Why would a not-too-wealthy, not-too-poor district abandon Balanced Literacy take the plunge and embrace Systematic Phonics?

Lynbrook District in Long Island, NY is like many districts.  It’s not very poor and not very rich.  Most of the kids do OK.  So, why have the leaders of Lynbrook district decided to take the plunge and ditch balance literacy for systematic phonics?  They decided that too many children were not thriving with balanced…

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Lynbrook leads the way on Long Island

Over the years, it has become apparent that the Reading Workshop/Guided Reading model of instruction, popular in U.S. schools, does not produce the results promised. Special Education numbers have increased, and many children get labeled, unnecessarily, as having a “reading disability.” It is undoubtedly a huge undertaking to put the brakes on and start fresh.…

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Part Two: Reading Meetings with Mark and Molly

  Have you had a chance to listen to some of these interesting conversations yet? See Part One for a summary of broad themes that arose in the course of the meetings. Below are a few more takeaways from some of the discussions. Syllable Types and Division Rules In the conversation with Devin Kearns, which…

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Part One: Reading Meetings with Mark and Molly

  As summer vacation draws to a close and thoughts turn to the coming school year, you may be interested in a unique (and free) opportunity for professional development. Reading researcher Mark Seidenberg, author of Language at the Speed of Sight, and Molly Farry-Thorn, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have been…

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Can Lucy Calkins’ changing views shift the way millions of children are taught to read?

The news has been spreading that Lucy Calkins, head of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP), has been learning about the science of reading and making changes to her guidance and widely used curricula. Throughout her career, she has often characterized phonics as ‘low-level’ work that should be minimized and has promoted top-down…

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Little things can make a big difference

The education researcher Dylan Wiliam has said that “changing what teachers do is more important than changing what teachers know.” But isn’t knowledge power? And what we do is obviously linked to what we know. So, how can that be? In the past few years, there has been a groundswell of interest in the science…

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Parents steers school toward Science of Reading

It is so sad to hear when a young child says he wants to kill himself because he can’t read as described in the interview linked at the end of this piece.  It is uplifting to hear how a parent turned this child’s life around by getting him assessed and starting him on a structured literacy…

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Consonant blends and consonant teams – what’s the difference?

Many of the terms in phonics are quite confusing.  Consonant blends and consonant teams are such terms.  So, what is the difference between the two? A consonant blend is a term used for two adjacent consonants in a word that represent two separate sounds.  Take the word, ‘blog’: the letters ‘b’ and ‘l’ spell two…

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How we can help kids to self-teach themselves to read

Have you ever wondered how kids can read words they haven’t been taught to read?  I recently came across the ‘Self Teaching Hypothesis’ Share,1955.  This hypothesis explains how kids use the sounds/spellings they have been taught and apply them to figure out new words.  What does this theory say? “According to this hypothesis, beginning readers…

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