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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    05.31.14 @ 08:17 PM
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    Default Article About "Whole Language" Teaching Method vs Phonics

    This is from the Times. I gotta say, I'm dyslexic and if I'd come up under Whole Language teaching I'd never have learned to read. Phonics saved my butt.

    In War Over Teaching Reading, a U.S.-Local Clash

    MADISON, Wis. — Surrounded by five first graders learning to read at Hawthorne Elementary here, Stacey Hodiewicz listened as one boy struggled over a word.
    “Pumpkin,” ventured the boy, Parker Kuehni.
    “Look at the word,” the teacher suggested. Using a method known as whole language, she prompted him to consider the word’s size. “Is it long enough to be pumpkin?”
    Parker looked again. “Pea,” he said, correctly.
    Call it the $2 million reading lesson.
    By sticking to its teaching approach, that is the amount Madison passed up under Reading First, the Bush administration’s ambitious effort to turn the nation’s poor children into skilled readers by the third grade.
    The program, which gives $1 billion a year in grants to states, was supposed to end the so-called reading wars — the battle over the best method of teaching reading — but has instead opened a new and bitter front in the fight.
    According to interviews with school officials and a string of federal audits and e-mail messages made public in recent months, federal officials and contractors used the program to pressure schools to adopt approaches that emphasize phonics, focusing on the mechanics of sounding out syllables, and to discard methods drawn from whole language that play down these mechanics and use cues like pictures or context to teach.
    Federal officials who ran Reading First maintain that only curriculums including regular, systematic phonics lessons had the backing of “scientifically based reading research” required by the program.
    But in a string of blistering reports, the Education Department’s inspector general has found that federal officials may have violated prohibitions in the law against mandating, or even endorsing, specific curriculums. The reports also found that federal officials overlooked conflicts of interest among the contractors that advised states applying for grants, and that in some instances, these contractors wrote reading programs competing for the money, and stood to collect royalties if their programs were chosen.
    Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has said that the problems in Reading First occurred largely before she took over in 2005, and that her office has new guidelines for awarding grants. She declined a request for an interview.
    Madison officials say that a year after Wisconsin joined Reading First, in 2004, contractors pressured them to drop their approach, which blends some phonics with whole language in a program called Balanced Literacy. Instead, they gave up the money — about $2 million, according to officials here, who say their program raised reading scores.
    In New York City, under pressure from federal officials, school authorities in 2004 dropped their citywide balanced literacy approach for a more structured program stronger in phonics, in 49 low-income schools. At stake was $34 million.
    Across the country — in Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine and New Jersey — schools and districts with programs that did not stress phonics were either rejected for grants or pressured to change their methods even though some argued, as Madison did, that their programs met the law’s standard.
    “We had data demonstrating that our children were learning at the rate that Reading First was aiming for, and they could not produce a single ounce of data to show the success rates of the program they were proposing,” said Art Rainwater, Madison’s superintendent of schools.
    Both the House and the Senate are laying the groundwork for tough hearings on Reading First, which is up for renewal this year.
    Robert Sweet Jr., a former Congressional aide who wrote much of the Reading First legislation, said the law aimed at breaking new ground by translating research into lesson plans. Under the law, the yardstick of a reading program’s scientific validity became a 2000 report by the National Reading Panel.
    That panel, created by Congress, with members selected by G. Reid Lyon, a former head of a branch of the National Institutes of Health, set out to review the research and tell Americans what worked. It named phonics and related skills, vocabulary, fluency and reading comprehension as the cornerstones of effective reading instruction.
    Mr. Sweet firmly believes that phonics is the superior method of instruction; he is now president of the National Right to Read Foundation, a pro-phonics group. His e-mail address begins phonicsman.
    With Reading First, he said, “we felt we could put education on a new path.”
    Dr. Lyon, another architect of the legislation, also strongly favors phonics. Teaching children to read by reason and context, as Parker did in Madison, rather than by sounding out letters to make words, is anathema, he said in an interview, suggesting that teachers of the whole language approach be prosecuted for “educational malpractice.”
    Mr. Sweet agreed. “You’ve got billions used for the purchase of programs that have no validity or evidence that they work, and in fact they don’t, because you have so many kids coming out of the schools that can’t read,” he said.
    But educators in Madison and elsewhere disagree about the effectiveness of phonics, and say their results prove their method works.
    Under their system, the share of third graders reading at the top two levels, proficient and advanced, had risen to 82 percent by 2004, from 59 percent six years earlier, even as an influx of students in poverty, to 42 percent from 31 percent of Madison’s enrollment, could have driven down test scores. The share of Madison’s black students reading at the top levels had doubled to 64 percent in 2004 from 31 percent six years earlier.
    And while 17 percent of African-Americans lacked basic reading skills when Madison started its reading effort in 1998, that number had plunged to 5 percent by 2004. The exams changed after 2004, making it impossible to compare recent results with those of 1998.

    Other reading experts, like Richard Allington, past president of the International Reading Association, also challenge the case for phonics. Dr. Allington and others say the national panel’s review showed only minor benefits from phonics through first grade, and no strong support for one style of instruction. They also contend that children drilled in phonics end up with poor comprehension skills when they tackle more advanced books.
    “This revisionist history of what the research says is wildly popular,” Dr. Allington said. “But it’s the main reason why so much of the reading community has largely rejected the National Reading Panel report and this large-scale vision of what an effective reading program looks like.”
    Under Reading First, many were encouraged to use a pamphlet, “A Consumer’s Guide to Evaluating a Core Reading Program Grades K-3,” written by two special education professors, then at the University of Oregon, to gauge whether a program was backed by research.
    "Nothing is ever what it seems but everything is exactly what it is." - B. Banzai


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  2. #2
    Atomic Punk
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    part two...

