You can’t teach old dogs new tricks (Part 1).

I read the blog post here by Prof. Pamela Snow on Twitter yesterday and here are a few extracts and my comments.

If by democracy the NCTE (National Council for Teacher Educations) means every child reads as poorly as the next one, they may be right, but that does not address the social justice imperative. The only way for reading instruction to exert force on social justice levers is for it to be fail-safe for the overwhelming majority of students.

My comment: The only way reading instruction can be fail-safe is for the foundation of learning to be laid correctly. What Pamela and other educators have still not grasped despite my repeated effort in telling them is that students have left school as illiterate during the Whole Language period as well as during the phonics teaching period.

 Read my post here for the foundation for further learning.

The common thing during both these periods is the teaching of phonemes. Pronunciation of phonemes is the foundation of phonics and when teachers teach the wrong pronunciation of phonemes of consonants all kids are confused.

Fortunately, some kids figure out how to read almost immediately. A majority figure it out after wasting an inordinate amount of time. About 20% give up or disengage from learning to read because of confusion.

You may read about kids who figure out how to read despite being taught the wrong pronunciation of phonemes here and here.

Pamela says that I am focusing narrowly on this aspect and there are many other matters that are important.

Of course, there are many other matters that are important but when the foundation is faulty all other matters are irrelevant. This is especially true for those kids who are predisposed to disengaging from learning to read when things do not make sense.

Kids do not disengage from learning to read because of not understanding vocabulary and grammar. They shut down when they are taught things that are different from what they should be.

Listen to my video here.