Thursday, November 9, 2023

Tweet exchanges with Catlin Goodrow - Evidently Reading


On 7.11.2023 I read a tweet by a SoR advocate, Catlin Goodrow. Here is part of her tweets and my replies.

EvidentlyReading @EvidentlyR

I'd like to address another misconception, however. The article begins with an anecdote about a striving reader who is being assessed by one of the authors.

They argue that, because this reader knows letter-sound correspondence, but has trouble reading "after" and "insect" she needs some other instruction than phonics. In fact, they claim this is evidence that "phonics" failed this reader.

But letter-sound instruction is not all there is to phonics! It IS something that will be taught in a structured literacy environment, usually in kinder and/or early first grade. But phonics (or, more accurately, foundational skills) is so much more!

 For example, "after" includes an r-controlled vowel.  Phonics instruction explicitly teaches these vowels, as well as vowel teams, syllable types, etc. We also teach how to blend sounds into words/syllables, and strategies for decoding longer words. 


I then Tweeted the following.

Luqman Michel @luqmanmichel

The word after is a HFW (High Frequency Word). Why don't we get the kid to memorise it?

Why do the phonetics insist on not teaching the Dolch words to be memorised?

EvidentlyReading @EvidentlyR

Because English represents sounds through graphemes, so we teach the r-controlled vowel and students can read many words beyond "after" (her, sister, perfect, germ, etc.) as well as figuring out words they've never heard before.


Luqman Michel @luqmanmichel

But this is not answering my question.

Why don't we get kids to memorise HFWs?

'After' is a HFW.

EvidentlyReading @EvidentlyR

It is the answer. There's no need to memorize words as wholes because that's not how English is represented. Our alphabetic system represents sounds with graphemes, some of which are multiple letters.

Luqman Michel @luqmanmichel

This is the basic problem with the SoR fanatics and the phonetics.

My question is why not teach HFW to be memorised.

What is so difficult in memorising 220 words when Chinese school kids memorise 600 characters per year for 6 years.

When do we teach kids to read? I teach them to read from lesson 1. I request you to get a copy of my book Teach your Child to Read.


When do we teach words such as the, with, then, here, to, etc. What is wrong with teaching phonics and memorisation of HFWs?



EvidentlyReading @EvidentlyR

My solution is to explicitly and systematically teach kids reading (which includes phonics, but also comprehension, vocab, content knowledge, etc.) Thought that was obvious.

Luqman Michel @luqmanmichel

Reading = Word recognition X Language Comprehension.

Almost all my former students were unable to answer comprehension questions when they read stories but could answer all the comprehension questions when I read to them.

Did they have a comprehension problem or word recognition problem?

Why did they have word recognition problem despite having gone to school for 2 to 3 years?

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