Stephen Krashen contribution (email sent to CALIBK12):
Direct Instruction and Heavy Phonics: No "Lasting
Benefits" for Struggling Readers
Sent to the Providence (RI) journal, November 15, 2007
Seven schools in Providence are doing â€œdirect
instruction,â€? a phonics-heavy program, because of
the results of a study done in 1977, showing that
direct instruction produced â€œlasting benefits.â€?
(â€œSome schools turn to direct instruction to master
basics,â€? November 14.)
I suggest that Providence administrators take another
look at those â€œlasting benefits.â€? Direct
instruction children did better on â€œword readingâ€?
in grades 5 and 6, but did very poorly (15th and 16th
percentile) on tests of reading comprehension. In
other words, they were able to read words aloud that
were presented on a list, but had serious problems on
tests in which they had to understand what they read.
This is identical to the pattern California State
University researcher Elaine Garan found for more
Some basic phonics instruction is helpful for
beginning readers, but the groups that lag behind in
reading, the â€œstruggling readers,â€? are those that
are read to least and have the least access to books,
not those who get the least phonics instruction.
Becker, W. and Gersten, R. 1982. Follow-up of
Follow-Through: The later effects of the direct
instruction model on children in fifth and sixth
grades. American Educational Research Journal 19 (1):
Garan, E. 2001. Beyond the smoke and mirrors: A
critique of the National Reading Panel Report on
phonics. Phi Delta Kappan, 82: 500-506.
Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Portsmouth:
Heinemann and Westport: Libraries Unlimited.
Some schools turn to direct instruction to master
November 14, 2007