IDA is Fighting For Change

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January 2014

By Kristen Penczek, M.A.

Only 34% of third grade students (in the United States) are reading at proficient levels¹. One of the key reasons is that many teachers of reading are using ineffective instruction. Why? Teachers have not been taught how to teach reading effectively.. The techniques that help children with dyslexia learn are the same approaches that work best for all beginning readers. Yet, in the vast majority of classrooms in America, reading is being taught using approaches that hundreds of trial studies have shown are not effectively teaching our children to read.

IDA professionals have embarked on a project that can transform the teaching of reading in America. In 2010, IDA created the Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading. These standards outline scientifically proven instructional practices and content knowledge for teaching reading to all children, not just those with dyslexia. IDA is using these standards as the metric for evaluating curricula, teaching materials, and classroom content of university teacher training programs.

Already, IDA has accredited nine university programs and twelve more are under review right now. These accredited programs will inform and empower teachers who will populate our classrooms. Then,  year after year, these teachers will begin to erase the deficits in reading skills that plague American education.

It costs IDA approximately $5,000 to accredit one university teaching program. In December, we reached out to our supporters and asked for help to sustain three additional schools during the next round of reviews. Incredibly, you doubled our goal by contributing just over $30,000 in one month!  Your generous contributions will help make more qualified teachers available for struggling readers across the nation.

Thank you for your continued and endless support of IDA. Because of you, we can reach our goals, both short-term and long-term:

  • Have every K-3 teacher graduating from a college of education trained in research based reading instruction.
  • Have every teacher who is a graduate of a college of education trained in research based reading instruction certified.
  • Emphasize our public awareness campaign in reading readiness and teacher training.
  • Reduce illiteracy rates by 10% in 10 years.


¹according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

Kristen Penczek is the Interim Executive Director for IDA and also serves as the Managing Editor for The Examiner.

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