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January 30, 2007



Don't miss the new Fordham report from Louisa Cook Moats, Whole Language in Sheep's Clothing,



I wish my nephews IEP team would read this!


A great resource for teachers and a very informative post...i must say.



That was a great topic & a very informative post written which justifies it totally.


Howard Margolis

Unfortunately, this statement from the above posting is wrong: "Evidence-based research shows that by teaching language patterns explicitly, students become better decoders."
What's missing is the word "some" before the word "students"; no reading method works with all children. An emphasis on language patterns works sometimes, not always.
If specific methods were superior with struggling readers or children termed “dyslexic,” the literature would consistently show it. But it doesn't. There's insufficient evidence supporting the phrase "evidence-based research shows” when used with language patterns or most methods. Just look, for example, at the literature on Orton-Gillingham and its permutations; at best, the literature is weak and contradictory. An excellent resource for understanding reading programs and methods and their power is the Johns Hopkins Best Evidence Encyclopedia.
Special education is replete with overgeneralizations about what reading methods work, what methods are best. This is a trend, borne out of understandable desperation that unwittingly hurts many children. Thus, the key is often careful monitoring using valid strategies.
Rather than focusing on methods, I suggest that parents and advocates focus on classroom climate and organization, teacher knowledge and skill, measureable IEP goals and the supports teachers need to help the child achieve her academic, social, and emotional goals. I also suggest that parents and advocates focus on the degree of progress the child makes and use the reporting requirements of IDEA to demand careful monitoring. In the final analysis, the important questions are not about methods, but about the child’s goals and pace of progress.

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