Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Amy McGovern on Reading Comprehension


Here is a comment on LinkedIn by Amy McGovern, Associate Director of Continuous School Improvement Services/ Reading Specialist at CESA 9, &The Reading League Wisconsin~ Board Member

“We absolutely MUST do knowledge-building, read-aloud, writing, and language-building. The simple view of reading requires it—Word Recognition X Language comp = Reading Comp.

If we ignore language comprehension, which was NEVER the intention, then of course, the equation is going to break down. We need to pay attention to the language comprehension strand as well."

Here is my reply:

Of course, this is part of the equation. No one will ever say Language Comprehension is unimportant. 


We need to ask ourselves why the reading proficiency level has remained where it is since 1972. (Note 1)

I see a lot of curricula on improving comprehension and they are all working very well. Whom are these curricula helping? They help the kids who are already able to read which is good. (Note 2)

The question is what does it do for those kids who are unable to decode? NOTHING!

I am not sure if this is what they call Matthew's effect. Those who can already read get better but those who cannot read are left to rot.

My book 'Shut Down Kids' gives the causes of why kids shut down from learning to read. If we get rid of the causes all kids will be able to decode.

I see no one talking about the first part of the equation and everyone, especially the Balanced Language proponents, harping only on the second part. Yes, teach all kids to decode and there will be more kids who are able to read with comprehension. 

I have tested many of my students and have posted on my blog. When I asked them to read and then ask comprehension questions listed at the back of the book most of them were unable to answer even one of five questions. But when I read the passage to them they were all able to answer all the five questions correctly. Is the problem one of comprehension or decoding?

Get a copy of my book, Teach Your Child to Read, and no child will be left behind. I leave the comprehension part to experts like you, Amy McGovern.

Note 1: This question has not been answered by anyone, including SoR proponents, on Social Media. They are only interested in supporting one side or the other, Balanced Language or Phonics. They have been blinded by their fanaticism. The Science of Reading proponents don’t seem to know that SoR has existed for more than 40 years and has done nothing to reduce illiteracy. LINK

Note 2: Guys like Tim Rasinski and Co keep harping on comprehension and talk about morphology and refuse to answer questions on why many kids are unable to decode.

They do not know the answer to why many of these kids who are unable to read are able to read at grade level after a short period of intervention.

I tell them the causes of why kids are unable to read but they refuse to accept them and yet do not come up with alternative causes. How can we ever reduce illiteracy?

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