Why is there so much hype about Science of Reading recently?
Is Amplify the marketing arm of SoR?
Science of Reading has been there for at least 40 years if not a hundred years as can be seen from extracts from the websites below.
Why would some of these so-called top educators promote Science of Reading?
Some of the salient points from my extracts below are:
i. More than 100 years ago, educational psychologist Edmund Burke Huey made it his life’s work to bring science to reading, and reading to science.
ii. Taken together, the findings from thousands of research studies over the last 40 years have reached a consensus on how the brain learns to read and write, and why some students struggle.
iii. Fourth-graders who had difficulty blending sounds together to read words could not be helped by me emailing a few suggestions. (Maria Murray).
iv. They can become overwhelmed when they realize what they have to unlearn and relearn.
v. We largely know how to fix this problem. It is therefore criminal if we don’t fix it. (Dr. Pugh)
vi. We understand the fundamental problem facing the beginning reader. My question, then, is this: if the science is so advanced, why do so many people read so poorly? (Mark S. Seidenberg)
Are any of the educators including Mark Seidenberg interested in discussing why many read so poorly?
Here are extracts from the following sites.
About this bookThe Science of Reading: A Handbook brings together state-of-the-art reviews of reading research from leading names in the field, to create a highly authoritative, multidisciplinary overview of contemporary knowledge about reading and related skills.Provides comprehensive coverage of the subject, including theoretical approaches, reading processes, stage models of reading, cross-linguistic studies of reading, reading difficulties, the biology of reading, and reading instruction(The Science of Reading: A Handbook)[Author: Margaret J. Snowling] published on (July, 2005)
A ‘scientific’ approach to understanding and teaching reading, however, is nothing new. More than 100 years ago, educational psychologist Edmund Burke Huey made it his life’s work to bring science to reading, and reading to science. While his name may not be as ubiquitous in educational training as Piaget or Dewey, his work was clearly foundational to much of reading education today, and his 1908 book, The Psychology and Pedagogy of Reading, is considered a classic in reading circles.Reading Huey thus sent me back into Adams’s 1990 text, Beginning to Read.
The science of reading is a body of empirical research derived from multiple disciplines—cognitive psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, and education. Taken together, the findings from thousands of research studies over the last 40 yearshave reached a consensus on how the brain learns to read and write, and why some students struggle.The science of reading provides knowledge about the most effective ways to assess and teach reading so we can prevent most reading difficulties, and remediate them when they occur. The science of reading informs instructional approaches that best advantage all learners in all areas of reading (phonological awareness,1 phonics,2 vocabulary,3 spelling,4 and language comprehension5).Here is just one example from one of my graduates who had been hired to teach fourth grade:I’m wondering if you could assist me with phonics administration with my students? I have a handful of students who are having trouble with letter sounds and blending words together with letter sounds and was wondering if you had any suggestions on what to do or how I can help them. I also wondered if you knew any websites that might have worksheets on comprehension to have students work with as well?Fourth-graders who had difficulty blending sounds together to read words could not be helped by me emailing a few suggestions. This novice teacher had forgotten (understandably) what she had learned in my class and was not receiving professional development derived from the science of reading from her district.It became crystal clear that my students would rarely use what I taught them, either because they did not retain the content or because school conditions would not be able to support them in applying it.It felt morally irresponsible to ignore the reality that there are children and adults in this world burdened by low literacy for one unacceptable reason—they had not been properly taught. There seemed no way for me to reconcile working in the world of education with not being able to make use of my knowledge that scientists had discovered some pretty impressive solutions that had worked in hundreds of studies.We know that the current, most popular instructional approaches to reading have not raised reading proficiency rates for decades, and that far too many educators have been sidelined from learning about the most effective approaches that are grounded in the science of reading.They can become overwhelmed when they realize what they have to unlearn and relearn.
Dr. Pugh also said,
We largely know how to fix this problem. It is therefore criminal if we don’t fix it.The gap between research and practice is well established in the professional literature on reading instruction. In the introduction to her 1990 book, Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print, Dr. Marilyn Jager Adams advised, “We must ask what it is that beginning readers need to learn, and how they might learn it most efficiently, effectively, and usefully.Twelve years later, Dr. David Kilpatrick dedicated an entire chapter of his book, Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties (2015), to acknowledging, explaining, and responding to the various factors that contribute to the research-to-practice gap. Clearly, not much progress has been made toward bridging this chasm. The Reading League aims to change that.
We understand the fundamental problem facing the beginning reader: how to relate a new code, a written script, to an existing code, spoken language. We know which behaviors of 4 year old pre-readers are strong predictors of later reading ability, how children make the transition from pre-reader to reader, and the obstacles that many encounter. We know what distinguishes good and poor readers, younger and older skilled readers, “typical” readers from those who are atypical because of either constitutional factors (such as a hearing or learning impairment) or environmental ones (for example, poor schooling or poverty).My question, then, is this: if the science is so advanced, why do so many people read so poorly? In America not long ago we had a “Sputnik moment,” occasioned by the release of the results of the 2009 round of the PISA cross-national assessments of the academic performance of 15 year olds (OECD PISA, 2009). As in previous years, US performance was close to the average for the 34 OECD countries. However, this round was the first to include data from Shanghai and Singapore, which along with Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan, scored higher than the US. These findings received far more attention than the fact that for many years the US has scored lower than countries such as Canada, Australia, Finland and New Zealand on the PISA exercise. The president, the secretary of education, and the commentariat (e.g., Finn, 2009) all treated the results as evidence of a crisis in American education that called for immediate action.