Science of Reading? No, thank you.

Who’s tired of hearing about the Science of Reading (SoR) advocates and their accusations that teachers don’t teach phonics and that’s why kids aren’t reading at “grade level”, whatever that means?

I know I am.

And, here I thought that the irrelevant ranking of kids reading at a 3.7 grade level was a thing of the past.

At its core, the SoR movement doesn’t trust teachers’ experiences and expertise when it comes to reading. Proponents of SoR believe that all children need phonics, and all the other related technicalities of reading, in order to read. Comprehension is a distant idea. The issue is sounding out words.

Don’t be distracted from what really matters: just in time, intentional instruction for individual students and groups of children. No child learns in the same way or at the same rate as the child next to them. Therefore, all children need informed teachers who observe and plan appropriate instruction. If it’s phonics, then that’s what is taught.

It’s not an either/or proposition, but this and that.

SoR is a diversion. As a teacher, it does not add anything to my understanding of how children learn to read or how to best teach my students. SoR is a simplification and a miscommunication (deliberate) about what the research says and doesn’t say and which research is going to be highlighted and which research will be buried because it doesn’t suit the SoR supporters.

It is disheartening to see so many holistic educators sidle up to SoR in order to profit from it or to maintain their king/queen of the mountain status. Some educators that I had previously learned a lot from, and whose previous resources I still use, are bending over backwards to satisfy SoR demands. Or they’re making small and medium shifts in their pedagogy to “fit in”.

Harsh? Maybe, but that’s that.

I am currently reading Reading’s Non-Negotiables by Rachel Gabriel. It is a highly readable book that illustrates seven non-negotiables in the reading classroom.

*Taken from the Table of Contents of this book.

They are: (1) Every reader chooses what they will read. (2) Every reader reads accurately. (3) Every reader reads something they will understand. (4) Every reading intervention is balanced to incorporate meaning. (5) Every reader writes about something meaningful (to them). (6) Every reader talks with peers about reading and writing. (7) Every reader listens to a fluent reader read aloud.*

I will be writing more about these seven non-negotiable in future blog posts. In the meantime, feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you!

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