"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, September 18, 2015

For better reading: Libraries, not heavy phonics

Sent to The Australian, September 18

The Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority wants a concentration on phonics because of its importance in developing reading ability ("Phonics, faith and coding for primary school kids," September 19)
This doesn't agree with what the research says.  The research says that heavy, intensive phonics instruction does not lead to better performance on tests of reading comprehension, tests in which children have to understand what they read. The research says that those who read better are those who have done more real reading for pleasure, and children with more access to books do more reading for pleasure.
If we are interested in developing reading ability, the concentration should be on libraries, not heavy phonics.
Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

Article: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/education/phonics-faith-and-coding-for-primary-school-kids/story-fn59nlz9-1227534083014?sv=2f37b94f8cac5b5fff430d9cafd1ef41
Krashen, S. (2004). The power of reading. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann and Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited (second edition).
Krashen, S. (2009). Does intensive reading instruction contribute to reading comprehension? Knowledge Quest 37 (4): 72-74.

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