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Early literacy development.

Last week, at the National Press Club, the National Institute for Literacy released "Developing Early Literacy." This report, developed by the nine-member National Early Literacy Panel (NELP), bridges the large gap in the early literacy research knowledge base. By synthesizing research on language, literacy, and communication, it clearly identifies which critical early skills/abilities and proven instructional practices are precursors of later literacy achievement. (According to the findings, among the best early predictors of literacy are alphabet knowledge, phonemic awareness, rapid naming skills, writing [such as writing one's own name], and short-term memory for words said aloud.) It also tenders clues and insights into emergent literacy from birth through age 5 and points the way for future literacy research and scientific inquiry. The National Institute for Literacy convened the NELP in 2002 with support from the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. For more information, please go to

Also: Turning the issue of literacy development on its head, the Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has unveiled a new web tool with estimates of the percentage of adults--for all states and counties in the U.S.--who lack basic prose literacy skills. The web tool allows for comparisons to be made between two states, two counties, and across data years. Estimates were developed using statistical models that related estimated percentages of adults lacking basic literacy skills in counties sampled for the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey and the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy to county characteristics, such as levels of educational attainment. For more information, please go to
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Publication:ED Review
Date:Jan 16, 2009
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