'Literacy Experts: Are They Ready To Apologize Yet?' How do we hold people to account for flawed reading instruction?

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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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'Literacy Experts: Are They Ready To Apologize Yet?' How do we hold people to account for flawed reading instruction?

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Fri Mar 16, 2018 12:55 pm

https://canadafreepress.com/article/lit ... logize-yet

Literacy Experts: Are They Ready To Apologize Yet?

By Bruce Deitrick Price

“There is one question I’d really love to ask (One Heart!):
Is there a place for the hopeless sinner,
Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own beliefs?
—Bob Marley

The people in charge of literacy in most English-speaking countries are literacy’s worst enemies. This counterintuitive turn-about has to be one of the planet’s more bizarre stories.

The official experts praise a method, often called Whole Language, that doesn’t work. They insist that young teachers use this useless method. The teachers in turn force their students to embrace the method, and they make the parents tolerate the method. That’s how you get a never-ending illiteracy crisis.



This twisted tale is beautifully illustrated in one teacher’s epiphany. Berys Dixon, an Australian housewife, raised children, went back to school, and became a teacher. She found that many things had changed, mainly, “The explicit teaching of phonics was abandoned.”

Berys recalls: “I was to tell the parents, ‘Don’t sound the words out, you can’t sound them all out. This is what you have to do. Look at the picture, see what the first sound is, try a word. See if it makes sense’….If they’re really stuck, tell them what the word is.”

Try a word?! Isn’t this suggestion preposterous on the face of it? Trying out different words would make reading an endless process of guess and hope-you-get-lucky. Real reading is very fast. There is no guessing and luck about it.

Dixon did everything her professors told her, even though the results were bad year after year.

One day, a parent complained that her young child couldn’t sound out the words in his home reader. Berys suppressed her doubts and confidently instructed the parent NOT to expect the child to sound out words. Instead, encourage him to look at the picture, read ahead, “have a guess,” etc., etc. Then if he still couldn’t get the word, just read it for him. All of this is bunk but Berys Dixon did not know this. Her professors surely did.
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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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Re: 'Literacy Experts: Are They Ready To Apologize Yet?'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:01 pm

So, the BIG question is, do teachers, regardless of country, still tell children and parents 'not to sound out'?

And do teachers, still instruct children to read words in their reading books that they cannot read by guessing them from the picture, the first letter, from what makes sense?

I'm developing this thread with evidence that this multi-cueing reading strategies are very flawed, are known and recognised to cause poor and damaging reading habits in at least some children. This is NOT the advice that should be given to teachers via their training, and to children during the reading instruction and practice, nor to parents for when hearing their children read.
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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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Re: 'Literacy Experts: Are They Ready To Apologize Yet?' How do we hold people to account for flawed reading instruction

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:06 am

This 'guidance' was given to a parent by a teacher very recently:


When l get an unknown word l can

1. Use picture clues
2. Look at the initial letter
3. Look at the end letter
4. Go back and re read it
5. Look at the middle letter

Smart thinking readers do NOT sound out words. Sounding out doesn’t work!


Dr Kerry Hempenstall had this to say in response:

These are guessing strategies, and were promulgated strongly by whole language advocates, but dismissed by researchers as counter-productive:
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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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Re: 'Literacy Experts: Are They Ready To Apologize Yet?' How do we hold people to account for flawed reading instruction

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:10 am

The IFERI site is packed full of research findings and recommended reading about the importance of systematic phonics provision, and here is a small example provided by Dr Hempenstall regarding the multi-cueing word-guessing strategies:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=701
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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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Re: 'Literacy Experts: Are They Ready To Apologize Yet?' How do we hold people to account for flawed reading instruction

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:18 am

I wrote a blog post about the big organisations that still continue to promote multi-cueing word-guessing strategies - so you see, this is far beyond the occasional teacher in the occasional school:

https://phonicsintervention.org/2017/01 ... ds-advice/

In this day and age, with a wealth of international research findings in reading instruction available to view on the internet, how can any intervention programme, or any guidance for parents of beginners or children with dyslexic tendencies, persist with multi-cueing reading strategies for lifting the words off the page? The weakest and slowest-to-learn are the very learners who will be most damaged by such practice and this is well-evidenced in the research literature.

This blog post is a biggie. What I am about to say really needs to be said (not just by me). It needs to be said over and again – and the message spread – and organisations promoting flawed methods, information and guidance for reading instruction should be held to account. It’s THAT serious. Whilesoever the world is flooded with wrong, flawed, inadequate and damaging misinformation, we shall never achieve the levels of literacy for all that can be achieved.

This includes all sorts of organisations including (some) intervention organisations, teacher-training organisations, governmental organisations, charitable organisations, literacy organisations, educational organisations, research organisations, dyslexia advisory groups, publishing organisations, manufacturing organisations, advisors and schools.

I’ll jump in quickly here to say that many people ARE saying what I’m drawing attention to here, but sadly, the voices are mainly disconnected or ignored, even ridiculed by some (for example, being labelled as the ‘phonics police‘), and, actually, proving powerless and more often than not – falling on deaf ears. It can be enormously difficult or impossible to hold people and organisations to account to get flawed and potentially damaging advice changed despite urgent need and plenty of evidence. Everyone needs to get their act together and get on board with research-informed reading instruction – NOW! Here is my message – change if you need to. Do you need to? THEN DO IT!


Do read the shocking evidence/examples I provide via my blog post, link above!
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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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Re: 'Literacy Experts: Are They Ready To Apologize Yet?' How do we hold people to account for flawed reading instruction

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:45 pm

Here are more descriptions of teachers learning about the importance of evidence-informed phonics provision and how they changed their practice - Anne Glennie and John Kenny:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=808
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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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Re: 'Literacy Experts: Are They Ready To Apologize Yet?' How do we hold people to account for flawed reading instruction

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:11 am

I'm linking to another thread featuring Dyslexia SA's position statement on 'Running Records' and multi-cueing guessing strategies:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=981&p=1910#p1910

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