Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The limits of phonics

Sent to the Examiner  (Tasmania) Feb 1, 2017.

A Tasmanian speech pathology expert maintains that screening children for phonics is "essential"  to teach students to read well  ("Speech Pathology Tasmania backs grade 1 phonics checks," Jan 31. 2017).
But passing a phonics test and becoming a good reader are not the same thing. Children's knowledge of phonics rules is not related to how well they do on tests of real reading, tests in which they have to understand what they read. To do well on reading tests, children need to do a lot of pleasure reading.
Also, there are limits on how much phonics can be learned. Rules for initial consonants are straight-forward, but after that they are quite complex with numerous exceptions.

And those who claim that heavy phonics instruction is essential in learning to read need to face this embarrassing findings: There are many cases of children who learn to read very well with little or no phonics instruction.

Stephen Krashen

original article:

"... knowledge of phonics not related ..."
Harris, A. and Serwer, B. 1966. The CRAFT Project: Instructional time in reading research. The Reading Research Quarterly 2: 37-57.
Garan, E. (2001). Beyond the smoke and mirrors: A critique of the National Reading Panel report on phonics. Phi Delta Kappan 82, no. 7 (March), 500-506.
Garan, E. (2002) Resisting Reading Mandates. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Krashen, S. 2009. Does intensive decoding instruction contribute to reading comprehension? Knowledge Quest 37 (4): 72-74.
Rosen, Michael. 2017.
" …amount of reading":
McQuillan, J. (1998). The literacy crisis: False claims and real solutions. Portsmouth: Heinemann.
Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Libraries Unlimited.

"limits on how much phonics"   Smith, F. (1994). Understanding Reading. Sixth Edition. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Krashen, S. 2002. Defending whole language: The limits of phonics instruction and the efficacy of whole language instruction. Reading Improvement 39 (1): 32-42.

"embarrassing findings:
 Krashen, S. and McQuillan, J. 2007. Late intervention. Educational Leadership 65 (2): 68-73.

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