    But the guide also rewards practices, like using thin texts of limited vocabulary to practice syllables, for which there is no backing in research. Dr. Allington said the central role Washington assigned the guide effectively blocked from approval all but a few reading programs based on “made-up criteria.”
    Deborah C. Simmons, who helped write the guide, said it largely reflected the available research, but acknowledged that even now, no studies have tested whether children learn to read faster or better through programs that rated highly in the guide.
    Fatally for Madison, the guide does not consider consistent gains in reading achievement alone sufficient proof of a program’s worth.
    In making their case, city officials turned to Kathryn Howe of the Reading First technical assistance center at the University of Oregon, one of several nationwide paid by the federal Education Department that helped states apply for grants. But early on, they began to suspect that Dr. Howe wanted them to dump their program.
    At a workshop, she showed them how the guide valued exposing all children to identical instruction in phonics. Madison’s program is based on tailoring strategies individually, with less emphasis on drilling.
    Dr. Howe used the Houghton Mifflin program as a model; officials here believed that approval would be certain if only they switched to that program, they said.
    In interviews, Dr. Howe said she had not meant to endorse the Houghton Mifflin program and used it only for illustration, and had no ties to the company. She added that she might have been misunderstood.
    “I certainly didn’t say, ‘You should buy Houghton Mifflin,’ ” she said. “I do remember saying: ‘You can do this without buying a purchased program. It’s easier if you have a purchased program, so you might think about that.’ ”
    Dr. Howe said Madison’s program might have suited most students, but not those in the five schools applying for grants. “Maybe those students needed a different approach,” she said.

    Mary Watson Peterson, Madison’s reading chief, said the city did use intensive phonics instruction, but only for struggling children.
    After providing Dr. Howe extensive documentation, Madison officials received a letter from her and the center’s director, saying that because the city’s program lacked uniformity and relied too much on teacher judgment, they could not vouch to Washington that its approach was grounded in research.
    Ultimately Madison withdrew from Reading First, said Mr. Rainwater, the superintendent, because educators here grew convinced that approval would never come. “It really boiled down to, we were going to have to abandon our reading program,” the superintendent said.
    A subsequent letter from Dr. Howe seemed to confirm his view. “Madison made a good decision” in withdrawing, she wrote, “since Reading First is a very prescriptive program that does not match your district’s reading program as it stands now.”
    "Nothing is ever what it seems but everything is exactly what it is." - B. Banzai


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  3. #3
    Baluchitherium Texas Poundcake's Avatar
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    07.22.17 @ 01:18 PM
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    This is just amazing to me that the govt wants to get involved in HOW a child learns. EVERY childs learns and retains what they learn at different levels. For some.... and yes the dyslexic are prime examples... phonics is a life saver! For others.... it's all too confusing. Some children including ones that I currently work with will never learn to read phoneticly. We are teaching site words only. Whole language is also a great teaching tool. It all depends on that child's particular needs. That is why we need quit focusing on the politics and do a better job of trying to keep the teachers that truely care about our children and WILL do whatever it takes to help that child learn!
    http://www.myspace.com/texaschic22
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  4. #4
    Atomic Punk
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    I think, and I'm just having fun, that a combination of both should be employed. I also think that from first to fifth graders should get Latin. That would reinforce both English AND Spanish and bring language alive for students and give them life-long keys to language that will pay off for the rest of their lives.

    I also think that the Feds should stay out of Education all together save a set of national standards for Math, English, Chemistry and Art.
    "Nothing is ever what it seems but everything is exactly what it is." - B. Banzai


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  5. #5
    Sinner's Swing! InTheBeginning's Avatar
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    07.20.17 @ 05:17 PM
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    Think English is Easy???



    Can you read these right the first time?


    1) The bandage was wound around the wound.


    2) The farm was used to produce produce.


    3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.


    4) We must polish the Polish furniture.


    5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.


    6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.


    7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present .


    8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.


    9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.


    10) I did not object to the object.


    11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.


    12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row .


    13) They were too close to the door to close it.


    14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.


    15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.



    16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.


    17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.



    18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.


    19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.


    20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?



    Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for
    granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

    And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

    If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

    How can a slim chance and a fat chance be
    the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

    English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

    PS. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"

    You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .

    There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is "UP."

    It's easy to understand UP , meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report ?

    We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

    And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP . We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

    We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP ! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP , look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP , you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP . When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP .

    When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.

    When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP .

    We could go on, but I'll wrap it UP , for now my time is UP , so... Time to shut UP!

    A little more volume in the headphones please.

  6. #6
    Baluchitherium loveevhsince79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas Poundcake View Post
    This is just amazing to me that the govt wants to get involved in HOW a child learns. EVERY childs learns and retains what they learn at different levels. For some.... and yes the dyslexic are prime examples... phonics is a life saver! For others.... it's all too confusing. Some children including ones that I currently work with will never learn to read phoneticly. We are teaching site words only. Whole language is also a great teaching tool. It all depends on that child's particular needs. That is why we need quit focusing on the politics and do a better job of trying to keep the teachers that truely care about our children and WILL do whatever it takes to help that child learn!
    That is so true. Recognizing the differences instead of a one size fits all mentality for education will allow our child to grow to their full potential. Why does it have to be only one way? This school is showing results with the whole language program but they mentioned it's called Balance Literacy and it incorporates phonetics as well. Sounds like the best of both programs. It amazes me that they say it relies on the teacher's judgment too much. Isn't that what a teacher's job is, assist the students to learn in a way that is best for each student.

 

 

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