'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by maizie » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:11 pm

It doesn't have to be relevant. Threads are allowed to wander at times.

You clearly know the children you are talking about as you work with them as a volunteer. What would you do if you were their teacher?

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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by chew8 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:16 pm

Toots wrote:I thought what was being debated related to the reliability of evidence from research and the wisdom, or not, of attempting to impose standardised practice based on the evidence. Over-emphasis is certainly one of the possible outcomes from the enforcement and testing regime.
There seems to be general agreement that the Clackmannanshire research is what lies behind policies adopted by the previous and present governments. If doubt is being cast on the reliability of that research by other research, that other research should be cited. As far as I know, however, there is no such research, so we have this constant problem of research being challenged on the basis of no-research.

I don’t think ‘standardised practice’ is really being imposed in any strict sense –schools are free to use programmes of their own choosing and have not been forced to use the matched funding to buy approved materials. I don’t know what proportion of schools have now used this funding, but I know that at one stage many schools had not used it, and the evidence (e.g. from the National Foundation for Educational Research) shows that many teachers are still using mixed methods.

The ‘testing regime’ remains what it has hitherto been at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2 – i.e. in Years 2 and 6. The phonics screening check has been added at the end of Y1, so it’s only then, not after the first 6 months or year in school, that children’s ability to decode non-word and real-word items out of context is being checked. This seems reasonable in view of the evidence that the ability to do this is correlated strongly with later reading success. If there is evidence that children can become good enough at doing this after being taught in non-s.p. ways in the first 2 years of school, that evidence should be produced. In fact, however, the arguments against the screening check seem to be based more on the idea that decoding out of context is not important as it amounts to merely barking at print.

Jenny C.

Toots

Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by Toots » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:06 pm

I'm sure you know, Jenny, that the Clack study is not universally credited with being sound. Wasn't there a long discussion on here previously about its shortcomings? With an Ellis and Moss article being referenced?
http://www.esrc.ac.uk/my-esrc/grants/RE ... d833958c27

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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by chew8 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 4:07 pm

Yes, Toots, we have discussed the Clack. study before. As far as I know, however, its critics are content with commenting on what they see as wrong with it without citing any research which shows that something else is better. You cite the Ellis and Moss article again - that, too, is open to criticism, as I think I mentioned before.

Jenny C.

Toots

Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by Toots » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:28 pm

What are you saying, Jenny? How does not having research of alternatives available render the Clack study as better than it is? I can't see the logic in that.

Davis questions the prescriptive value of traditional research (which doesn't mean he dismisses it as being without value to teaching practice), so it is hardly likely that research of an alternative is going to be demanded from that quarter. Using the evidence derived from such an enterprise to prescribe classroom practice would have exactly the same problems as the prescription of SP.

Additionally, you might note that Davis is not anti-phonics, and therefore is not looking to replace SP with an alternative so much as to draw attention to faults in thinking and logic which make the promotion of SP, in its current form, counter-productive.

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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by kenm » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:38 pm

yvonne meyer wrote:Toots does not appear to be able to accept the 'Simple View' of reading:
decoding x comprehension = reading
With some reason, because the abundance of homographs and homophones in English complicates decoding and spelling in a manner that requires context to unravel. I don't think her criticism of it is of great relevance to the first two years of reading instruction, during which the simple view is a good approximation, expecially when the text for free reading is carefully chosen. However, even at this stage a child is likely to come across "to", "too" and possibly "two", so I presume these and other homophones have to be treated as "specials" in some way.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by yvonne meyer » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:03 pm

What are you saying, Jenny? How does not having research of alternatives available render the Clack study as better than it is? I can't see the logic in that.
As we have stated on other threads many times - there is a wealth of multiple, overlapping evidence-based research studies from different sources which all reach the same conclusion. Clacks is one of many.

If you are going to nitpick Clacks, then nitpick all the other evidence-based studies from Jeanne Chall at Harvard in the '50's onwards that reach the same conclusions as Clacks.

Then try and find a single evidence-based study that supports any of the constructivist, child-centred strategies that you endorse.

I'll save you some time by telling you there aren't any.

As for your example of the children with severely limited spoken language, the findings from evidence-based research are that these children perform better with programmes based on the evidence of what works, then on constructivist, child-centred strategies.

You keep 'framing' synthetic phonics instruction as being at the expense of everything else. As I and others have told you many times on many other threads, the scientific evidence-based research informs us that the most effective way to teach all children to read is direct, explicit, intensive and systematic instruction in phonemic awareness, synthetic phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

All these elements are required to successfully teach all children to read. With specific regard to comprehension, the evidence-based research informs us that:
Factors that Impact Reading Comprehension

Reader Based Factors

•Phonemic Awareness
•Alphabetic Understanding
•Fluency with the Code
•Vocabulary knowledge
•Prior knowledge
•Engagement and interest

Text Based Factors

•Narrative v. Expository
•Genre considerations
•Quality of text
•Density and difficulty of concepts

The causes of Reading Comprehension Failure are:

•Inadequate instruction
•Insufficient exposure and practice
•Deficient word recognition skills
•Deficient memory capacity and functioning
•Significant language deficiencies
•Inadequate comprehension monitoring and self-evaluation
•Unfamiliarity with text features and task demands
•Undeveloped attentional strategies
•Inadequate cognitive development and reading experiences

Kame'enui & Simmons, 1990

from 5 Big Ideas in Beginning Reading
http://reading.uoregon.edu/

Toots

Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by Toots » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:21 pm

You've stuck in a lot of unjustified assumptions there about my position, Yvonne, and about the children I support, so forgive me for not bothering to respond further.

