Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

Reading Wars Are Not Over

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A recent meme from Alice Mercer to share my recent “bookmarks” has inspired me to begin to periodically share ones I make.

Today, I’d like to highlight one I learned about from the Stephen Krashen mailing list he has titled The Reading Wars Are Not Over.

It’s an excellent commentary by Gerald Coles about scripted reading programs and the whole language approach.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

One Comment

  1. A key discussion point regarding reading instruction today involves those favoring skills-based instruction and those favoring content-based instruction. This is not the old phonics-whole language debate. Other than a few hold-outs, such as Stephen Krashen, most in the reading field would agree that this debate has been largely settled. The current debate involves whether teachers at all levels should be teaching the how or the what of reading.

    There are, indeed, some who would restrict reading to a measurable skill-set. These would pigeon-hole reading instruction into a continuum of increasingly complex rules, while ignoring the thinking process necessary to advanced reading. Teachers of this ilk love their phonics, context clues, and inference worksheets when they are not leading their students in fluency exercises, ad nauseum, whether the students need fluency practice or not.

    On the other side of the debate are those who would claim that content is the real reading instruction. These would limit reading skill instruction in favor of pouring shared cultural knowledge into learners. They favor teacher read-alouds, Cornell note-taking, and direct instruction. They argue that subject area disciplines such as English literature, science, and history often provide the best reading instruction by the content that they teach.

    Both are extremes. Students need some of each to become skilled and complex readers. More on how to strike this balance on my blog at http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/reading/content-vs-skills-reading-instruction/

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