Reading First

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JIM CURRAN
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Reading First

Post by JIM CURRAN » Wed Apr 02, 2008 2:02 pm

In an interview with Michael Shaughnessy ( Education News.org ) Reid Lyon speaks about the controversy concerning the implementation of the Reading First Programme.

In the final paragraph he talks about how the “language of reading instruction has changed” and how teachers, educational leaders and policy makers have begun to use a “systematic common professional language” about reading. These observations are made on the basis of visits to schools and meeting with teachers and administrators all over the country.
He’s saying that teachers are getting really knowledgeable about the research on reading and how it should be taught. Even more importantly all concerned teachers, educational leaders and policy makers are beginning to sing from the same hymn sheet.

Is the same type of process occurring here in the UK post Rose?

http://ednews.org/articles/24379/1/An-O ... Page1.html

hfraser
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Post by hfraser » Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:23 pm

It's all well and good for Reid Lyon to say that, but I think the truth is a little different. I'm enrolled in classes for a Reading Specialist endorsement and a Master's degree in Reading. In none of my classes has phonics first been stressed, and in most it has been ignored or denigrated. Teachers of teachers are still disseminating the idea that children need to learn and use three cues for reading, that children "emerge" into literacy, and that running records are the best way to assess reading skill. I find it both sad and incredibly frustrating. I really hate the fact that I'm paying lots of money to get stupider by taking these classes. I've learned far more about how to teach reading by being part of groups like these and reading books like those written by Diane McGuinness.

JIM CURRAN
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Post by JIM CURRAN » Wed Apr 02, 2008 9:06 pm

Thanks for your most interesting and informative reply. Unfortunately what you have to say, although depressing, is not unexpected. I’ve spent thirty three years in teaching and during that time completed more courses than I could count including an MSc. in Developmental and Educational Psychology but it was only after reading Diane McGuinness’s “ Why Children Can’t Read” and making connect with Mona McNee and Jenny Chew on readbygrade3 that I began to understand.

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Post by JIM CURRAN » Thu Apr 03, 2008 7:59 am

Sorry about the error, “ making connect” should read “making contact”.

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Post by JIM CURRAN » Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:11 am

When our new year 8 intake arrive every year I run a Reading Programme to teach decoding. The programme runs all of the first term. Last year a student from one of our teacher training colleges asked if she could sit in on some of the classes. This student was in the third year of a four year course aimed at the primary sector. When I asked her how many lectures she’d had on teaching reading she told me she hadn’t had any lectures or tutorials.

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:28 am

she told me she hadn’t had any lectures or tutorials.
Which goes to show what a ludicrous education training programme exists for teachers.

I don't think this is that far different from the 'norm' is it?

On appeal to the wider domain as to the training content for 'reading' in recent times, there have been a couple of positive responses where individual lecturers seem very keen to point students in the direction of the synthetic phonics teaching principles.

I suspect, however, that courses still remain at the discretion of lecturers as individuals because we have also heard from student-teachers who have been directly told to ignore the Rose Report.

Here we go again, then - a total lottery as to what learners learn in our educational establishments - be it schools or universities.

This makes me despair when we always hear the rhetoric of 'national' programmes of study.

hfraser
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Post by hfraser » Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:23 pm

In my program for becoming a Reading Specialist, I had to take 8 classes.

Leadership - how to work with other teachers as a coach. No instruction on reading.
Children’s Literature - how to talk about the pictures in a story book, among other unimportant things. Little to no instruction on reading.
Foundations of Literacy - a series of articles on the 5 “big ideas” in reading. Very little instruction on how to teach reading.
Reading Assessment - worse than useless. This class was strongly focused on the 3 cueing method, stages of emerging into literacy, running records, and interest inventories.
Teaching Adolescent Struggling Readers - the most useful class, but even here not a lot on phonics (probably because it was geared to older students). Had several interesting strategies for comprehension, and a couple for vocabulary.
Linguistics for Teachers - I don’t know about this class as I’m just starting it now.
Literacy for Special Needs Students - will be taking it this summer.
Practicum - the readings focused on how to be a coach to other teachers. The practicum part is whatever project the student wants to do. I’ll be starting my practicum next week. I’ve done so much research on decoding, and I’m already convinced about how to teach it well, and I don’t want to finish a project started by another student this last term, so I think I’m going to look at vocabulary development at the upper elementary level (grades 3, 4, 5) using morphemes.

So the result? Of the six classes I’ve finished for a Reading Specialist endorsement only one was useful for actually teaching reading to students, and even then it was focused on older kids, not beginning readers. I think that explains a lot about why reading is in the dismal state it is.

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Post by maizie » Fri Apr 04, 2008 6:17 pm

Teaching Adolescent Struggling Readers - the most useful class, but even here not a lot on phonics (probably because it was geared to older students).
Sadly, even 'older students' need phonics! My 11 - 14 year olds certainly do. I think they could just about be classed as 'adolescents' ;-)

hfraser
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Post by hfraser » Fri Apr 04, 2008 9:32 pm

I agree with you completely. I think one of the main reasons older kids have trouble comprehending what they read is because they have trouble reading the words correctly. If what you're reading is either wrong (how many kids skip over the oh-so-important word "not?") or gibberish, you aren't going to understand what the author intended to convey.

