The six elements of effective reading instruction don’t require much time or money—just educators’ decision to put them in place.
Richard L. Allington
and Rachael E. Gabriel
Every child a reader” has been the goal of instruction, education research, and reform for at least three decades. We now know more than ever about how to accomplish this goal. Yet few students in
the United States regularly receive the best reading
instruction we know how to give.
Instead, despite good intentions, educators often
make decisions about instruction that compromise
or supplant the kind of experiences all children
need to become engaged, successful readers. This is
especially true for struggling readers, who are much
less likely than their peers to participate in the kinds
of high-quality instructional activities that would
ensure that they learn to read.
Six Elements for Every Child
Here, we outline six elements of instruction that
every child should experience every day. Each of
these elements can be implemented in any district
and any school, with any curriculum or set of materials, and without additional funds. All that’s necessary is for adults to make the decision to do it.
1. Every child reads something he or she chooses.
The research base on student-selected reading
is robust and conclusive: Students read more,
understand more, and are more likely to continue
reading when they have the opportunity to choose
what they read. In a 2004 meta-analysis, Guthrie
and Humenick found that the two most powerful
instructional design factors for improving reading
motivation and comprehension were ( 1);student
access to many books and ( 2);personal choice of
what to read.