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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:00 am

You keep 'framing' synthetic phonics instruction as being at the expense of everything else.
This describes very well what you routinely do, toots.

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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by yvonne meyer » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:07 am

Toots, I have asked you on a number of other threads to support what you say with evidence and you never do but instead make 'ad hominen' attacks.

The programme I am most familiar with is 'Spalding' which is the one my son's tutor used to teach him in 12 hours of explicit instruction what his classroom teachers had failed to teach in 6 years of full-time child-centred instruction.

From the Foreward to Romalda Spalding's The Writing Road to Reading by Dr. S. Farnham-Diggory, written in, I believe, the '80's, well before the publication of the (US) Report of The National Reading Panel, 2000, the Australian NITL, 2005 and Clacks. This Foreward quotes work done by Jeanne Chall from the '50's onwards. Do you have any evidence that contradicts even this early work in how to effectively teach all children to read?
Stages of Reading Acquisition

A helpful framework for organizing an instructional sequence for reading was provided by Jeanne Chall (1983a, 1983b), while director of the Reading Laboratory at Harvard University. According to Chall, we progress through six stages of reading skill development.

Stage 0 is a prereading stage. Children are essentially discovering the world of print from billboards, cereal boxes, and the like.

Stage 1 is the first stage of reading, and is characterized by recognition of the alphabetic principle-namely, that letters represent speech sounds or phonemes.

Stage 2 is the expansion and consolidation of this principle, mastery to the point of automaticity, of the orthographic rules of the language.

Stage 3 is the beginning of higher-order learning and thinking-skill acquisition. As the saying goes, you are no longer learning to read, you are reading to learn. Essentially, you can now develop and embed comprehension subskills in the overall reading process. You can, for example, "flag" key concepts as important to remember while you're reading along.

Stages 4 and 5 involve higher types of analytical and synthetic reasoning, as when you compare points of view or use new information to modify a personal theory-all during the ongoing process of reading.

Chall provided convincing evidence that reading skill acquisition does progress through these stages, in the order described.

http://www.spalding.org/index.php?tname ... p=foreword

Toots

Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by Toots » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:27 am

Where did I make an ad hominem attack? Please elaborate.

I have no argument with the stages of reading set out in your quote, as far as conceiving reading progress in stages goes, but would want to explore the exact mechanisms of stage 2 and the means of expansion and consolidation. And I'm sure you would agree that it would be simplistic to interpret these stages as implying that comprehension of text does not happen until stage 3.

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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by maizie » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:55 pm

Toots wrote: And I'm sure you would agree that it would be simplistic to interpret these stages as implying that comprehension of text does not happen until stage 3.
Framing again, toots.

Toots

Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by Toots » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:38 pm

No, just checking.

SP is SP; everything else is everything else. Whether SP is taught at the expense of everything else depends on circumstances. At present, in England, the circumstances exist which may have this result.

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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by maizie » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:05 pm

Try again.

You cannot stop a child comprehending a word it has just sounded out and blended if it is in the child's expressive or receptive vocabulary. SP doesn't need to 'teach' comprehension to most children at this level. SP is a method of treaching children how to accurately identify what words 'say' BEFORE they start to attach a meaning to them. For most children, as I said above, this is sufficient. If their vocabulary needs help there is nothing in the SP 'rules' that says you mustn't help them to understand what discrete words 'mean'. It's called teaching..

The only thing the 'rules' say is that you mustn't teach 'other strategies' for working out what words 'say', i.e the complete 'sound' of the whole word which is discovered a split second before 'meaning' is activated. It is very simple. It mystifies me that anyone should have a problem with understanding it

Toots

Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by Toots » Tue Jan 07, 2014 2:46 pm

SP cannot teach meaning to children at any level.

Your model is too simple. Words are not recognised as a string of sounds, which is why children will not always recognise a known word after sounding it out. Words are recognised in context. There is an interaction between understanding and decoding with each feeding into the other. When you tell the child the meaning of a word you are contributing to that interactive process. The process is fairly straightforward when the decoding is simple, the child is fairly well able to blend and blending produces a simple word which the child understands, such as 'bag'. It is less straightforward when the decoding is complex and ambiguous and/or the word is unfamiliar such as 'are', or the child's decoding efforts are torturous.
Last edited by Toots on Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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