NZ study finds no advantage in learning to read from age 5

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Susan Godsland
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NZ study finds no advantage in learning to read from age 5

Post by Susan Godsland » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:14 pm

Reading at five 'fails to boost skills'

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/69 ... kills.html

http://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago006408.html

UK educational psychologist, John Noble, comments on this study:
''All state educated children in NZ are first taught by the language based methods of Marie Clay which are akin to Reading Recovery Methods used here. Using a picture vocabulary test to assess 'receptive vocabulary' as one of his 'controls', the study compared the later reading comprehension scores of about 50 children at 11 and 12 attending Steiner Schools (which also stress the importance of language methods) and State Schools. No differences were found at 11 and 12.

This study has absolutely no implications whatsoever for the first teaching of reading in the UK using synthetic phonics, because no such comparison was included in the Otago study. After working in NZ a couple of streets away from Otago University and having assessed some dreadful cases of all round literacy skills failure in the 2 Steiner Schools sampled in this study, as well as witnessed similarly appalling cases of reading and spelling failure in NZ state schools, I think we need to advise great caution in this country about proposals about precipitous changes in the timing of first literacy teaching derivable from this amateurish bit of research nonsense from NZ''

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Post by Susan Godsland » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:53 pm

http://homeeducationheretic.blogspot.co ... early.html
Another point to remember is that this is not exactly an unbiased piece of work. Sebastian Sugatte was for years a leading light in the students' Anthroposophical Society at the university. He has always been a dedicated supporter of Rudolf Steiner's theories about education. In other words, he did not embark on this research in order to test whether children did better if they delayed learning to read until seven. Rather, he believed this firmly and went looking for evidence to support the hypothesis. That this is so can be seen from the wording he uses. He talks of the age at which children are, "forced to start reading"! How's that for objective, academic language? There is a lack of candour on the part of the man, as can be seen in this quotation from the New Zealand Herald. He is speaking of the apparent discovery that children learning later were not disadvantaged, "Dr Suggate said he was surprised by his own findings that this was not the case." For a dedicated anthroposophist to make such a statement with a straight face suggests strongly that there is an element of deliberate deception involved.

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Post by chew8 » Sat Jan 16, 2010 5:09 pm

I have always remembered a comment by Marilyn Jager Adams on an experiment in which Yopp and Singer were successful in teaching kindergartners to identify unfamiliar written words by sounding and blending.
Adams wrote:The bottom line, they [Yopp and Singer] argue, is that the role of mental age is not one of limiting what a child can learn but of limiting the ways in which they can be effectively taught (Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print, 1990).
I know that USA kindergartners are a little older than UK Reception children and that 'mental age' is probably just one of the 'readiness' factors we have had in mind in this thread. I nevertheless think that where literacy teaching is concerned, some code-based approaches may be more suitable for very young children than others. I know from personal experience that it's quite possible for children to start learning simple letter-sound correspondences before their second birthdays, then to go on to digraphs etc., to be fluent readers (e.g. of books at the level of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) by the time they start Reception, and to be extremely good spellers into the bargain.

I have never suggested that all children should start learning phonics as toddlers, and in fact I wouldn't mind if UK children started learning to read and write when they were older than is now the case, provided that the teaching was sensible. At the same time, however, I have always felt that an approach which is manageable by even a few toddlers should be manageable by virtually all children by the time they reach the current UK school entry age.

Jenny C.

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Post by Derrie Clark » Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:37 pm

At the same time, however, I have always felt that an approach which is manageable by even a few toddlers should be manageable by virtually all children by the time they reach the current UK school entry age.
I absolutely agree Jenny. I feel that expectations of Year R children are often far too low. I also feel many children would benefit from structured small step language programmes instead of simply being left to play with other children who have little or no language.

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Re: NZ study finds no advantage in learning to read from age 5

Post by john walker » Tue May 17, 2016 1:42 pm

I agree with both Jenny and Derrie on this. However, I'd also point out that rather than waiting for 'readiness', I'm always encouraging teachers to aim their instruction at pupils' 'ripening functions', rather than what they can do independently. As I'm sure we all agree, young children can do far more with the support of a knowledgeable adult who knows exactly how an activity is structured, understands all the steps in it, and can give clear guidance when/if the child makes errors.
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http://literacyblog.blogspot.com

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Re: NZ study finds no advantage in learning to read from age 5

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Tue May 24, 2016 1:48 pm

As I'm sure we all agree, young children can do far more with the support of a knowledgeable adult who knows exactly how an activity is structured, understands all the steps in it, and can give clear guidance when/if the child makes errors.
Sadly, not everyone has the mindset for specific teaching and people do 'wait' for 'developmental readiness'.

Don't such people realise schools and pre-schools benefit from children who have been taught much at home - lots of language, lots of information and discussion, lots of literature.

Professionals need to match the level of adult input in such homes and make up for the lack of adult input for other children in language/literature impoverished homes.

This is not a reflection of 'love levels' at home, of course.

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Re: NZ study finds no advantage in learning to read from age 5

Post by JIM CURRAN » Sat May 28, 2016 6:00 pm

'Professionals need to match the level of adult input in such homes and make up for the lack of adult input for other children in language/literature impoverished homes.' Totally agree Debbie. In 'Beginning To Read' Marilyn Jager Adams calculated that by first Grade at six and a quarter her son John had received up to 1,700 hours of Story book time whereas disadvantaged children in San Diego studied by William Teale ( 1986 ) received about 25 hours of Story book time up to Grade 1. The Hart and Risley study ( 1997 ) on the starkly limited language of disadvantaged 3 year olds compared to the language experience of middle class children or the work of Leon Feinstein at the London School of Economics which demonstrated that bright disadvantaged babies in the top quarter on tests of cognitive ability at 22 months were overtaken by slower babies from more advantaged backgrounds by age 7. Disadvantaged children need the right socio economic mix of children in their classrooms from the earliest times it is one of the surest and cheapest ways to bring them on. The OECD has pointed out that classrooms in the UK are among the most socially segregated in Western Europe.Of the 57 countries participating in PISA Finland had the lowest degree of socio-economic segregation.

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Re: NZ study finds no advantage in learning to read from age 5

Post by chew8 » Mon May 30, 2016 9:05 am

I think that nurseries and schools can go some way towards making up for a lack of home input, but I don't think they can ever do the whole job.

Jenny C.

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Re: NZ study finds no advantage in learning to read from age 5

Post by JIM CURRAN » Mon May 30, 2016 6:30 pm

'I think that nurseries and schools can go some way towards making up for a lack of home input, but I don't think they can ever do the whole job.' I think that most people would agree with that Jenny.

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Re: NZ study finds no advantage in learning to read from age 5

Post by JIM CURRAN » Mon May 30, 2016 6:32 pm

Boys who grow up around books 'earn more as adults'

'In this sense, we claim that books – like diamonds – are forever'

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-enter ... 56356.html

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