The Good News
"Over 90% of children reading below the 15th percentile at the beginning of first grade read at or above grade level by the end of first grade with appropriate intervention." ("A Scientific Approach to Reading")
According to Dr. G.Reid Lyon, (1998) "Overview of Reading and Literacy Initiatives":
"It is much less costly to catch kids early and provide help beginning in mid-kindergarten than to wait until after 3rd grade."
"If kids are at risk for reading failure, we can address it with 30 minutes of intervention a day at the kindergarten level."
"Phonemic awareness skills assessed in kindergarten and first grade serve as potent predictors of difficulties in learning to read. ...we can predict with approximately 80% to 90% accuracy who will become good readers and those who will have difficulties learning to read."
is evidence that if children receive effective instruction early and intensively,
they can often make large gains in general academic achievement.... reading
failure rates as high as 38 to 40 percent can be reduced to six percent
Using Assessments and Accountability to Raise Student Achievement".
The invention of the alphabet was one of the greatest of human achievements. It required the appreciation that the spoken word can be split into its component sound parts, and that each part can be assigned a symbol or letter. All that is additionally required to have an amazingly productive writing system is for the learner to be able to identify the sound for each letter, and blend the sounds together to recreate the spoken word. This is known as the alphabetic principle, and allows us to write any word we can say. Our written language is thus a code, and phonics is simply the key to unlocking the code. Should we explain to our students through phonics teaching how our speech is codified into English writing? It sounds obvious that we should; indeed, that not to do so would be cruel. "In Support of Early, Explicit Phonics Teaching", Dr. Kerry Hempenstall
Pennsylvania's Bureau of Special Education is working hard to help struggling children learn to read! Go to: http://www.pattan.k12.pa.us (Go to "Evidence-Based Practices"; click on "Reading")