Saturday, October 27, 2018

Why Johnny can't read

A radio program explains teacher stubbornness to use proven teaching methods:
"I am philosophically opposed to jumping on the bandwagon of the next great thing that's going to teach every child how to learn to read," said Stacy Reeves, an associate professor of literacy. "Phonics for me is not that answer."

Reeves said she knows this from her own experience. In the early 1990s, before she started her Ph.D., she was an elementary school teacher. Her students did phonics worksheets and then got little books called decodable readers that contained words with the letter patterns they'd been practicing. She said the books were boring and repetitive. "But as soon as I sat down with my first-graders and read a book, like 'Frog and Toad Are Friends,' they were instantly engaged in the story," she said.
A NY Times essay summarizes:
What have scientists figured out? First of all, while learning to talk is a natural process that occurs when children are surrounded by spoken language, learning to read is not. To become readers, kids need to learn how the words they know how to say connect to print on the page. They need explicit, systematic phonics instruction. There are hundreds of studies that back this up.
Educators ignore this research, and always talk about the importance of reading to kids, instead of teaching kids to read.

This seems scandalous, but it is not news. It was all explained in a best-selling 1955 book.

1 comment:

MD Cory said...

Ben Franklin was a great critic of the English language, which he thought forced too much sight reading.