Brainy Parenting

‘Education Leader’s Guide to Reading Growth’ reveals the reading practice habits of struggling-to-successful readers who reached college- and career-readiness benchmarks

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (April 25, 2018) – Renaissance ®, a leader in pre-K–12 learning analytics, today released a new report that provides insights into reading practices that drive growth and achievement for students. Among the findings and research-driven strategies highlighted throughout the Education Leader’s Guide to Reading Growth is data from a recent study that shows “struggling-to-successful” readers read approximately six minutes more per day on average than “persistently struggling” readers—findings that may have a long-term impact on a student’s academic career.

Authors of the world’s largest annual study of the reading habits of K–12 students—the report for the 2015–2016 school year encompassed nearly 9.9 million students in more than 30,000 schools across the U.S.—examined both third-grade and sixth-grade students who started the year in the bottom quarter of reading achievement. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Renaissance, reveals:

  • On average, the third graders who failed to meet grade-level benchmarks by the end of the year had 14.6 minutes of engaged reading time per day.

  • In comparison, the third graders who met the college- and career-readiness benchmarks for their grade read for 20.0 minutes—a difference of less than six minutes of daily reading time. Notably, they also read over 100,000 more words and read with higher average comprehension, helping them to get more out of each minute spent reading.

  • Sixth graders who started the year in the bottom quarter and ended the year below benchmark read an average of 12.4 minutes per day.

  • Sixth graders who started in the same place but achieved college- and career-readiness benchmarks averaged 18.0 minutes of engaged reading time per day. Once again, the difference in daily reading time was less than six minutes. This group also engaged in higher-quality practice, reading more words and reading with higher comprehension.

These findings suggest that even small increases in high-quality reading practice may help a struggling reader turn into a successful one—a critical outcome given the long-term impact reading skills can have on a student’s academic career.

“For so long we’ve known that deliberate reading practice plays a role in student achievement, but now we have a better idea as to the extent,” says Jan Bryan, Ed.D., national education officer at Renaissance. “If educators or parents can find a way to carve out just a few additional minutes for high-quality reading practice per day, it could make a significant difference—not just for struggling readers, but for all readers. And, if districts make reading practice a top priority, graduation rates and college enrollment could, in turn, also see a boost.”

To underscore this point, the Education Leader’s Guide to Reading Growth reviews the well-known longitudinal study from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which found that children who read proficiently in third grade were four times more likely to graduate high school by age 19 than peers who were not proficient in reading in third grade. The guide also cites a study out of Philadelphia that showed that 82 percent of students who failed an English course in sixth grade also failed to graduate high school; National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data showing that students who read more frequently have higher reading scores; and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results indicating that reading engagement was more closely related to achievement than socioeconomic status was.

Renaissance developed this guide as a resource for educators who are looking to explore and enhance their roles as highly effective literacy leaders. The release of this guide comes on the heels of Renaissance’s acquisition of myON®, a leading provider of digital literacy solutions. The two organizations share a vision for improving student literacy, and by pairing myON’s expansive digital content library and literacy tools with Renaissance’s reading practice and assessment offerings, Renaissance will be able to deliver a comprehensive suite of reading solutions to educators and students worldwide.

To download the complete Education Leader’s Guide to Reading Growth, please visit:

About Renaissance

Renaissance® is a leader in pre-K–12 learning analytics—enabling teachers, curriculum creators, and educators to drive phenomenal student growth. Renaissance’s solutions help educators analyze, customize, and plan personalized learning paths for students, allowing time for what matters—creating energizing learning experiences in the classroom. Founded by parents, upheld by educators, and enriched by data scientists, Renaissance knows learning is a continual journey—from year to year and for a lifetime. Our data-driven, personalized solutions are currently used in over one-third of U.S. schools and more than 70 countries around the world. For more information, visit

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