Monday, January 29, 2007

Read Naturally Program

At the school board meeting on January 25th we believe a B. Connell an assistant principal reported on a program called Read Naturally. This is a recently implemented program in the english department. If my memory is correct this was for the middle school. By this age children should have already mastered the mechanics of reading. If they were taught phonics in kindergarten and grade school remediation would not be needed in middle school.

Research into the program revealed that the "Read Naturally" program focuses on "fluency", it makes use of "repeated reading" of the same material to develop a steady relaxed pace in reading.

To learn to read children and people need to learn the mechanics of reading.

With some help of a friend with much experience in the subject we learned.

"The constructivist view of reading is that it is "natural" and should be therefore taught as though it were as natural as speaking. But it's not. Reading requires instruction and learning of a specific skill: decoding."

"I checked the "What Works Clearinghouse" of the USDOE to see what they had."

"Read Naturally" was reported having only a single study that could be said to be research-based. And that study had kind of a screwy design, had very few kids involved, and was limited to Spanish-speaking English language learners. Worse, in that one study, WWC reports:

" Read Naturally was found to have no discernible effects on elementary school ELL students' reading achievement."

"Reading achievement. Denton and colleagues (2004) reported, and the WWC confirmed, no statistically significant differences between the intervention and comparison groups on students' reading achievement. In addition, the average effect size was small and deemed not substantively important. Therefore, the one study reviewed showed no discernible effects."

Sounds like a loser!

Thanks to our friend Kevin Killion of the
for helping us with research into the "Read Naturally Program.

As our friend stated this program sounds like a loser the English Department, the assistant principal and the school board should only consider proven curricula that is well tested and not fade learning programs for the critical years of learning. A good source for them would be "What Works Clearinghouse" of the USDOE.

Many teachers and others have made millions of dollars off of taxpayers and on the backs of our children's education by introducing these fade programs. Parents and taxpayers need to be attuned to this, our children's education and futures are too important to be wasted on fade programs.

Quote of the Day

"IT IS, IN FACT, NOTHING short of a miracle that the modern methods of education have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty. To the contrary, I believe that it would be possible to rob even a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness, if it were possible, with the aid of a whip, to force the beast to devour continuously, even when not hungry, especially if the food, handed out under such coercion, were to be selected accordingly. "--Albert Einstein

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