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An EQUAL and OPTIMAL educational opportunity through multi-sensory language arts.
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Estimated: 2 pages
Myrna T. McCulloch
Monographs & Position Papers:
(you may republish any of these papers with proper credits given
Those concerned with educational reform frequently wonder why more has not been
accomplished; why the best intentions, more frequently than not, seemingly come
to nothing. National attention was focused on the specific need for improvement
with the 1983 federal report, A Nation at Risk. That document mentioned the
word "reading" just once in the assessment of the overall problems we faced, but
not at all in their recommendations for reform. We drew the obvious conclusion that
this appraisal of the situation did not focus on the importance of language skill
acquisition as a major part of the overall problem. Probably, then, it isn't much
wonder that we do not see, in print, the various points we make in the following
"Phonetics - Spelling - Whole Language: How We Put Them
Together for the Best of Both Worlds"
A practical solution to the current problems with whole language programs which
are just not working well for large percentages of American students; we don't really
have to redo everything. Let's take what's there and simply add what isn't there.
Even the publishers shouldn't be all that upset if someone else makes them look
good! (Print this monograph without the graphics which are printed elsewhere in
this online publication. Referrals on the hard copy are yellow-lined and these need
to be edited to reflect where to find them in this on-line publication).
"Phonics is Phonics is Phonics - Or Is It?"
The subject of "the great debate" remains undefined after some 40 years; we're still
talking apples and oranges, folks; and you can throw in a few grapes and bananas,
too. This one is a tongue-in-cheek spoof on how ridiculous it all is and why. Not
for those who aren't ready to confront an "unvarnished" expose. For those who get
"tweaked" a little, well . . . . what can I say? These things need to be said, finally,
as does the next subject, whether or not they prove to be politically correct. Let's
hope the "great information highway" turns out to be just that.
"The Four Sacred Cows"
This one is about the monopoly in curriculum, training, certification and on K-3
instructional time requirements. It's for those who hold "the purse strings" to
change -- board members, legislators, foundation trustees, etc. If anti-trust statutes
at the federal level were enacted to protect the consumer from monopolies in the
market place, have you ever thought to wonder why we allow 22, no 21 (Georgia threw
theirs out a few weeks ago) state boards in this country to preside over the monopolized
selection of curriculum and methods of instruction which have never been proven
to be safe, much less effective? Since a major reading program from one of the multi-million
dollar publishing houses costs about $25 million to produce, whatever programs pass
muster in California and Texas decide how the balance of American children will
be taught to read. And where is Ralph Nader when we truly need him?
Why Bill Honig & the California State Department Can't Claim
Ignorance About Textbook Adoptions and/or Whole Language:
Reprint of Professor Richard Anderson's 1988 testimony to the California State Board
of Education on the subject of textbook adoption, whole language, phonics, etc.
Note: Dr. Anderson was Director of The Center for the Study of Reading at the University
of Illinois and chair of the distinguished group of reading professors who compiled
some 40 years of reading research which had been published in Becoming a Nation
of Readers (BNR) in 1985. A year later, the "Zorinsky Amendment" (by unanimous
vote by the U.S. Congress in September of 1986) demanded that Secretary Bennett
produce "a consumer information report" by holding public hearings on the subject,
by examining every existing reading program to see whether (and how) they individually
complied with this known research, how much each cost per pupil, etc. Though the
federal Department of Education now claims this legislation has been fulfilled,
the study described in the legislation has never been accomplished to date which
is, in our opinion, the primary reason textbook selection committees at any level
do not have the necessary information to make informed, research-validated decisions
in their selection
Workbooks vs. Direct Instruction:
Basic skills can be taught in two ways - on worksheets or through direct instruction
where teachers stand, present, illustrate, engage children in Socratic questions
and answers, etc. There isn't time for both in today's busy classrooms. This essay
examines which fits best with whole language or other literature and composition-based
programs. Time management is essential to a school's efficiency. Read this for some
new insights on the phonics vs. whole language war.
Helping Children Learn Phonemic AND Graphemic Awareness:
One of the current "buzzwords" in educational reform is that we have failed to teach
"phonemic" awareness -- the ability to be very cognizant of what we are saying
and hearing. Most would agree that this, indeed, is the first
step to correct spelling and accurate, fluent reading. It is, however, not the interim
or last step with which we should be equally concerned. This treatise advances the
idea that phonemic awareness must be accompanied by graphemic awareness lest we
forever make invented spellers and not-so-fluent readers. Consider that the sound
"oo" as in the word "food," can be heard in, and will rhyme with, many other words
do, dew, due, fruit, through, you, and shoe.
Just because you can hear that "oo" sound doesn't mean you can read, write or spell.
Click on the title above to find out how we quickly teach both.