IRA’s Summary of the National Reading Panel Report

In 1997, the U.S. Congress authorized creation of a National Reading Panel (NRP) charged with investigating the most effective methods for teaching children to read. In April 2000 the panel released the report of its findings.

The panel determined that effective instruction includes teaching children to break apart and manipulate the sounds in words (phonemic awareness), teaching that these sounds are represented by letters that can be blended (phonics), having children read aloud while providing guidance, teaching word meanings, and providing comprehension strategies. The panel also found that improvement in teachers’ knowledge and practice leads to higher student achievement.

The IRA Summary

The IRA summary is a quick reference guide to the NRP report, intended to assist educators, researchers, students, and others in using the NRP findings to plan research, design curriculum, write grant applications, or advocate sound education policy. It focuses on the work of panel subgroups charged with reviewing research on specific topics:

  • Chapters 1 and 2:  Alphabetics, including phonemic awareness and phonics
  • Chapter 3:  Fluency
  • Chapter 4: Comprehension, including vocabulary, text comprehension, and comprehension strategies
  • Chapter 5:  Teacher education and reading instruction
  • Chapter 6:  Computer technology and reading instruction
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