In the summer of 2020, the well-known researcher Louisa Moats published an article in AFT magazine entitled “Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science,” in which she laid out the daunting series of challenges involved in turning children into skilled readers. For the record, I have immense respect for Dr. Moats; and from what I know of her LETRS program, it seems extraordinarily well done and highly effective. She’s done more to advance SoR-based approaches and to train teachers than almost anyone else around. And yet, I have to disagree with her on this one—or at least with her (or perhaps an editor’s?) title. To be fair, the type of reading Moats…
- Balanced Literacy, Decoding, Dyslexia, Ed School, Fluency, Learning Disabilities, NAEP, Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Precision Teaching, Reading Instruction, Reading Wars, Science of Reading, Teacher Training, Whole Language
The Special Education Bubble
The reading world was recently rocked by an article from esteemed reporter, Emily Hanford. The longtime maven of whole language, Lucy Calkins, admitted she needed to change her Units of Study after decades of context clues, guessing at words, picture walks, and dismissing the science of reading. Of course, Calkins promptly responded with a statement that essentially tried to take credit for always being a phonics-minded practitioner (despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary). When you look at the latest NAEP data, the influence of decades of whole language-oriented instruction being the dominant pedagogy in the United States is readily apparent. According to this new data, roughly 63%…
- Common Core, Dyslexia, Ed School, Fluency, Learning Disabilities, Lucy Calkins, Reading Instruction, Science of Reading, Uncategorized
Munchausen by Special Education
I think what we have is a system that doesn’t really, at the end of the day, want students to get better and improve.
What Do Teachers Need to Know about the Science of Reading?
The more time I spend trying to wrap my head around the world of early-reading instruction, the more I find myself becoming wary of the notion that teachers should devote a lot of their time to learning about the science of reading. I realize that might seem like a bizarre and contradictory statement given that so many of the problems in reading instruction stem from ed schools’ failure to provide research-backed training to pre-service teachers—not to mention the fact Richard and Ben and I are in the process of launching a training program based on, well, the science of reading—so let me explain. I had already started writing this piece when I…
- Decoding, Dyslexia, Fluency, Learning Disabilities, Lucy Calkins, Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Precision Teaching, Reading Instruction, Reading Workshop, Science of Reading, Teacher Training, Three Cueing System, Whole Language
A Child is Not a Mollusk
In some sense, without evidence-based instruction, a child could be more like a mollusk in that they will withdraw from the learning process and build a shell to protect themselves from the emotional anguish of feeling less-than in the classroom.
- Decoding, Dyslexia, Fluency, Learning Disabilities, Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Precision Teaching, Reading Instruction, Science of Reading, Teacher Training, Uncategorized, Whole Language
Of Fluency and Fritters
t’s been clear for a long time that something is very wrong with the way reading is taught, but if we genuinely want things to change, we need to take a hard look at what actually works—and building fluency beyond a doubt does so. We owe it to students to get this right: their success in high school and beyond depends on it.
The Science of Reading: 5 Key Concepts
The Science of Reading has been in the news a lot recently, and not surprisingly, many people (including a lot of teachers) find the sheer amount of information it involves overwhelming. So, the basics: the Science of Reading is not a movement or a belief system. It is a vast body of research based on hundreds of studies conducted by dozens of researchers over many decades, and involving fields in the social and hard sciences such as psychology, linguistics, and neuroscience. While researchers still have questions about the exact processes by which skilled reading develops, a sufficient number of studies have produced similar results to allow them to conclude that…