let me say a few words about the "Cambridge University Effect" which
has been flying around the internet for the past few years. It is
really disappointing how popular this silly parlor trick is.
start with, there has never been any published research conducted at
Cambridge or any other university that shows that the order of letters
in a word is not important. And there is reputable research that
shows that MOST OF THE TIME, the serial position in letters within
words is very important.
Click here for more information.
The Top 10 Myths of Reading Instruction
Michael Pressley, in his excellent
Instruction that Works," concluded with a discussion of what he considered
to be "Ten Dumb and Dangerous Claims about Reading Instruction."
All of his points were excellent, but I wondered if he would say this was
his "top ten" list of dangerous myths about reading instruction.
I agree with all of his points, but there were some myths that did not
make his list that I think are also dangerous. I strongly recommend
picking up a copy of Pressley's book to review his "top ten" list (the
book is well written and highly informative), but here I want to go through
what I think are the most damaging myths and misconceptions about reading
instruction. I'll begin with a myth that did not make Pressley's
"top ten" list, but which I consider to be the most pernicious myth of
all, and I'll count down from there. (You can download a PDF
version of this article if you would rather not read it on-line).
#1 -- Learning to read is a natural process
#2 -- Children will eventually learn to read if given enough time
#3 -- Reading programs are "successful"
#4 -- We used to do a better job of teaching children to read
#5 -- Reading involves using syntax and semantics cues to "guess" words,
and good readers make many "mistakes" as they read authentic text
#6 -- Research can be used to support whatever your beliefs are -- lots
of programs are "research based"
#7 -- Phoneme awareness is a consequence (not a cause) of reading acquisition
#8 -- Some people are just genetically "dyslexic"
#9 -- Short-term tutoring for struggling readers can get them caught up
with their peers, and the gains will be sustained
#10 -- If it is in the curriculum, then the children will learn it, and
a balanced reading curriculum is ideal