From Scared Straight to Reading Wrong
http://www.learningspy.co.uk/reading/fr ... ment-62397
...Education has suffered similar victories of ideology over reality where teachers and policy makers have opted for intuitive, easy to understand ideas over the complexity of how children actually learn. Despite the fact that teachers’ judgements are entirely subject and dubious at best, we go with what feels right and damn the evidence!
The story of the research on how children learn to read has many parallels with the Scared Straight story. Daniel Willingham gives a potted history of the so-called Reading Wars in his book, When Can You Trust The Experts? Back in the old days before educational theorists got their hands on reading, teachers taught children to read by teaching the sounds associated with each letter or letter combination. This can be slow and was often painful, but it worked. Then in the 1920s a new idea, ‘look-say’ or ‘whole word method’ started to become fashionable. The idea was that children ought to learn to read the way adults do. Adults appear to read whole phrases in one gulp and they read silently instead of sounding out. Also, adults choose to read whatever interests them and are not confined to boring reading schemes. It makes intuitive sense that it would be quicker, easier and more fun to teach children to read like this. Children were encouraged to guess at meaning based on context, sometimes using accompanying pictures; boring phonics drills were dismissed as likely to put children off reading...
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