The first blog post about a new paper co-authored by several literacy experts about the science of reading and education. The tile of the paper is “Lost in Translation? Challenges in Connecting Reading Science and Educational Practice” and it will be published in an issue of the journal Reading Research Quarterly (RRQ) devoted to this topic. The authors will be breaking down topics in a series of blog posts – so check back regularly!
“What I’d like to focus on here, however, are the ways in which Calkins’s discussion of phonics reveal a startlingly compromised understanding of the subject for someone of her influence and stature.”
We are definitely thankful for all the moms, dads, advocates, educators, journalists and policymakers who are working hard every day to ensure that every child learns to read.
Take a moment to enjoy this piece & take note of the excellent resource list at the end, too.
Congratulations to Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz on their well-deserved recognition for their work in the field of dyslexia! The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity is one of our favorite resources!
“At a recent gala event at the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey, Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz were presented with LSC’s “Genius Award” for their groundbreaking work on dyslexia. To begin the presentation of the award, the audience was shown a specially-commissioned video that celebrates the lives and careers of the Shaywitzes. ” (Click on the original article to see the video.)
This article is based upon author Emily Hanford’s audio documentary for APM Reports, “Hard Words: Why Aren’t Kids Being Taught to Read?”
Excerpt: “There is no excuse for this. Colleges of education have to start requiring that their faculties teach the science of reading. Children’s futures depend on it.”
Thank you to our PCSD K-3 teachers who are putting the science of reading back into the classrooms through Wilson Fundations!
What can you do over the UEA break? PLEASE take the time to read or listen to this article & the follow-up we will post, too. PC READS advocated for changes to our PCSD elementary reading curriculum for several years based upon the science of reading & is proud to be a partner on the initiative that brought Wilson Fundations to our classrooms! And, our Professional Development Grants are supporting educators as they learn more about the science of reading.
A FEW EXCERPTS FROM THE ARTICLE:
By some estimates, one-third of America’s struggling readers are from college-educated families.
But without explicit and systematic phonics instruction, many children won’t ever learn to read very well.
“There are thousands of studies,” said Louisa Moats, an education consultant and researcher who has been teaching and studying reading since the 1970s. “This is the most studied aspect of human learning.”
There is no debate at this point among scientists that reading is a skill that needs to be explicitly taught by showing children the ways that sounds and letters correspond. “It’s so accepted in the scientific world that if you just write another paper about these fundamental facts and submit it to a journal they won’t accept it because it’s considered settled science,” Moats said.
You can find schools and school districts across the United States that are trying to change reading instruction the way Bethlehem has, but according to Moats, ill-informed, ineffective reading instruction is the norm. “The gap between science-based ideas and practices and those most often used in our classrooms remains very wide and persistent,” she wrote in a recent article.
A heartfelt thank you to Sally and Bennett Shaywitz for their continued passion to study and understand “our” children!
“For school and district leaders, the hard part about reading instruction is leading a highly effective implementation and sticking to the plan long enough for the work to have a meaningful impact.” Thanks to all the PCSD educators who have implemented Wilson programs in our school district!
Emily Hanford, Senior Correspondent for APM Reports, highlights how the science of reading is being taught to teachers in Bethlehem, PA.
“The Bethlehem district has invested approximately $3 million since 2015 on training, materials and support to help its early elementary teachers and principals learn the science of how reading works and how children should be taught.”
Published in the Journal of Childhood & Developmental Disorders in 2016, this is an excellent research paper explaining how teachers have not been taught the science of reading in pre-service classes. When introduced to this information, teachers are often frustrated that it was not part of their formal education. Changes to teacher preparation are necessary.
EXCERPT: Approximately 20% of our nation’s students are experiencing reading difficulties and the percentage of fourth-grade students who are reading below Basic and Proficient (33% and 58%, respectively) has not appreciably changed since 1992. Fortunately, there is a solution. First and foremost the history of ignorance, resistance and complacency needs to be exposed. Secondly, there is a scientific literature that prescribes how to improve reading abilities in young students. The solution involves providing pre-service teachers with the knowledge that will assist them to provide their students, particularly struggling readers, the types of assessment and interventions that will lead to improved reading skills.
Boston article on a recent MIT study.
New study out of MIT: “In each case, they found that in people with dyslexia, brain regions devoted to interpreting words, objects, and faces, respectively, did not show neural adaptation when the same stimuli were repeated multiple times.”
A short, important article for parents to read about RTI (Response to Intervention). Too often, students are receiving RTI without a long-term plan. Sometimes parents are not even aware that their child is receiving RTI. If you have concerns about your child’s reading, ask the classroom teacher about RTI to learn more.
“Very few states have defined any criteria for moving from RTI into special education. If you want to try RTI first, get a written statement from your school describing the criteria for transitioning from RTI to special education. This should include a timeline of how long RTI will be attempted, a definition of the progress expected, and what objective and measurable standards will be used to measure that progress.”
Excellent article from October 2015.
This kind of anxiety and frustration can be largely avoided, said Wolf, who is also director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University and author of “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.” She and colleague Martha Denckla designed a simple test to quickly know whether there is a problem in the reading circuit very early on, as early as kindergarten or first grade. Called the RAN/RAS test (Rapid Automatized Naming/Rapid Alternating Stimulus), students are timed on how fast they can name letters, numbers, colors and objects.
RAN/RAS or a comparable evaluation is one of the single best predictors that there’s something different in how the brain is putting together letters with their name, which is like a mini-version of the later reading circuit. While RAN/RAS cannot diagnose a reading problem, it does provide educators with a red flag, suggesting that students may need further evaluation.