The $6 billion reading program at the center of President Bush's signature education law has failed to make a difference in how well children understand what they read, according to a study by the program's own champion--the U.S. Department of Education (ED).

The program, Reading First, was designed to help boost student performance in low-income elementary schools, but it has failed to improve reading comprehension, says the study from ED's Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

There was no difference in comprehension scores between students who participated in Reading First and those who did not, the study found.

The findings, released May 1, threw


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