Tuesday, April 18, 2023

New York Times and the Science of Reading


I read a report on Science of Reading in the New York Times dated 16.4.2023.

In the entire report there was no definition of the ‘Science of Reading.’

Why do we keep reinventing the wheel and come up with so-called discoveries which do not improve the level of reading?

Here are some extracts from the article in the New York Times and my comments.

New York Times:

The movement, under the banner of “the science of reading,” is targeting the education establishment: school districts, literacy gurus, publishers and colleges of education, which critics say have failed to embrace the cognitive science of how children learn to read.

My comment:

How do children learn to read? Does anyone in the world know the answer to this question? Read my post on 'Facts don't change minds'.

New York Times:

Research shows that most children need systematic, sound-it-out instruction — known as phonics — as well as other direct support, like building vocabulary and expanding students’ knowledge of the world.

About one in three children in the United States cannot read at a basic level of comprehension, according to a key national exam.

Science of reading advocates say the reason is simple: Many children are not being correctly taught.

My comment:

What is it that children are not being correctly taught? I have explained in my book ‘Shut down kids’ what my students taught me. My students were sent to me for tuition when their parents realised that they could not read. I taught them to read and found out from them that they had been unable to read because they were confused.

The question that educator should ask are:

i.                     why many kids in school teaching ‘systematic sound –it-out instruction’ – known as phonics- are unable to read?

ii.                   why are many kids, despite not learning phonics, able to read?

iii.                 how were the thousands of kids who studied during the whole language period able to read?

   New York Times:

In 2000, at the behest of Congress, a National Reading Panel recommended many strategies being argued for today. And the Bush administration prioritized phonics. Yet that effort faltered because of politics and bureaucratic snafus.

My comment:

Is there any truth to the above statement? Did the efforts falter due to politics or did it falter because phonics was/is taught wrongly?

New York Times:

Nearly 60 percent of third graders are now proficient in decoding words, up from about 30 percent at the beginning of the school year, progress Mr. Palazzo hopes will translate to state tests this spring.

My comment:

Is Mr. Palazzo satisfied with 60% of third graders being proficient in decoding words? What a shame! Why are the remaining 40% unable to read is what should be focused on?

In today's world, we find that intellectual honesty is woefully lacking.

Are so-called educators being truthful and straightforward in their thinking and communication.

Intellectual honesty involves a commitment to fairness, accuracy, and open-mindedness, regardless of personal beliefs or biases. It requires individuals to critically evaluate their own ideas and arguments, as well as those of others, in a sincere and objective manner.

I have yet to find one so-called educator on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook who critically evaluate their own ideas and arguments when I propose ideas that are not in alignment with theirs. If educators  purpose is to educate then they should be willing to be open to new ideas and perspectives. They should be willing to acknowledge and consider opposing viewpoints and evidences that challenge their own beliefs. Intellectual honesty requires a willingness to revise one’s own beliefs and conclusions based on new information or evidence.

As long as misinformation, disinformation, lies, dishonesty, and deceit continue in our culture the Reading Wars will continue indefinitely.

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