Here is a transcript of the podcast by Anna Stokke.
She asks many relevant questions and since she is not an ‘expert’ in reading and not selling a reading programme I believe she will read my comments with an open mind.
This podcast is with Dr. Matthew Burns whom she claims is a renowned researcher in the science of reading world.
Here are some extracts and my comments/ questions:
Yeah, so one of the first things to really look at that was the National Reading Panel in 2000. The National Reading Panel was commissioned by the federal government to look at the research and see what really works. And their conclusion was that systematic phonics instruction and there are different ways to do systematic phonics instruction, but, phonics instruction was more effective.
My understanding is that phonics, or sounding out words, was the prevailing method for reading instruction for many years. And that some of the modern programs that de-emphasize phonics originated in the seventies. (Said earlier)
My comment: Noted, more phonics before the 70s and less phonics after the 70s.
My question: But why is the reading proficiency level before the 70s and after the 70s the same? If around 30% of kids are not reading at proficiency level during both periods, then what is the real issue?
And so what happened after that? (After 2015)
Not much until Emily Hanford's Sold a Story. We published those in good journals, Reading and Writing Quarterly, Journal of School Psychology, and Psychology in the Schools, I think.
i. Has there been any improvement in the reading levels since Emily’s Story?
ii. What new things did Emily discover that were not known before 2017?
I wrote to Emily and APM in 2017 and her reply on 15.9.2017 is as follows:
Thanks for writing.
Yes, you raise many relevant and important points. Unfortunately, there are no satisfying answers as to why the research is being ignored. The documentary seeks to provide some explanations and history and to point out how important it is that schools start paying attention to the research.
Have you heard the full hour long-radio documentary?
It was obvious to me that she was avoiding my questions and was only interested in me listening to her radio documentary which I decided to listen to for a second time.
After listening I wrote to her. Here are some extracts of my email to her dated 16.9.2017:
I don't agree with there being 10 to 20% of kids who are dyslexic. This is a fallacy. Any and every kid who can't read is lumped under the umbrella term 'dyslexia'.
A majority of the kids classified as dyslexic are in fact shut down or disengaged kids.
They shut-down or disengage because they have been taught wrongly. About 20% of kids around the world shut down when they are confused. These are the kids who like to be taught explicitly. When what is taught does not match with what they already know or have been taught they disengage from learning to read.
Here is her reply on 17.9.2017:
I will take a look.
And that was the end.
On 3.1.2019 I decided to give her a nudge and said that the main reason why kids are unable to read is that the sounds represented by letters are taught wrongly.
She responded by saying:
These are good points and we are continuing to report.
I would call her replies evasive (I am being kind) and take offense at educators calling her a ‘literacy expert.’ She has no self-respect and does not have the decency to honour her words.
Here is my Tweet to Emily in March 2020:
I am telling you @ehanford that most schools in the world are teaching the pronunciation of phonemes as in the TV programme below. LINK This programme is aired in more than 100 countries. Is this how the pronunciation of phonemes should be taught?
Sally Shaywitz in the New York Times said:
People with dyslexia have trouble separating words into phonemes, the sounds that correspond with each part of a word.
For example, the word “dog” is broken down into the phonemes “duh,” “aah” and “guh.”
Here is Emily’s Tweet in reply:
Lots of problematic stuff out there like this. It's why teachers need good training on what phonemes are... and a lot more.
Is the above the kind of reply one expects from someone called a ‘LITERACY EXPERT’. Shame on the Americans who are pulled along by a nose-ring!