Annemarie Palincsar and Gina Cervetti contribute to NAEd report on reading comprehension 

June 11, 2020

Educational Studies faculty members Annemarie Palincsar and Gina Cervetti contributed to The National Academy of Education (NAEd)’s latest report on improving reading comprehension, titled Reaping the Rewards of the Reading for Understanding Initiative.

Palincsar is a co-author of the report and served as the co-chair of its steering committee. She also co-authored two chapters. Cervetti was the sole author on a chapter of this report titled “The Nature and Development of Reading for Understanding.”

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. The Reading for Understanding Initiative 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 grant (also funded by IES and co-directed by David Pearson and Annemarie Palincsar) investigated and reported findings and common themes concerning the nature and development, assessment, and curriculum and instruction of reading comprehension. It synthesized work both within and across the six Reading for Understanding teams, reviewing over 200 scholarly articles from this substantial and unprecedented effort, to determine what had been learned about the development, improvement, and assessment of reading comprehension. 

Highlights include the importance of emphasizing comprehension in pursuit of knowledge and insight; the need to redouble efforts to enhance language development, both oral and written, for students across the age-span; and the value of changing the culture of classrooms to emphasize collaboration, deep comprehension, critique, and the generative use of comprehension.

For more information on the report, including the link to 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, please visit the NAEd website.

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Chair, Educational Studies; Arthur F Thurnau Professor; Jean and Charles R. Walgreen Jr. Professor of Reading and Literacy
Associate Professor