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Berkeley CA – CORE (Consortium on Reading Excellence) announces that several schools and districts working with the company at the secondary grade levels reported substantial gains in reading scores of secondary students during the 2004-05 school year. CORE has provided two or more years of extensive onsite implementation support to teachers and administrators in these schools, focusing particularly on instruction for struggling readers.

The Pasadena Unified School District, California, has aggressively tackled its secondary literacy problems on many fronts, beginning with its selection of research-based instructional materials for all students, a basic core curriculum, new support materials, and specialized intervention materials for English Learners and for students who were reading significantly below grade level. In one year, after implementation of a new district-wide reading program, English Language Arts test scores for students in grades 7-11 improved at every grade level.

“The District is seeing steady and consistent progress in part due to the curriculum enhancements, staff training and intervention programs that are successfully taking hold throughout our schools. After a year of this intensive effort, our 9th graders had the largest gain in language arts scores of any grade level in the district. Scores of students at proficient and advanced improved by 12 percentage points. This also contributed to significant gains in our overall high school achievement, ” said Ed Honowitz, President of the Board of Education. 

In 2002, Yakima School District, Washington, set an ambitious goal: helping its middle school students who were reading at least two years below grade level to gain at least two grade levels in one school year. In the second year of a new initiative, on the Grade 7 Washington Assessment of Student Learning, the reading scores of seventh graders rose an average of 15 percentage points, after rising 17 percentage points in 2003-04, the first year of the initiative.

In 2004-05 high school teachers, principals and students participated in the program for the first time.  High school student reading scores increased 34% between 2004 and 2005 as measured on the Grade 10 Washington Assessment of Student Learning.

“CORE support has been a critical factor in helping teachers and principals understand the components of sound reading instruction and the improvement of student achievement in reading,” commented Mary Masten, Director of Secondary Education.


At Chipman Middle School in Alameda, California, where 50 percent of students were reading below grade level two years ago, test results show a 31 percent improvement in the numbers of grade-level students at the end of the most recent school year. “The onsite CORE support for our teachers was key to our outstanding level of success in reading achievement,” said Laurie McLachlan-Fry, Principal of Chipman Middle School. Chipman was the only middle school in California to receive a visit last spring from Laura Bush as part of her Helping America’s Youth initiative.

According to Linda Diamond, Executive Vice-President of CORE, it takes more than the commitment of teachers to implement a reading program that produces strong results. “We know from the research that successful programs require ongoing onsite support and professional development for teachers and administrators, instructional materials that have been proven to work, and systemic changes such as the expansion of reading periods for struggling readers, and the active support of school and district administrators. Programs must incorporate every one of these elements in order to succeed.” She notes that CORE was founded specifically to serve as an advisor on literacy achievement growth. “Our literacy implementation support services and products help our customers build their own capacity for effective instruction by laying a foundation of research-based knowledge, supporting the use of proven tools, and developing literacy leadership. We believe that with informed administrators, expert teaching, and well-implemented programs, all students can become proficient readers and writers.”

About CORE

Bill Honig, President and former California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, founded The Consortium on Reading Excellence (CORE) in 1995. CORE serves as an advisor to K-12 schools, school districts, and states as they implement literacy instruction validated by scientifically-based reading research. Through technical advice, professional development, and onsite implementation support, the company builds the capacity of its clients to achieve sustained literacy achievement.


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