Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trump's spelling problem

Sent to the Los Angeles Times, Sept. 21, 2017

Re: "Spelling's not for eveyrone, Mr. Precedent," Feb. 20, 2017
There is a deeper pathology underlying the spelling mistakes made by Trump and members of his staff. Our studies have shown that much of our spelling competence comes from reading: Not all dedicated readers are perfect spellers, but it is clear that more reading results in better spelling. 
The spelling errors documented by Allan Fallow confirm that Trump is not a reader (Reports of Trump's lack of reading habit have been reported in The New Republic, Washington Post, New York Times, and The New Yorker), and, perhaps more seriously, it seems that neither his staff nor members of the US Department of Education read much.
Studies show that reading is not only the major source of our ability to write and spell accurately, it is also a major source of our knowledge of history, science, and even practical knowledge.  This helps explain why we see more than spelling errors coming from the Trump administration.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

Some sources
Krashen, S. 1989. We acquire vocabulary and spelling by reading: Additional evidence for the input hypothesis. Modern Language Journal 73: 440-464.
Krashen, S. and White, H. 1991. Is spelling acquired or learned? A re-analysis of Rice (1897) and Cornman (1902). ITL: Review of Applied Linguistics 91-92: 1-48.
Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Libraries Unlimited (second edition)


Monday, February 20, 2017

Poverty is indeed the problem in education

Sources for Poverty is indeed the problem in education:

Martin Luther King, 1967. Final words of advice. From: Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?  New York: Harper & Row.

Levels of poverty:
UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre 2012, ‘Measuring Child Poverty: New league tables of child poverty in the world’s rich countries’, Innocenti Report Card 10, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence.

Control for poverty:
Payne, K. and Biddle, B. 1999. Poor school funding, child poverty, and mathematics achievement. Educational Researcher 28 (6): 4-13; Bracey, G. 2009. The Bracey Report on the Condition of Public Education. Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. http://epicpolicy.org/publication/Bracey-Report. Berliner, D. 2011. The Context for Interpreting PISA Results in the USA: Negativism, Chauvinism, Misunderstanding, and the Potential to Distort the Educational Systems of Nations. In Pereyra, M., Kottoff, H-G., & Cowan, R. (Eds.). PISA under examination: Changing knowledge, changing tests, and changing schools. Amsterdam: Sense Publishers. Tienken, C. 2010. Common core state standards: I wonder? Kappa Delta Phi Record 47 (1): 14-17. Carnoy, M and Rothstein, R. 2013, What Do International Tests Really Show Us about U.S. Student Performance. Washington DC: Economic Policy Institute. 2012. http://www.epi.org/).

“Poverty means poor nutrition, inadequate health care, and lack of access to books”:
Berliner, D. 2009. Poverty and Potential:  Out-of-School Factors and School Success.  Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. http://epicpolicy.org/publication/poverty-and-potential;   Krashen, S. 1997. Bridging inequity with books. Educational Leadership  55(4): 18-22.

Protecting children from poverty:
Nutrition:  Studies listed in Health and Academic Achievement, (2004) Atlanta: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, www. cdc.govw
Health care: Lineberry, M. J. & Ickes, M. J. (2015). The role and impact of nurses in American elementary schools: a systematic review of the research. Journal of School Nursing,31(1), 22-33
Access to books: Krashen, S., Lee, S.Y. and McQuillan, J. 2012. Is the library important? Multivariate studies at the national and international level. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 8(1): 26-36.  Studies by Keith Curry Lance and associates at http://www.lrs.org/impact.php).

Expensive innovations:
Testing: Nichols, S., Glass, G., and Berliner, D. 2006. High-stakes testing and student achievement: Does accountability increase student learning? Education Policy Archives 14(1).  http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v14n1/. OECD.
Competency-based instruction: McDermott, M., Robertson. P., and Krashen, S. 2016. Testing All The Time? Language Magazine, January 16. http://languagemagazine.com/?page_id=125014








Saturday, February 11, 2017

Trump Patriot Towers (Washington Post)

Sent to the Washington Post, Feb. 11, 2017
Re: Trump insists he can bring the cost of $21.6 billion border wall ‘way down”
Mr.Trump says he will bring down the price of the wall on the Mexican border . I predict that part of his plan will be to make sure American business profits from the wall: The wall will be named , “Trump Patriot Towers" (high security hotels, condos, office buildings, department stories featuring Ivanka Trump brands) with special "patriot" discounts for those who reserve space early.
Stephen Krashen
Los Angeles

original article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/02/11/trump-insists-he-can-bring-the-cost-of-21-6-billion-border-wall-way-down/?utm_term=.19265211bdf0


 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Novelist Salley Vickers gives credit to librariies and librarians.



 Published in the Guardian, Feb 2.

Apropos Professor Krashen’s letter (2 February) on the need to invest in libraries rather than phonics tests, as a young child I was taken every Saturday morning by my father to the local library to change the three books I would have got through during the week. I was lucky in coming from a family who read. But at the time my father’s leftwing politics lost him two jobs and we were among the “just about managing”. Without the local library and Miss Blackwell, the librarian, I would never have encountered Moomintroll, Narnia, John Masefield’s The Midnight Folk or George Macdonald’s At the Back of the North Wind – all of which have contributed to the successful novels I have, as an adult, produced. I very much doubt that phonics would have had the same creative influence on my career.
Salley Vickers
London


My letter and sources at: http://skrashen.blogspot.com/2017/01/two-kinds-of-reading-tests-important.html

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The limits of phonics

Sent to the Examiner  (Tasmania) Feb 1, 2017.

