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Real Solutions for Kids and Communities

The AFT has launched a yearlong campaign, Real Solutions for Kids and Communities, that rejects the toxic attacks against public education in favor of working to strengthen public schools, making real solutions for kids a national priority.

We are addressing learning loss, loneliness and literacy through transformative strategies that can be sustained, integrated and scaled to help children recover and thrive.

Literacy Publications

Using the theme of Oh, the Places You Will Go!, these flyers offer activity suggestions for educators and families that can be used during literacy night or at home to help support student learning. 

These resources help explain the standards for what your child should know and be able to do while reading literature and nonfiction (informational) texts, writing about and discussing what he or she has read. These flyers offer suggestions for how you might support your child’s learning at home.

In recent years, a scientific approach to reading education has gained traction due to the joint efforts of educators, parents, and state leaders. This movement for better reading instruction has helped to fuel a wave of legislation to address widespread and persistent reading deficits of American students. While reading difficulties cut across socioeconomic lines, they disproportionately affect students living in poverty as well as those from black, brown, and indigenous communities.


This report documents how state legislatures nationwide have responded to these challenges. Specifically, the report examines reading-related legislation enacted between 2019 and 2022. We analyzed a total of 223 bills enacted in 45 states and the District of Columbia, examining over 40 features, such as teacher preparation, professional development, and curriculum, to name a few.

Dr. Hollis Scarborough invented the concept of the Reading Rope in the early 1990s. She used it to help parents understand the various skills their children needed to master to become proficient readers. Originally, she twisted together a model made of pipe cleaners to demonstrate her point. 


In 2001, the model was published in the Handbook of Early Literacy Research (Neuman/Dickinson). Reading teachers immediately saw how useful it was, and it became a staple for educating new teachers and parents alike. 


Scarborough’s Reading Rope contains two main sections: Word Recognition and Language Comprehension. Each of these comprises several smaller strands. Woven together, these strands become the rope that represents complete skilled reading. All the components are interconnected and interdependent. If just one strand is weak, it affects the rope (and the reader) as a whole. (Scarborough’s Rope)


Effective Tier 1 literacy instruction should encompass all components of the Reading Rope so that students learn to both decode and comprehend.   


Intervention in Tier 2 or 3 instruction is where we can differentiate instruction and target specific skills.  As educators plan for instruction and work with students who struggle to read, it is helpful to be aware of and know the parts of the Reading Rope. 


Printed word recognition includes phonological awareness, decoding, and sight recognition. These skills are woven or braided over time so that word recognition becomes more automatic. When a student struggles to decode words automatically, is a disfluent reader, or struggles with spelling, teachers may identify their area of weakness as decoding.  Interventions and instruction would focus on foundational reading skills, including phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, and phonics. Automatic word recognition is required for students to be fluent readers.   


The Language Comprehension strands include Background Knowledge, Vocabulary, Language Structure, Verbal Reasoning, and Literacy/Print Knowledge. Language comprehension becomes more strategic so that students can make meaning from what they read; this is the ultimate goal of reading. When a student struggles to comprehend text, teachers can provide intervention that focuses on these strands of the rope. (The Reading Rope; Heggerty) 

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