USA: Reviews Give Failing Marks to Two Popular Reading Programs - Fountas & Pinnell's, and Lucy Calkins'

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USA: Reviews Give Failing Marks to Two Popular Reading Programs - Fountas & Pinnell's, and Lucy Calkins'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Wed Nov 10, 2021 5:19 pm

How many literacy programmes have failed children and failed their teachers? This has gone on far too long and everyone should now know better with the long-standing research in reading instruction:

New Curriculum Review Gives Failing Marks to Two Popular Reading Programs

Fountas and Pinnell, Calkins’ Units of Study get low marks on EdReports

By Sarah Schwartz — November 09, 2021 14 min read ... 84c2d19ca3
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Re: USA EdWeek: 'New Curriculum Review Gives Failing Marks to Two Popular Reading Programs'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Sun Nov 21, 2021 12:28 am

Influential authors Fountas and Pinnell stand behind disproven reading theory

The education professors double down on a flawed approach that encourages pictures and context to read words. Heinemann — their publisher — faces harsh criticism.

November 19, 2021 | by Emily Hanford and Christopher Peak ... ing-theory

Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell, two of the biggest names in literacy education, are breaking their silence in the debate over how best to teach kids to read, responding to criticism that their ideas don’t align with reading science.

Fountas, a professor at Lesley University in Massachusetts, and Pinnell, professor emeritus at Ohio State, are authors of some of the most widely used instructional materials in American elementary schools, and their approach to teaching reading has held sway for decades. But at the core of their approach is a theory about how people read words that has been disproven by cognitive scientists.

A 2019 podcast episode and story by APM Reports helped bring the discrepancy to wide public attention. Since then, Lucy Calkins of Teachers College Columbia, whose work relies on the disproven theory, has admitted she was wrong. But Fountas and Pinnell had remained largely silent until earlier this month, when they released a series of blog posts to address the controversy.

The 10-part series, posted on the website of their publisher, Heinemann, was billed as an effort to “offer clarity around mischaracterizations of our work.”

At the center of the controversy are teaching techniques that encourage children to use context, pictures and sentence structure, along with letters, to identify words. Fountas and Pinnell reiterated their allegiance to this approach in their blog. “The goal for the reader is accuracy using all sources of information simultaneously,” they wrote. “If a reader says ‘pony’ for ‘horse’ because of information from the pictures, that tells the teacher that the reader is using meaning information from the pictures, as well as the structure of the language, but is neglecting to use the visual information of the print. His response is partially correct, but the teacher needs to guide him to stop and work for accuracy.”

Mark Seidenberg, a cognitive scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies reading and language development, said this statement doesn’t square with what decades of scientific research has shown about how reading works. “If a child is reading ‘pony’ as ‘horse,’ these children haven’t been taught to read. And they’re already being given strategies for dealing with their failures. This is backwards. If the child were actually given better instruction in how to read the words, then it would obviate the need for using all these different kinds of strategies.”

Do read the whole report!
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Re: USA EdWeek: 'New Curriculum Review Gives Failing Marks to Two Popular Reading Programs'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Sun Nov 21, 2021 12:31 am

Reading Matters

Connecting Science and Education ... /#comments

Clarity about Fountas and Pinnell

Posted on November 20, 2021 by Mark Seidenberg

Fountas and Pinnell have written a series of blog posts defending their popular curriculum, which is being criticized as based on discredited ideas about how children learn to read. (See Emily Hanford’s post here; EdReports evaluation here, many comments in the blogosphere.) The question is why school systems should continue to invest in the F&P curriculum and other products if they are inadequate.

Their blog posts indicate that Fountas and Pinnell (hereafter F&P) have not benefited from ongoing discussions about approaches to reading instruction. They are staying the course. The posts are restatements of their views that add little new information.

Here are some further observations, from a reading researcher who has been looking closely at several curricula that dominate the enormous market for such materials. I’ve summarized basic flaws in their approach and responded to their defense of it. The quotes are from the F&P “Just to clarify” posts.

1. Fountas and Pinnell’s misconceptions about the knowledge and mental operations that support reading, and how they are acquired, make both learning to read and teaching children to read more difficult.

Being able to read and understand words quickly and accurately is the basic foundation for reading, which enables the development of more advanced forms of literacy.

Because the F&P curriculum doesn’t adequately address the development of these skills, it focuses on coping with the struggles that follow. Beginning readers are seen as plodders who, knowing little about the written code, need ways to figure words out. This can be done by using several “word solving” strategies. There is greater emphasis on teaching children how to cope with their lack of basic skills than on teaching those skills in the first place.

Thus: Fountas and Pinnell’s approach to reading creates learning difficulties for which their curriculum then offers solutions. The rationale for the approach collapses if children are given sufficient opportunities to gain basic skills.

2. In defense of their approach, F&P (like Lucy Calkins) cite the example of a child who reads the word HORSE as PONY. This example clarifies what is at stake.

For F&P such errors are a natural occurrence in beginning reading. The error shows that the child understands the context (perhaps from pictures) and just needs the tools to correct the error, with the teacher’s support. Later they will be taught to “monitor” their own reading to identify when errors have been made and use the strategies to correct them.

I view the error quite differently: it indicates an astonishing instructional flaw, failing to teach the child basic facts about print. A child who is attending to the printed word and has learned that the spelling of a word represents its sound would know that the word cannot be PONY. This type of error is called a semantic paralexia when it occurs in adults whose reading is impaired because of stroke or other brain injury. It’s a rare error among beginning readers unless they haven’t been adequately taught about print.

Again - please follow the link and read the full post.
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Re: USA EdWeek: 'New Curriculum Review Gives Failing Marks to Two Popular Reading Programs'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Mon Nov 22, 2021 1:28 pm

Here is another post with reference to Fountas and Pinnell and their highly-flawed multi-cueing word-guessing approach to reading instruction:

Heartbreak and illiteracy: Three cueing creates instructional casualties

By James Dobson

Community contribution / November 15, 2021 ... s-108331/#

Three cueing is often seen as a hallmark of ‘balanced literacy’. Although there is no clear definition of what balanced literacy actually is, it is nevertheless popular term in Australian schools.

It certainly featured prominently in my training as a primary teacher just over a decade ago. One of the texts we were referred to was Fountas & Pinnell’s chapter called ‘Guided Reading Within a Balanced Literacy Program’ (1996).

So imagine my surprise when the same authors posted a blog this week distancing themselves from the term ‘balanced literacy’!

Unfortunately, this shift away from the balanced literacy label doesn’t seem to coincide with any substantive change in their approach to teaching reading.

Recently, social media erupted as a moderator for Fountas & Pinnell’s facebook group suggested that we should accept that 20 per cent students will be unable to read proficiently. I am not sure where this figure came from, and Fountas & Pinnell have since apologised. However, to claim that 1 in 5 was an acceptable rate of failure caused an outburst.

Imagine the outcry if 20 per cent of students didn’t have lunch! This equates to over 800,000 current students in Australia. As educators, we should not accept this high number of instructional casualties.

Many parents shared the stories of their children, who are instructional casualties of three cueing. The devastation, heartbreak and illiteracy that are perpetuated by the prevalence of this practice is shocking!

Think about your family and friends. How many of them are you willing to allow to be instructional casualties? How can we possibly condemn such a large proportion of them to a life of struggling to read?

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