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Rebalancing Literacy

Helpful Research on the Science of Reading and Related Inquiries
Reciprocal effects between reading comprehension and emotional cognitive ability
This study’s findings highlight the importance of educators regularly assessing and improving children's reading comprehension and emotional cognitive ability, taking into account their levels and needs.
Stories Grounded in Decades of Research: What We Truly Know about the Teaching of Reading Catherine Compton-Lilly, Lucy K. Spence, Paul L. Thomas, Scott L. Decker, International Literacy Association
In response to science of reading advocates, Catherine Compton-Lilly, Lucy K. Spence, Paul L. Thomas, Scott L. Decker caution that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to teaching reading, reminding us that we must be responsive to children's individual needs.
David Pearson Interview Part 1 Dr. Sam Bommarito,
In Part 1 of his interview with Dr. Sam Bommarito, P. David Pearson discusses many elements of reading instruction, including the educational implications of reading as a meaning-making process. He emphasizes that the science of reading definition of reading that Emily Hanford references frequently, focused solely on phonics, is a very narrow, small piece of the broader definition.
David Pearson Interview Part 2 Dr. Sam Bommarito,
In Part 2 of his interview with Dr. Sam Bommarito, P. David Pearson discusses the misuse of Dibels as a direct guide to pedagogy, clarifying that it’s meant to be used as a progress-monitoring tool, not as a diagnostic assessment. He also talks back to the notion that the 3 cueing system shouldn’t be used, noting that every model of expert reading includes multiple cueing systems.
Donna Scanlon’s NCES presentation on the Use of Contextual Supports in Word Identification and Word Learning. The Nation’s Report Card
Dr. Donna Scalon, professor emeritus at the University of Albany’s Department of Literacy Teaching and Learning, details the importance of using context clues in conjunction with phonics to support students in word identification and learning.
Thinking through research and the science of reading Freddy Hiebert,
Tired of the Reading Wars? Become a Conscientious Objector Larry Ferlazzo, EducationWeek
This is part two of a three-part blog series on how teachers should handle the so-called reading wars in classroom instruction.
The Science of Reading and the Media: Does the Media Draw on High-Quality Reading Research? Maren Aukerman, Literary Research Association
Maren Aukerman of the University of Calgary dives into the research mainstream media access – and the research they leave behind – when reporting on education. This is the third in a series of articles on the topic from Aukerman. The first two are also helpful and are linked here as well.
Facebook Post P. David Pearson
P. David Pearson, Professor Emeritus, School of Education, University of California at Berkeley, writes in response to the Washington Post editorial about phonics.
What Really Matters in Teaching Phonics Today: Laying a Foundation for Reading Jim Cunningham, Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and a member of the Reading Hall of Fame
Cunningham writes that the last time the US focused heavily on phonics instruction--through a program called Reading First--even the US government’s own assessment of that program showed almost no results. The “lack of success for Reading First was not because it taught phonemic awareness and phonics/decoding, but because it neglected to teach reading and writing at the same time.”
What Does Science Say About Orton-Gillingham Interventions? An Explanation and Commentary on the Stevens et al. (2021) Meta-Analysis,
Emily Solari, Yaacov Petscher, and Colby Hall, discuss a meta-analysis that studied the effects of Orton Gillingham, a widely touted program. The results suggested that OG has no statistically significant effect on students with word difficulties, despite its status as the gold standard for kids with dyslexia. In fact, OG doesn’t meet the US Dept. of Education’s standard for research-based teaching. We want to point out that this doesn’t mean OG is not helpful for kids--only that a lot of approaches that don’t yet qualify CAN be helpful. It probably depends on how it is taught and to whom.
Reading wars or reading reconciliation? A critical examination of robust research evidence, curriculum policy and teachers' practices for teaching phonics and reading
Dominic Wyse and Alice Bradbury, both faculty at University College London, examined the research evidence resulting from England’s mandatory phonics-first instruction. In 2012, England instituted mandatory phonics-first instruction. In the 10-year review of that policy, Wyse and Bradbury concluded that no measurable progress had been made as a result of the program.
Harvard EdCast: To Weather the "Literacy Crisis," Do What Works
Listen to Catherine Snow, John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, talk about the state of literacy. In this Catherine Snow makes the keen observation “I am, like you, struck by the degree to which people are willing to invoke a literacy crisis, when the data do not support anything like a literacy crisis. NAEP scores, aside from the pandemic then-- but NAEP scores, over the last 10, 15 years have grown-- slowly, but they have gotten better in literacy.” “And it's deeply puzzling to me why we have all of this public discourse about a literacy crisis. If I were deeply cynical, I would say it's probably a useful technique for companies that are trying to sell their programs to get people to buy those programs, if parents and some school districts are very agitated about the so-called literacy crisis.”
On the latest obsession with phonics
In the Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog on May 23, 2023, David Reinking, Peter Smagorinsky and David Yaden discuss the misunderstanding about phonics and literacy instruction in general that is pervasive in the media.
Facebook Post P. David Pearson
P. David Pearson, Professor Emeritus, School of Education, University of California at Berkeley, revisits his initial approach to the “radical middle” in reading instruction and finds it still holds true.
Why Phonics (in English) is Difficult to Teach, Learn and Apply: What Caregivers and Teachers Need to Know
This article, co-authored by David Reinking and his wife who has been a teacher for decades, dispels any notion that teaching reading is as easy as teaching kids their ABCs. The co-authors very clearly lay out the complexities of phonics in the English language, and suggest implications for teaching.