A Tasmanian speech pathology expert maintains that screening children for phonics is "essential"  to teach students to read well  ("Speech Pathology Tasmania backs grade 1 phonics checks," Jan 31. 2017).
But passing a phonics test and becoming a good reader are not the same thing. Children's knowledge of phonics rules is not related to how well they do on tests of real reading, tests in which they have to understand what they read. To do well on reading tests, children need to do a lot of pleasure reading.
Also, there are limits on how much phonics can be learned. Rules for initial consonants are straight-forward, but after that they are quite complex with numerous exceptions.

And those who claim that heavy phonics instruction is essential in learning to read need to face this embarrassing findings: There are many cases of children who learn to read very well with little or no phonics instruction.

Stephen Krashen

original article: http://www.examiner.com.au/story/4437027/phonics-test-will-improve-learning-speech-pathology-tasmania-poll/


"... knowledge of phonics not related ..."
Harris, A. and Serwer, B. 1966. The CRAFT Project: Instructional time in reading research. The Reading Research Quarterly 2: 37-57.
Garan, E. (2001). Beyond the smoke and mirrors: A critique of the National Reading Panel report on phonics. Phi Delta Kappan 82, no. 7 (March), 500-506.
Garan, E. (2002) Resisting Reading Mandates. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Krashen, S. 2009. Does intensive decoding instruction contribute to reading comprehension? Knowledge Quest 37 (4): 72-74.
Rosen, Michael. 2017. http://michaelrosenblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/17-of-children-good-at-phonics-but-not.html?spref=tw
" …amount of reading":
McQuillan, J. (1998). The literacy crisis: False claims and real solutions. Portsmouth: Heinemann.
Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Libraries Unlimited.

"limits on how much phonics"   Smith, F. (1994). Understanding Reading. Sixth Edition. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Krashen, S. 2002. Defending whole language: The limits of phonics instruction and the efficacy of whole language instruction. Reading Improvement 39 (1): 32-42.

"embarrassing findings:
 Krashen, S. and McQuillan, J. 2007. Late intervention. Educational Leadership 65 (2): 68-73.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Invest in Libraries, Not Phonics Tests

Published in the Guardian, Feb. 2, 2017

Michael Rosen explains the difference between a phonics test and a reading test ("Dear Justine Greening, whatever happened to ‘eradicating illiteracy’? Jan. 31). In a phonics test, children pronounce words presented to them in a list.  In a reading test, children have to understand what they read. 
Of great interest is the consistent finding that heavy phonics training only helps children do better on phonics tests. It has no impact on reading tests. Research also tells us that the best way to get better on reading tests is reading: The best predictor of reading achievement, in study after study, is the amount of recreational reading children have done. 
The problem is not insufficient phonics teaching, as some claim.  It is insufficient access to books. For many children of poverty, their only source of books is the library.
Research also tells us that better libraries are associated with better reading test scores. The implication is obvious: Invest in libraries and librarians, not in phonics tests.
Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

original article: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jan/31/justine-greening-literacy-schools-phonics-teaching

Sources:
Impact of phonics on tests.
Harris, A. and Serwer, B. 1966. The CRAFT Project: Instructional time in reading research. The Reading Research Quarterly 2: 37-57.
Garan, E. (2001). Beyond the smoke and mirrors: A critique of the National Reading Panel report on phonics. Phi Delta Kappan 82, no. 7 (March), 500-506.
Garan, E. (2002) Resisting Reading Mandates. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Krashen, S. 2009. Does intensive decoding instruction contribute to reading comprehension? Knowledge Quest 37 (4): 72-74.
Pleasure reading.
McQuillan, J. (1998). The literacy crisis: False claims and real solutions. Portsmouth: Heinemann.
Krashen, S. 2004. The Power of Reading. Libraries Unlimited.
Libraries.
Krashen, S., Lee, S.Y. and McQuillan, J. 2012. Is the library important? Multivariate studies at the national and international level. Journal of Language and Literacy Education, 8(1): 26-36.
Lance, K. (1994). The impact of school library media centers on academic achievement. In C. Kuhlthau (Ed.) School Library Media Annual, vol. 12. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited. pp. 188-197.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Phonics screening tests: A suggestion

Sent to the Australian, January 29
Re: Literacy and numeracy tests for Australian year 1 students (January 29)

I hope that one the phonics screening tests will ask children to pronounce these words: hot, hoot, hook, hour, honest, house, hope, honey, and hoist. Each starts with "ho" but is pronounced differently. I don't think one person in a million knows the phonics rules that explain this, but all fluent English readers can pronounce these words correctly.
The example comes from literacy scholar Frank Smith, who points out that many phonics rules are very complicated and have many exceptions. A few basic phonics rules can help make texts more comprehensible, but after that, the phonics path is hopeless.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California