Does Instruction Matter?

For me, the pandemic era (and semi-post-pandemic era) of teaching has included some of the longest periods in my 39-year career as an educator when I have not been teaching. The first half of my career as a high school English teacher for 18 years included also teaching adjunct at local colleges during the academic … Continue reading Does Instruction Matter?

A Call for a New (and Honest) Reading Story for 2023

The 2010s into the 2020s has been another decade of high-intensity concern for reading achievement by students, resulting in several rounds of reading policy reform. Maren Aukerman (University of Calgary) has recently joined a growing number of literacy scholars [1] who are documenting how that high-intensity concern for reading is significantly misleading and misguided. In … Continue reading A Call for a New (and Honest) Reading Story for 2023

Is Reading a “Guessing Game”?: Reading Theory as a Debate, Not Settled Science

The word “theory” is a technical term in the sciences that doesn’t mean “guessing.” “Theory” is not “hypothesis,” even as “hypothesis” isn’t really guessing either (maybe it is an educated guess). Yet, average people tend to use “theory” as just a guess. That tension between laypeople and scientists is central to many problem with attempting … Continue reading Is Reading a “Guessing Game”?: Reading Theory as a Debate, Not Settled Science

Whose Voice Matters?: Reading Teacher Edition

Here is a teacher voice that resonates with me in my work as a literacy teacher and scholar: A brief consideration will indicate reasons for the considerable gap between the research currently available and the utilization of that research in school programs and methods. It is not strange, in view of the extensive literature on … Continue reading Whose Voice Matters?: Reading Teacher Edition

Parental Rights as Bullying [UPDATED]

I am not a high-profile journalist with platforms at APM, Education Week, and the New York Times. So I have to imagine that hearing from teachers and parents raising concerns about how the “science of reading” (SOR) movement isn’t representing them and even silencing and bullying them is only a fraction of those experiencing the … Continue reading Parental Rights as Bullying [UPDATED]

The Unnecessary Collateral Damage in the Misguided Reading Programs War

Since I am a man of a certain advancing age—creeping north of 60—I am bombarded on social media with push-ads for a variety of supplements claiming to address the various and common challenges of growing older. These supplements are often advertised by first discrediting other supplements or earlier versions of the supplements being sold. Next, … Continue reading The Unnecessary Collateral Damage in the Misguided Reading Programs War

‘Sold a Story’ Continues “Science of Reading” Misinformation Campaign: A Reader

The debate about teaching students to read has a long history of misinformation. In early and mid-twentieth century, pro-phonics advocates misrepresented and attacked John Dewey and progressivism (neither of which had much real influence in public education). By the late twentieth century, whole language became the target of misinformation and attacks (although NAEP data in … Continue reading ‘Sold a Story’ Continues “Science of Reading” Misinformation Campaign: A Reader

The Lazy Phonics Debate: On Coyotes and Whose Pronunciation Matters

I believe in coyotes and time as an abstract “I Believe,” R.E.M. Born in 1961, I entered public school as a first grader in 1967. This was during an era before kindergarten was common for all, and I also had the great fortune or being raised by a working-class stay-at-home mother who doted on my … Continue reading The Lazy Phonics Debate: On Coyotes and Whose Pronunciation Matters

Reading Science: Current and On-Going Research

Below is the current and on-going (and thus updated as new research is published) body of research related to the “science of reading” movement and reading policy adopted in states across the U.S. The research compiled here has been (except for new publications under “UPDATE” where relevant) included in The Science of Reading movement: The … Continue reading Reading Science: Current and On-Going Research

Decoding Nonsense: What Is Reading?

Please pronounce “sove.” Does it rhyme with “dove” (bird)? Or “dove” (past tense of “dive”)? Or “move”? Increasingly, this is how students are being assessed in classrooms, but also in standardized tests of “reading,” often as evidence that the “science of reading” works (see Coles for a thorough examination of how the media and schools … Continue reading Decoding Nonsense: What Is Reading?