Saturday, February 11, 2017

Trump Patriot Towers (Washington Post)

Sent to the Washington Post, Feb. 11, 2017
Re: Trump insists he can bring the cost of $21.6 billion border wall ‘way down”
Mr.Trump says he will bring down the price of the wall on the Mexican border . I predict that part of his plan will be to make sure American business profits from the wall: The wall will be named , “Trump Patriot Towers" (high security hotels, condos, office buildings, department stories featuring Ivanka Trump brands) with special "patriot" discounts for those who reserve space early.
Stephen Krashen
Los Angeles

original article:


Friday, February 3, 2017

Novelist Salley Vickers gives credit to librariies and librarians.

 Published in the Guardian, Feb 2.

Apropos Professor Krashen’s letter (2 February) on the need to invest in libraries rather than phonics tests, as a young child I was taken every Saturday morning by my father to the local library to change the three books I would have got through during the week. I was lucky in coming from a family who read. But at the time my father’s leftwing politics lost him two jobs and we were among the “just about managing”. Without the local library and Miss Blackwell, the librarian, I would never have encountered Moomintroll, Narnia, John Masefield’s The Midnight Folk or George Macdonald’s At the Back of the North Wind – all of which have contributed to the successful novels I have, as an adult, produced. I very much doubt that phonics would have had the same creative influence on my career.
Salley Vickers

My letter and sources at:

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.