Saturday, January 28, 2017

Heavy phonics instruction: Australia is backing the wrong horse

Sent to the Herald-Sun, Victoria, Australia,

Re "Teachers forced to teach children phonics in major 'back to basics' move," January 28.

Australia has embraced heavy phonics teaching, because of "dismal" scores on international reading tests by Australian children.  Research does not support this move.

Early and heavy ("systematic") phonics instruction only helps children do better on tests in which they pronounce words out-loud that are presented to them on a list.  Heavy phonics instruction is not related to how well children do on tests in which they have to understand what they read. The best predictor of performance on tests of real reading is the amount of self-selected reading ("pleasure reading") that students do.

The first priority in improving reading is to make sure all children have access to interesting reading material.  It should come as no surprise that study after study shows that access to a quality library is an excellent predictor of reading achievement.

Some good readers have had heavy phonics instruction, some have not. All have done a great deal of pleasure reading. It is reading that is crucial.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

Sources:

Impact of phonics on tests.
Harris, A. and Serwer, B. 1966. The CRAFT Project: Instructional time in reading research. The Reading Research Quarterly 2: 37-57.
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.
Pleasure reading.
McQuillan, J. (1998). The literacy crisis: False claims and real solutions. Portsmouth: Heinemann.
Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Libraries Unlimited.
Libraries.
Krashen, S., Lee, S.Y. and McQuillan, J. 2012. Is the library important? Multivariate studies at the national and international level. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 8(1): 26-36.
Lance, K. (1994). The impact of school library media centers on academic achievement. In C. Kuhlthau (Ed.) School Library Media Annual, vol. 12. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited. pp. 188-197.


1 comment:

  1. Reading Makes Your Child Smarter

    Reading is known to have numerous benefits. It increases your world knowledge, enhances your vocabulary, and works to improve your reading comprehension abilities.

    But did you know that reading can actually make you smarter?

    In fact, reading not only can make a child smarter, the very act of reading can even help to compensate for modest levels of cognitive ability in children by building their vocabulary and general knowledge! This is a finding reported by researchers Cunningham and Stanovich in a report titled "What Reading Does For the Mind".

    The simple fact here is that reading can make your child smarter, and that learning to read early on is directly linked to later success in life.

    1) Did you know that your child's vocabulary at 3 years old predicts his or her grade one reading success? [1]

    2) Did you know that vocabulary and reading ability in first grade strongly predicts grade 11 outcomes? [2]

    3) Did you know that your child's reading skill in grade 3 directly influences high school graduation? Studies have found that children who cannot read proficiently by grade 3 are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers! [3]

    >> Give your child the best possible head start. Teach your child to read today. Click here to learn how.

    But how do you teach a young child to read, and isn't that the job of the school and teachers?

    You can't be more wrong...

    With the right tools, knowledge, and techniques, teaching young children to read can be a simple and effective process. I'd like to introduce you to a fantastic reading program called Children Learning Reading, a super effective method for teaching children to read - even children as young as just 2 or 3 years old.

    The creators of this program have used it to teach their four children to read before age 3, and by reading, I mean real, phonetic reading.

    I can understand if you find that hard to believe... In fact, I had a difficult time believing it myself as well... that is, until I saw the videos they posted documenting the reading progress of the their children - not to mention all the videos other parents have sent in showcasing their children's reading progress after using the Children Learning Program. After learning more about their methods and techniques, it became clear how it's possible to teach young children to read effectively.

    It is truly within your ability to teach your child to read in a relatively short period of time spending just 10 to 15 minutes each day.

    >> Click here now to watch the videos and start teaching your child to read.

    1. Vocabulary Development and Instruction: A Prerequisite for School Learning
    Andrew Biemiller, University of Toronto

    2. Early reading acquisition and its relation to reading experience and ability 10 years later.
    Cunningham AE, Stanovich KE.

    3. Double Jeopardy How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation
    Donald J. Hernandez, Hunter College and the Graduate Center,

    ReplyDelete