Is the teaching of reading and spelling any better in the United States? Not apparently in Indiana. This report makes depressing reading (Thanks to Nurture A Reader for the link to the report). Yet, what the report makes clear is that turning the situation around is perfectly straighforward: teach systematic phonics from the start on a daily basis, give pupils enough practice for them to reach automaticity, build vocabulary knowledge and comprehension strategies, and test to make sure the children are making progress and to adjust the teaching programme where necessary.
I wonder how many UK training institutions for teachers would pass the criteria set for Indiana? Not many, I bet.