districts participated in state-led Reading First professional development.