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Post by FEtutor » Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:28 pm

I'll vouch for adults needing Code knowledge and skills to process it too. Last week when we were reading, at his request, a passage from "To kill a mockingbird" a student hesitated at a word. Before I could remind him to work it out from the sounds he said triumphantly "Wait! I know this one! Geometry!" It was "generosity".

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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:08 am

I teach one particular pupil who is very reluctant to apply her new code knowledge and blending skill because she is so entrenched in guessing after years of surviving that way.

Every time she sees 'would', she reads 'wouldn't' and therefore gains the exact opposite meaning to the text.

People would be amazed at how many guesses are possible with the context-guessing and word-shape guessing strategies. And the number of words completely missed out shows there is very poor word-for-word tracking from left to right.

This girl can blend and 'hear' the target words, but the problem is that she is just so reluctant to do so as it is not her usual/habitual reflex.

Isn't it heartbreaking when we can see so clearly what goes wrong and yet we know that the promotion of the multi-cueing strategies remain the prevailing teaching method for older pupils and the prevailing intervention method for six year olds onwards.

hfraser
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Post by hfraser » Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:35 am

I just read most of the chapter about phonics in the assigned text for my linguistics class and I want to hide my head in my hands and cry.

Reasons phonics doesn’t work (according to the text):
* There are 166 correspondences, which are too many to learn
* Every phonics rule has exceptions
* Eye movement studies show readers only fixate on 60% to 80% of words proving readers sample text and guess what it says
* Researchers who say eye movement studies show we read almost every letter (Adams, 1994) have misinterpreted the findings.
* Readers can’t read from left to right because following letters affect the pronunciation of previous ones
* Basal readers introduce correspondences in different sequences, therefore phonics teaching is not systematic.
* Across 4 basal series, only 11 out of 50 vowel generalizations were the same
* Rules that don’t work 100% of the time are useless to teach
* “ee” doesn’t work 100% of the time because been is pronounced /bin/
* One teacher commented that she was struggling to get her 2nd graders to read for meaning and she was sorry she’d taught them phonics in Kinder and 1st grades.
* When 277 readers (unknown age) were asked what they do when they come to an unknown word, 41% said “sound it out” (this was said like it was a bad thing), and an additional 62% (sic) would ask the teacher. (It also states that 16% would look at pictues, go back and reread, or read on. Apparently simple math skills are not required to do research or write a book.)
* The book equates miscue analysis with Stanovich’s research.
* Stanovich says struggling readers rely heavily on context, not good readers
* But miscue analysis says struggling readers rely too heavily on phonics, and need to rely more on syntactic and semantic cues
* There is no standard for what constitues a decodable book.
* There is no research showing the benefits of using decodable books
* Students can read words in context that they can’t read in isolation

I really, really, really hate the fact that I’m paying to “learn” this carp.

Bob Boden
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why people make money from not teaching children to read

Post by Bob Boden » Sat Apr 05, 2008 3:45 am

It is enough to make one cry. To have someone say the good reader does not see the individual letters in the words he is reading is garbage. I see not only all the letters in the word I am reading but the letters in the words preceding and following. When I look at a word like 'cough' my mind knows that the letters ough following c have the awf sound. c followed by awf gives the correct pronunciation, which I perceive at lightning speed.

I have given the matter much thought and can't shake the belief that most of our problems with producing more efficient ways of teaching little children to read properly (and I am a big believer in SP) stem from the fact that in the short range there is big money to be made by (1) dragging out the process of teaching reading and (2) by simply not teaching about a third of the children to read well.

Who profits? The publishers of educational materials which emphasize all those pretty picture books.

The great number of additional teachers required for less than high tech work, and all those special ed instructors.

The employers who need the kind of help they can get at minimum wage.

And lastly, and perhaps the most important, the vast amount of administrative services eagerly assumed by the unions and the educational institutions they have under their control.

The big losers are the public, but this is in the long range when his country begins to lose its competitive edge. The person who knows how to read well doesn't feel hurt at all by the fact that a large number of children are presently not learning to read. Who will we get to mow our lawn?

I can't escape the feeling that the last thing the education industry wants to see is all the kiddies learning to read well in kindergarten. Their lack of compassion is just about unforgiveable. Are we the only ones who feel bad when we think of the great number of children our schools assign to a lifetime in the minimum wage army through no fault of their own?

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Post by g.carter » Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:12 am

Spot on, Bob. And there is the ideological picture - phonics = arid,skills'-based, authoritarian - and many at the top of the education pile suffered post-war from a pitilessly authoritarian education. It's ironic that such air-brushing of the children who can't learn to read properly is as cruel as the class-ridden education of the 30s,40s,50s.

hfraser
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Post by hfraser » Sat Apr 05, 2008 3:42 pm

* The book equates miscue analysis with Stanovich’s research.
This should be: the book gives equal weight to miscue analysis and Stanovich's research.

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