Monday, October 29, 2018

NY Times: "Why Are We Still Teaching Reading the Wrong Way?"

This is a recent opinion piece from the New York Times making the case that teachers should rely on cognitive science to teach children how to read rather than popular, but debunked, theories like "whole language" which posits that learning to read is as innate an activity as language acquisition itself (it isn't). 

Why Are We Still Teaching Reading the Wrong Way?

Teacher preparation programs continue to ignore the sound science behind how people become readers.


Our children aren’t being taught to read in ways that line up with what scientists have discovered about how people actually learn.


It’s a problem that has been hiding in plain sight for decades. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, more than six in 10 fourth graders aren’t proficient readers. It has been this way since testing began. A third of kids can’t read at a basic level.


How do we know that a big part of the problem is how children are being taught? Because reading researchers have done studies in classrooms and clinics, and they’ve shown over and over that virtually all kids can learn to read — if they’re taught with approaches that use what scientists have discovered about how the brain does the work of reading. But many teachers don’t know this science.


What have scientists figured out? First of all, while learning to talk is a natural process that occurs when children are surrounded by spoken language, learning to read is not. To become readers, kids need to learn how the words they know how to say connect to print on the page. They need explicit, systematic phonics instruction. There are hundreds of studies that back this up.

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Continue reading here.


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