Monday, March 2, 2020

Jeff Bowers vs Jennifer Buckingham - The Reading War

There has been tweets by Jeff Bowers on Tweeter for a few days on his response to Jennifer Buckingham’s post entitled: “The grass is not greener on Jeffrey Bowers’ side of the fence: Systematic phonics belongs in evidence-based reading programs”.

This is another example of what these so-called educators write on without knowing what they are talking about.

We all have been told that most educators and educational researchers agree that phonics instruction is a critical component of early literacy instruction. 

Both Buckingham and Bowers are talking nonsense without realizing what they are talking about.

Bowers says in his article the following:

This means that the following claim by Torgerson et al.’s regarding whole language is unjustified. “Systematic phonics instruction within a broad literacy curriculum appears to have a greater effect on childrens’ progress in reading than whole language or whole word approaches”.
I believe that Dr. Joe Torgeson et al. must have evaluated students who did systematic phonics or whatever phonics that was taught the way it ought to be taught and had therefore concluded that it is more effective than whole word approach.

Bower further said the following:

There are no good scientific grounds to argue that the NRP or the Camilli et al. meta-analyses provide good support for systematic phonics.

What is his basis for making such a statement?

I have taught so-called dyslexic kids over 15 years using phonics and seen my students begin to read fluently within a short period of time.

Recently Sue Lloyd had tweeted that all her students in her school read fluently. I believe Sue Lloyd as she teaches phonics the way it should be.

The question one should ask both Buckingham and Bowers is how many schools teach phonics the way it ought to be taught.

If phonics is not taught correctly, then how can Bowers comment that phonics is not effective. 

Does Buckingham know what she is talking about? I doubt it.

If phonics is taught in the UK and all other countries the way, it is taught in the following video, can we say that the fault lies on phonics and not the silly way it is taught?

Do Bowers and Buckingham know that the main cause of kids being unable to read is because of the way pronunciation of phonemes are taught.

Listen to the above video and tell me if the child will not be confused when he is told the pronunciation of phonemes as per the video for the word ‘fan’ is fur- ah- nuh.

Until and unless the educators begin to accept that the teaching of the pronunciation of sounds represented by consonants are wrong this reading war will continue.

You may ask as to how a majority of kids are able to read. The answer is simply that a majority of kids somehow figure out by analyses of how to read. 

I have done a little ‘research’ by asking high school students in Australia to pronounce the phonemes of a few consonants which they all sounded out as in the video above. Then I gave them a list of nonsense words from David Kilpatrick’s book ‘Equipped for learning success’ and they read it fluently and with ease.

In conclusion, it is easy to figure out that the reading war will continue going on because most of these so-called educators do not know what they are talking about.

They are barking at the wrong tree and have been doing it for decades.

Note: How do the kids figure out how to read? If cuh- ah- tuh is cat and buh- ah- tuh is bat they figure that out by learning it as a whole word. Then when they are taught the word catch, for instance, they will figure out how to pronounce words such as batch, patch, match etc.

This is why kids predisposed to shutting down disengage from learning to read during both the whole word and phonics period.

1 comment:

Luqman Michel said...

Here is a comment on LinkedIn by a member.
Luqman Michel
Susan Yates
(Susan Yates 1st degree connection 1st Connecting UK businesses with emerging international professionals studying at UWE Bristol. Get in touch to talk more.)

"Enjoyed hearing your thoughts on this Luqman Michel well done. It’s a very good point and I agree we need to look to the way we are teaching phonics not just assume the difficulty is in the learner - after all we can improve and innovate in what we do as we are in control of that. Seems a big leap to consign learners to not being able to learn before trying to do better ourselves. Good work you’re doing. Thank you for sharing with us."

I have had many retweets of my tweets and likes on my FaceBook post but this is an encouraging comment.