A Call to Improve Reading with Writing
I want to recommend a new report from the Carnegie Corporation of NY called WRITING TO READ: New Evidence for How Writing Can Improve Reading. It is an urgent call to include more writing across the curriculum. According to findings from the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP),...
To Teach Reading, Start with Speech
Speech is the foundation of reading, but we teach from print-to-speech, rather than from speech-to-print. A four or five year old may have difficulty generating natural curiosity about two-letter blends or the number of syllables in a word (as taught by traditional phonics instruction). Likewise, there...
The Danger of Teaching “Sight Words”
I read a question from a parent yesterday (on “Classroom Talk”), asking how to help her child learn the long list of sight words that the first grade teacher gave her child. This is my response: “Children in first grade should not be given lists of sight words to memorize. They should...
Are you teaching phonics backwards?
“One of the most fundamental flaws found in almost all phonics programs, including traditional ones, is that they teach the code backwards.  That is, they go from letter to sound instead of from sound to letter.” Louisa Moats, 1998 What do you think about this quote from Louisa Moats? How...
Why not start with writing?
Writing is a system humans have invented to make speech visible. Our English alphabet is a way of drawing sounds. Words must be written before they can be read. Why not start with writing?
Message to Parents: Your kids only learn to read once!
Your child will only learn to read and write once! Don’t miss it! Sometimes it happens in the space of a few short months. You can play a vital role, and it may be one of the most significant things you and your child ever do together. Reading and writing are the most important skills children learn...
Federal Report Card Shows Failing Grades
The following statistics are taken from www.ed.gov,  the federal department of education site.  I thought it might be eye-opening to see how far we till have to go in teaching reading and writing.  Although these statistics are depressing, it is necessary to keep a goal in mind.  Our educational...
How Words Became Visible
Writing and reading are relative newcomers, answering a growing need to turn spoken communication into some kind of permanent record.  For small tribes of hunters and gatherers, oral traditions and histories served well enough.  But when people began to gather in larger numbers, and grow crops and...