Welcome to CELA!   Center on English Learning & Achievement

What are the characteristics of and outcomes produced by effective integrated elementary language arts instruction?  

(Peter Johnston, Richard Allington, principal investogators)

A set of contrasting case studies examined pairs of grade 1 and grade 4 classrooms in six states to identify the characteristics of effective literacy instruction. In addition to classroom observations of student engagement, student achievement was assessed through reading and writing samples and standardized tests such as McGraw Hill’s Terra Nova. Findings are available in a variety of books, reports, articles, and a poster, including the following:


  • Choice Words: How Our Language Affects Children’s Learning (2004)
    Peter H. Johnston, Stenhouse (800-988-9812)
  • Teaching and Learning Literate Epistemologies (Report, 2000)
  • Unpacking Literate Achievement (Report, 1999)
  • Best Practices in Literacy Instruction (1999, 2003, 2006), Linda Gambrell, Lesley Morrow, Susan Neumann, Michael Pressley, Eds. The Guilford Press, (800-365-7006)
  • Reading Instruction That Works: The Case for Balanced Teaching (1998), Michael Pressley, The Guilford Press, (800-365-7006)

First Grade

  • Poster:  First-Grade Teachers Who Build Strong Readers and Writers  . . .
  • Learning to Read: Lessons from Exemplary First-Grade Classrooms (2001), Michael Pressley, Richard Allington, et. al., The Guilford Press, (800-365-7006)
  • The Nature of Effective First-Grade Literacy Instruction (Report, 1998)

Fourth Grade

  • Reading to Learn: Lessons from Exemplary Fourth-Grade Classrooms (2002), Richard L. Allington & Peter H. Johnston.  The Guilford Press, (800-365-7006)
  • What Do We Know about Effective Fourth-Grade Teachers and Their Classrooms? (Report, 2000)
  • Exemplary Fourth-Grade Teachers (Abstract, Language Arts, 2002)


We regret to report the death in 2006 of Michael Pressley.

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The Center on English Learning and Achievement