Most primary-grade teachers teach phonics because we know it supports our students’ reading and spelling. And many of us also believe that if we incorporate phonics into our instruction, we are by definition not whole-language teachers; we are “balanced literacy” teachers. But whole-language beliefs are so pervasive and so entrenched in education that they continue to serve as the basis for a majority of instructional materials and professional development offerings.
I understand why advocates, researchers, and policymakers who feel the urgency of our literacy crisis are frustrated when teachers don’t embrace reading science. But my entry into the world of reading research was difficult, and while I take pride in my determination to learn, I understand why other teachers might be deterred. If we want teachers to apply research, it may be helpful to think about why they aren’t. I’ll
Reading Science from 1955-today Language at the Speed of Sight by Mark Seidenberg Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties by David Kilpatrick Reading in the Brain: The New Science of How We Read by Stanislas Dehaene Proust and the Squid by Maryanne Wolf National Early Literacy Panel Speech to Print by Louisa Moats National Reading Panel Beginning to Read by Marilyn Adams Why Johnny Can’t Read: And What
I’ve been one of California Teacher Association’s 325,000 members for the past 13 years and I have appreciated its protection and passionate advocacy. Nationwide, advocacy groups are pushing to better prepare teachers and to support us in delivering effective reading instruction, so I was shocked to see that my union is doing the opposite. CTA and other unions (CCSESA, CFT, Public Advocates, CABE, CABTE, ACSA) support SB-614, which strikes from