Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

Sylvia Hall-Ellis, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher

Third Advisor

Frederique Chevillot

Fourth Advisor

Cynthia McRae


National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), American student reading scores, Education research and studies


The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) has consistently shown that approximately 40% of American students cannot read at grade level. In fact, most of these 40% of students read considerably below grade level. Unfortunately, these results have remained consistent in spite of reports such as the Nation at Risk in 1983 that first alerted everyone to the severity of the problem and provided remedies on how it could be remedied. The Nation at Risk Report was the impetus for a plethora of educational reform enactments at the federal level such as George H. Walker Bush’s education summit in 1989, Goals 2000, the No Child Left Behind Act and the latest reform measure Race To The Top. In addition, states have enacted their own proficiency standards for student knowledge in reading. Several reading experts such as Louisa Moats and Louise Spear-Swerling have written reading standards that teachers should know to teach reading. The Common Core Standards have been adopted by at least 41 states that outline best reading practices and the International Reading Association has also developed reading standards.

The reading wars have also been a contributory factor to the poor reading scores. The reading wars pitted the whole language advocates against the phonics adherents. When the National Reading Report (2000) and the National Research Council Report (1998), released their results that reading instruction should include phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension, the reading wars were thought to be over. However, this has not been the case.

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate whether a consensus exists for best reading practices among reading experts. Seven reading experts were interviewed and six of the participants agreed that reading instruction should include the five components: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. The seventh participant agreed that reading instruction contains the five components, however, the main component to teach reading is comprehension. The results have implications for developing a standard of care for reading (reading standards that can be adopted nationally) and the instruction of new teachers by universities.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

John Michael McCord


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

237 p.


Reading instruction, Curriculum development