Sunday, December 6, 2015

Diane E. Levin and Nancy Carlsson-Paige: Setting the record straight on early literacy instruction - The Washington Post

Setting the record straight on early literacy instruction - The Washington Post:

Setting the record straight on early literacy instruction

Earlier this year, the nonprofit organization Defending the Early Yearspublished a report saying that research does not support the Common Core requirement that all children must read with purpose and understanding by the end of kindergarten. The report was called “Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain and Much to Lose,” and it elicited tremendous interest — in the early childhood community and beyond.
Recently, Peter Gray, a research professor of psychology at Boston College, who regularly blogs at Psychology Today, posted to his Facebook page one of his columns, from 2013, on reading instruction. That post says in part:
Progressive educators have always believed that methods of classroom instruction should be based on children’s natural ways of learning, that is, on the ways that children learn in life outside of classrooms.  This has led to a variety of meaning-centered ways of teaching, which run counter to what we might call the process-centered ways of so-called traditional instruction.
Here is a response from Diane E. Levin and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, senior advisers to Defending the Early Years, which was first published on Susan Ochshorn’s ECE Policy Works blog.
Levin, a professor at Wheelock College, is the author of “Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood,” and a founder of Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment.  Carlsson-Paige is a professor emerita at Lesley University, the recipient of numerous awards, and the author of “Taking Back Childhood.”

By Diane E. Levin and Nancy Carlsson-Paige
There has been much well-deserved criticism of the increase in direct instruction in reading skills to young children, resulting from the demands of the Common Core State Standards. However, when we and others argue for abandoning the current one-size-fits-all approach to early literacy, we are not proposing “natural learning environments,” where children learn to read on their own with little teacher intervention.
Yet this is the only alternative to direct, skills-based instruction that Peter Gray describes in “The Reading Wars: Why Natural Learning Fails in Classrooms,”  a 2013 post at Psychology Today that he recently published on his Facebook page.
In his essay, Gray argues that learning to read in and out of classrooms is different, by its very nature. This is true. But we do not agree with his Setting the record straight on early literacy instruction - The Washington Post: