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Individualizing Student Instruction in Reading: Implications for Policy and Practice.


Despite three decades of scientific and public attention on efforts to improve literacy in America, little progress has been made in closing achievement gaps across racial, ethnic and socioeconomic lines. This article argues that one major reason is failure to take into account the mosaic of strengths and weaknesses individual children bring to school. With this comes the failure to develop personalized instruction for each child. We briefly review the research available, and then describe how research, ours and others, supports the efficacy of individualizing or personalizing student instructional (ISI) and illustrate how society might close achievement gaps. ISI, and other regimes, offer a systematic instructional program, incorporate child assessment, and personalized small-group instruction. In ISI, this is aided by computer-generated recommendations and planning tools, coupled with extensive, ongoing professional development. ISI has been shown to be highly effective from preschool through third grade in improving children's literacy skills. The practical and policy implications of implementing effective instruction are discussed.

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