Tight US Fed Controls on Reading Curriculum Irks States

j0428644.jpgI was reading this article today at USA today that indicates,

Education Department officials and their contractors appear to have improperly backed certain types of instruction in administering a $1 billion-a-year reading program, congressional investigators found.

The Education Department is said to be favouring the Direct Instruction approach over other methods, which denies individual states the right to make decisions about curriculum that works best for their region.

So I whipped out my text books and found this information.

Siegel (2003) believes that phonological processing is the most significant underlying cognitive process in the development of reading skills. Children must learn to transpose oral language onto written language by deconstructing a word into phonemes and then associate each letter or combination of letters with those phonemes. Siegel also indicates that dual route theories are one way of understanding the development of reading skills in children. Dual route theory states that there are two routes to understanding printed language. One route involves sight-reading a word from memory without using phonological processing, while the other involves applying grapheme-phoneme conversion rules to access our stored knowledge of vocabulary.

Englert and Marriage (2003) indicate that basic direct instruction and rehearsal techniques (e.g. fact drilling) may be more important for skill acquisition and mastery in some teaching applications.

According to this information it appears that the Direct Instruction approach may be important for helping children with reading disabilities. I can understand why the individual states might want more choice and balance, but hopefully they will continue to blend at least some Direct Instruction methods/techniques into their remedial reading programs.

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