Sunday, July 9, 2023

Literacy myth busting by Lyn Stone - podcast


Yesterday, I listened to a podcast by Kate of IDA Ontario and Lyn Stone from Australia.

The topic was: Literacy Myth-Busting with Lyn Stone (LINK)

The episode was propaganda against Balanced Literature and Whole Language and nothing more.

Hundreds of children didn’t progress because of instruction. (Lyn)

What about schools that teach Phonics? Hundreds of children did not progress either.

Here is an extract from a blog post by Dr. Sam Bommarito I read in my inbox this morning. 


Social media says about two-thirds of kids are reading below level. They make that claim based on an incorrect interpretation of the NAEP scores. Dr. Tom Loveless indicates the actual figure is about 1/3. That figure has remained constant, and that lack of change includes the current era of reforms involving mandating SOR. I do not in any way want to give the impression that 1/3 of all students reading below grade level is unimportant. But as Dr. Lawless points out, looking at what the data is actually telling us requires a very different fix than the simplistic ones being advanced by SOR advocates. The discussion on what the best policy should be needs to be made using all the research.


Yes, ‘the discussion on what the best policy should be, needs to be made using all the research.’ But, what do we do when there is no research? What research is there to say why 1/3 of all students are reading below grade level for more than 3 decades?

We all know as Dr. Sam says above, that 1/3 of all students have been reading below grade level during all the different approaches of teaching – whole language, balanced language and phonics. We therefore need to ask wherein lies the problem and not continue saying and doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

I have done research for over 15 years and come up with the reasons why smart kids disengage from learning to read.


We need to build fences at the top of the cliff rather than be ambulances at the bottom. (LYN)


What exactly does building a fence mean? What is the fence that needs to be built? I have explained what needs to be built but I have been told it is anecdotal. Is there any research to say what the fence is about? Is there any research to dispute what I have said during the last decade?


Don’t be fooled by anecdotal evidence. So, we must be careful about anecdotes as they don’t equal data. (Lyn)


This is what is uttered by most educators on social media. If someone talks about their experience what we need to do is to do some thinking to see if it makes sense. What if there is no data? If there is no data, then research should be carried out.

Since 2010, I had written several articles and commented on many blogs disagreeing about the theory that phonological awareness deficit is the cause of kids being unable to read. For 5 years, since there was no data, no educator or researcher agreed with me.

My argument was based on kids who are able to read in transparent languages and being ‘dyslexic’ when it came to reading in English. How could a phonological awareness deficit be the cause of a kid who could read in a transparent language be the cause of that kid being unable to read in English?

Another argument I had put forward was how a ‘dyslexic’ kid is able to read after a short period of intervention? What happened to his phonological awareness deficit?

It took more than 5 years to debunk that theory that had lasted at that time for more than 35 years.

Similarly, I observed and questioned all my ‘dyslexic’ students whom I teach on a one-on-one basis and have discovered that they were unable to read when they came to me for tuition because they were confused and had shut down/ disengaged from learning to read.

I have written the reasons in my book ‘Shut down kids’ available on Amazon. The book was written in 2018 and has good book reviews.

Are there any research reports to prove or disprove what I have discovered?

I discovered the cause of kids falling off the cliff and I have been brushed off because it is anecdotal. What a sordid state of affairs!

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