This report synthesizes findings from scholarship conducted over the past decade as part of a large-scale federal investment by the U.S. Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to improve reading comprehension of U.S. students. To support this undertaking, IES launched the Reading for Understanding Initiative, which invested approximately $120 million in grant funding to six research teams charged with focusing on improving reading comprehension for students in pre-K through grade 12. This initiative responded to concern that children’s improvement in reading comprehension had leveled off over the previous few decades, coupled with the observation that research on reading comprehension had sufficiently matured to warrant a major investment in leveraging that research to improve student performance.
The Reaping the Rewards of the Reading for Understanding Initiative report articulates findings and common themes concerning the nature and development, assessment, and curriculum and instruction of reading comprehension. It synthesizes work both within and across the six teams, reviewing over 200 scholarly articles from this substantial and unprecedented effort, to determine what had been learned about understanding and improving reading comprehension. Highlights include the importance of: emphasizing comprehension in pursuit of knowledge and insight; redoubling our efforts to enhance language development, both oral and written, for students across the age-span; and changing the culture of classrooms to emphasize collaboration, deep comprehension, critique, and the generative use of comprehension.
For more information on the report, including an additional paper that is a conceptual review of technology-related reading comprehension research, as well as research related to multimodal meaning-making (both digital and nondigital) and reading comprehension in out-of-school contexts, in order to highlight future directions for reading comprehension research that complement those indicated by the RfU teams, please visit our website.
Please contact Amy I. Berman, Deputy Director, for any inquiries.
This project and research reported here were supported by grant R305U160002 from IES. The opinions expressed are those of the editors and authors and do not represent the views of IES.