Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

THE EDITOR'S PAGE: Brass Tacks

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

THE EDITOR'S PAGE: Brass Tacks

Article excerpt

IN THIS last issue of the current volume, we get down to brass tacks about what constitutes effective reading instruction -- the kind of teaching that causes children (even those from poor, minority, or non- English-speaking families) to become proficient readers and writers. Richard Allington sketches for readers "the six T's" of effective elementary literacy instruction, derived from a lengthy study of exemplary first- and fourth-grade teachers in six states. And none of those characteristics will surprise the many expert reading teachers in the Kappan audience.

The characteristics would almost certainly surprise the folks at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), though, because they have placed all their reading-development eggs in one basket -- systematic phonics instruction -- as those of you who have been following our coverage of the NICHD National Reading Panel report know all too well. Allington makes clear that effective reading instruction involves much more than phonics.

Of course, NICHD would not even accept as "scientific" the kind of research that Allington has conducted, because classroom observations and interviews do not conform to the "experimental" model that NICHD espouses. And that's a real problem, as Dr. Steven Strauss pointed out in his "Open Letter to Reid Lyon" (the director of NICHD) in the June/July 2001 issue of Educational Researcher.

Strauss accused NICHD not only of constraining permissible research methodologies but also of neglecting the social underpinnings of illiteracy. He raised the important question, too, of "whether the findings of experiments on, for example, single word stimuli (the most commonly used stimuli for experimental studies on reading) generalize to in vivo settings." Indeed, he pointed out that "advocates of descriptive studies claim that it is precisely the overgeneralization of these single word identification strategies to connected text that characterizes poor reading." Shades of my grandson, the word-caller (whose plight I mentioned in the December 2001 editorial). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.