Wednesday, September 4, 2019

CURMUDGUCATION: What I Know About The Reading Wars

CURMUDGUCATION: What I Know About The Reading Wars

What I Know About The Reading Wars

Lord save us from the unending arguments about reading instruction. I started a Twitter thread just after Christmas and that thing was still flopping around six months later. Emily Hanford has somehow milked one not-very-new observation ("Use phonics") into a series of widely shared articles, which in turn has stirred up all the articles that people wrote the last time phonics was being  praised as the One True Science for Reading Instruction. And on and on.

I live with an elementary school teacher with an advanced degree in reading. I taught English for thirty-nine years. I have some thoughts about all this noise which, as always, you can have for free, and which are, I think, worth considering if you're going to get into this ongoing kerfluffle.

One More Explosion of Experts

As with many issues in education, reading is blessed with the expert insights of expert experts who have never actually had to teach a tiny human to read. This group of People Who Have Really Strong Opinions Even Though They May Not Know What The Heck They're Talking About includes, I must sadly note, high school teachers, who move into the house long after the foundations have been laid. Here's the rule-- all reading experts must be able to answer the question, "What happened when you applied your ideas about reading instruction to several different classrooms full of students?"

Reading Is Not Natural

Humans will do language naturally, by which I mean without any instruction. They will learn to interpret what they hear, and they will start to speak it on their own. This does not happen with CONTINUE READING: 
CURMUDGUCATION: What I Know About The Reading Wars