Friday, October 4, 2013

Phonics Debate in The Austrailian.

The (limited) impact of heavy phonics instruction
Published in The Australian, Oct 1, 2013 as "Foster Love of Reading"

In "Bad teaching kills reading skills," (Sept. 30) Jennifer Buckingham claims that failing to include "explicit, systematic and structured" phonics is bad teaching. This means phonics instruction that teaches all students all the major rules of phonics in a strict order.

Published scientific studies show that students who have experienced intensive systematic structured phonics do better only on tests in which they have to pronounce lists of words presented in isolation. This kind of heavy phonics instruction has only a microscopic influence on tests in which children have to understand what they read -- tests of reading comprehension given after first grade.

Study after study has shown that performance on tests of reading comprehension is heavily influenced by the amount of self-selected free voluntary reading that children do, not whether they have had explicit, systematic and structured phonics.

Stephen Krashen
Brian Cambourne


Some Sources (not included in published letter)

Definition of explicit, systematic and structured phonics:
Ehri, C.L., Nunes, S.R., Stahl, S.A., & Willows, D.M. (2001). Systematic Phonics Instruction Helps Students Learn to Read: Evidence from the National Reading Panel’s Meta-Analysis. Review of Educational Research, 71, (3) 393-447.

Limited impact of phonics:
Garan, E. (2001). Beyond the smoke and mirrors: A critique of the National Reading Panel report on phonics. Phi Delta Kappan 82, no. 7 (March), 500-506.
Garan, E. (2002) Resisting Reading Mandates. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Krashen, S. 2009. Does intensive decoding instruction contribute to reading comprehension? Knowledge Quest 37 (4): 72-74.

Self-selected reading and reading comprehension:
Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Heinemann Publishing Company and Libraries Unlimited.
Sullivan, A. and Brown, M. 2013. Social inequalities in cognitive scores at age 16: The role of reading. London: Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education, University of London   www.cls.ioe.ac.uk


original article: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/bad-teaching-kills-reading-skills/story-e6frgd0x-1226729534319#.
This letter posted at tinyurl.com/my4sjxe
Letter published: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/letters/foster-love-of-reading/story-fn558imw-1226731109304


RESPONSE TO OUR LETTER:

Some children need rote learning to succeed at reading
IT appears there has been a breakdown of communications between schools, teacher training and curriculum requirements.
Phonics is taught in primary schools for the purposes of learning to read and spell. Each student learns in their own way and good teachers employ multiple strategies to teach them.
I have taught in primary schools for more than 40 years and have noticed that phonics, whole word and other ideas are implemented, but what is missing is rote learning. It has been some time since I saw daily repetition of spelling.
Top students may learn quickly but for others, constant repetition is necessary to achieve high levels of competency. A musician has to practice constantly. So do children learning to read and spell.
Augusta Monro, Dural, NSW
TIM Mahar, Stephen Krashen and Brian Cambourne (Letters, 2/10) do not seem to appreciate that children can be immersed in literature but still be unable to read since they cannot crack the code of written language.
Your editorial ("After years of studies and fads, Jaydon still can't read", 1/10) sums up the deplorable and inexcusable state of literacy teaching in Australia.
Good phonics-based teaching has ample scope for discussing meaning. The children and adults I treat each day as a special education therapist do not self-select books, because they cannot read. So many parents complain to me that their child won't read, but when I do an assessment I find the child does not know the sounds of the letters nor how to blend them.
It is a false dichotomy to argue that the choice is between reading great and enjoyable books or lists of mind-numbing words. Indeed, structured phonics ensures that children can access any book in English to pursue their own interests.
Antonia Canaris, Ashfield, NSW
published at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/letters/some-children-need-rote-learning-to-succeed-at-reading/story-fn558imw-1226732514169#sthash.Mh1kr6nt.dpuf

OUR RESPONSE, Published October 8. 

AUGUSTA Monro and Antonia Canaris's letters (4/10) commented on our letter on the limited effect of phonics (Letters, 2/10). The research does not condemn all phonics instruction, only extensive, systematic phonics, an extremist position that demands that we teach all the rules of phonics in a strict order.
A knowledge of basic phonics, straight-forward rules that can help make texts more comprehensible and that children can easily learn and remember, is helpful.
Not all reading results in improvement in reading ability. The texts that help are those that are comprehensible and interesting. These texts will provide all the repetition that Monro feels is important.
Canaris is correct in saying that self-selected reading is not for beginners. Beginning readers need to hear lots of stories, read easy texts and, as mentioned earlier, learn some basic phonics.
Stephen Krashen
Brian Cambourne

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/letters/a-child-who-cant-read-is-disabled-for-life/story-fn558imw-1226733249567


1 comment:

  1. Teach Your Child to Read Today!

    Reading is one of the most important skills one must master to succeed in life. It helps your child succeed in school, helps them build self-confidence, and helps to motivate your child. Being able to read will help your child learn more about the world, understand directions on signs and warnings on labels, allow them to discover reading as an entertainment, and help them gather information.

    Learning to read is very different from learning to speak, and it does not happen all at once. There is a steady progression in the development of reading ability over time. The best time for children to start learning to read is at a young age - even before they enter pre-school. Once a child is able to speak, they can begin developing basic reading skills. Very young children have a natural curiosity to learn about everything. They are naturally intrigued by the printed texts they see, and are eager to learn about the sounds made by those letters. You will likely notice that your young child likes to look at books and thoroughly enjoys being read to. They will even pretend to behave like a reader by holding books and pretend to read them.

    At what age can you start teaching a child to read? When they're babies? At 2 years old, 3, 4, or 5 years old, or wait until they're in school?

    If you delay your child's reading skill development until he or she enters school, you are putting your child at risk...

    Did you know that 67% of all Grade 4 students cannot read at a proficient level! According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, of those 67%, 33% read at just the BASIC level, and 34% CANNOT even achieve reading abilities of the lowest basic level!

    There is a super simple and extremely effective system that will even teach 2 and 3 year old children to read.

    This is a unique reading program developed by two amazing parents and reading teachers, Jim and Elena, who successfully taught their four children to read before turning 3 years old. The reading system they developed is so effective that by the time their daughter was just 4 years 2 months old, she was already reading at a grade 3 level. They have videos to prove it.

    >> Click here to watch the videos and learn more.

    Their reading system is called Children Learning Reading, and it is nothing like the infomercials you see on TV, showing babies appearing to read, but who have only learned to memorize a few word shapes. This is a program that will teach your child to effectively decode and read phonetically. It will give your child a big head start, and allow you to teach your child to read and help your child develop reading skills years ahead of similar aged children.

    This is not a quick fix solution where you put your child in front of the TV or computer for hours and hope that your child learns to "read"... somehow...

    This is a reading program that requires you, the parent, to be involved. But the results are absolutely amazing. Thousands of parents have used the Children Learning Reading program to successfully teach their children to read.

    All it takes is 10 to 15 minutes a day.

    >> Click here to get started right now. How to Teach a 2 or 3 Year Old to Read.

    ReplyDelete