Ending the Reading Wars: Reading Acquisition From Novice to Expert is a huge new study that has a lot to offer – plus, it’s not behind a paywall.
It makes some good points:
* It reinforces what others have suggested – that the important point for effective phonics instruction is not which system is used, but that some kind of system is used.
* Unlike most studies like this, it actually has section highlighting why and how student motivation is an important part of any instructional strategy.
* It supports much of what the National Reading Panel recommends.
It also has some misses, including:
* It offers a not particularly nuanced or accurate description of the so-called “reading wars” (see The Best Resources For Learning About Balanced Literacy & The “Reading Wars”).
* It fixates on the centrality of phonics instruction and is clueless about why many teachers are not supporters: Because so much of the scripted phonics curriculum out there is absolutely terrible and not engaging! But there are good ways to do it (see The Best Articles & Sites For Teachers & Students To Learn About Phonics). The study’s authors obviously would have benefited by talking to K-12 teachers (or, if they did, to more of them).
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