Raising Kids Who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Raising-Kids-Wh ... 1118769724
There's a review here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/Karin-Che ... 98024.html
Certainly, teachers have moved on from the hugely damaging whole language era of the 70s-80s-90s. What we have now, in nearly all schools, is a 'balanced approach' (US) or 'a range of strategies' (UK) with phonics being just one of a range of ways to decode words, the other 'ways' being various forms of guessing.As important as the information in Why Kids Can't Read is, however, it felt stuck in the 1990s. I haven't heard the term "whole language" in a school in a long time, and most early elementary teachers know that they need to teach kids phonics in some kind of systematic way. The fact that fourth-grade reading has improved over the last decade indicates schools have at least begun to figure out early reading instruction.
Willingham writes (p3) ''by around the fourth grade, most kids decode pretty well''
This is his evidence for that statement:
http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/readin ... -knowledge
In 2013, by 4th Grade, 65% of children were still reading below 'proficiency' level.
Sample questions used to assess reading - they tested comprehension, not decoding ability specifically.
http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/readin ... -questions
Of course there's a strong link between decoding and comprehension. As Willingham himself says, ''Students must be able to decode fluently before [comprehension] strategies can be effective'' http://www.aft.org//sites/default/files ... CogSci.pdf
It doesn't seem unreasonable to suggest that a significant percentage of the 65% of children with 'below proficiency level' comprehension scores were also poor decoders.
Older children's reading problems: discusses the '4th grade slump'.
Is it a knowledge gap, a decoding gap, or both?
http://nifdi.org/news-latest-2/blog-hem ... y-problems