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Faith Borkowsky: 'Rebranding Balanced Literacy'

Posted: Sat May 11, 2019 9:24 pm
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
I often refer to the 'entrenchment' of big business whole language literacy programmes and what can be done about this. Indeed, you will find many posts via various IFERI threads featuring worries about the intervention programme, Reading Recovery, which is truly an 'establishment' programme.

In the post below, Faith Borkowsky writes about the 'rebranding' of such programmes to make them appear as if they are state of the art, up to date, and in line with the research findings. This is a very important issue which warrants close attention. How can we hold to account those publishers, politicians and educationalists who continue to promote literacy content and practices that have long since been discredited?

Rebranding Balanced Literacy ... -literacy/

And the list goes on…

Why is it so difficult to get reading instruction right?

With so many states acknowledging dyslexia and passing bills for universal screeners, why are so many parents still dissatisfied and forced to fight an uphill battle?

Just look at the top three instructional and reading intervention programs available and check out the latest spin their founders are using to protect their turf. The Big Three – Fountas and Pinnell Leveled Literacy and Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI), Lucy Calkins’ Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP), and Marie Clay’s Reading Recovery – have, for years, promoted their approaches as the gold standards in “Balanced Literacy” education. But now, recognizing the backlash fueled by dyslexia and phonics advocates and reading science proponents, their efforts to adapt their programs and messages to the new reality are laughable to those in the know, if not creative. Rather than acknowledge that “Balanced Literacy” fails large numbers of children, they’ve chosen instead to tweak their programs and/or modify their messages to give the appearance that they are cutting edge and responsive to the changing landscape. Unfortunately, the changes lack substance.

You would think the above statements were taken from pages written thirty years ago, but, sadly, this is all happening today. The rebranding of Balanced Literacy, using a smattering of phony phonics, slick terms like “responsive teaching,” and nonsensical calls for the teaching of decoding in “purposeful” ways to maintain comprehension, are calculated attempts to dupe the public into believing that children are getting evidence-based instruction.

Meanwhile, parents continue to hope that a dyslexia diagnosis will be the answer they need to finally get appropriate help for their children. As seen from the above quotes, this is not necessarily the case. Struggling readers, whether dyslexic or not, who are pulled out for interventions in Balanced Literacy districts, essentially take two steps backward for every one step forward when they return to their classrooms where Guided Reading and guessing strategies prevail. Unfortunately, until there is a paradigm shift, where general education and special education are aligned, and there is a true understanding and implementation of the reading process, the Big Three will continue to redesign, update, and promote their flawed Balanced Literacy schemes, and continue to make boatloads of money in the process.

Do read the whole piece - it's very important!

About Faith:

Faith Borkowsky is a Certified Dyslexia Practitioner and the founder of High Five Literacy and Academic Coaching. For the past thirty years, Ms. Borkowsky has seen programs come and go, materials bought by school districts not used properly by teachers, or, even worse, never touched. The waste and lack of clear direction has been disheartening, yet with her experience as a Classroom Teacher, Reading and Learning Specialist, Regional Literacy Coach, Administrator, and Private Tutor, she has seen first-hand what truly works.

Re: Faith Borkowsky: 'Rebranding Balanced Literacy'

Posted: Sat May 11, 2019 9:36 pm
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
Here is a 'pinned' thread featuring alarm about Reading Recovery: