Due Diligence

“If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, quacks like a duck . . . ”

probably a duck!

Unfortunately, there’s “Trouble in River City” as there are a ton of snake – oil salesmen who preach “Research says . . .”,  “Research says . . .”, and “Research says . . .” who are “building on their own self-interests to increase fear and doubt in public schools and teachers.  Every one who has attended a public school or not (Betsy DeVos to name one) has an opinion about education.

An opinion!

Don’t allow yourself to get sucked into the fear mongering.  Be BRAVE. Think. Exercise Due Diligence.

  1. Read the resources.
  2. Check the author’s credentials.
  3. Fact check the statements. (By the way when national normed tests are used, 100% of the population is not going to be successful.  They would renorm the test and change the percentages. Assessment 101)
  4. Take a step back and ask yourself, “Is this even logical?”
  5. What do the researchers really say?

screenshot 2019-01-05 at 10.43.09 am

Research:  What does every educator need to know?  Please download Nell Duke’s  document below and have it ready to email to teachers in your own community. Those you can listen to and respond to. Your community.  Where you can also be proactive. Showcase what you are already doing and your own results.

A.  Nell Duke – “10 Things to Know about Research”  Today’s focus is on #9.

9. Where and How Research Is Published or Presented Requires Particular Attention
Consider a particular news item and the range of different ways it is covered, for
example, by the New York Post, The New York Times, Newsweek, The Economist,
Fox News, or the MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. These sources will cover the same
story in substantially different ways. Similarly, literacy research in different
outlets, and by different writers, may be reported very differently . . .”

New York Times. NPR.

Think.

What is the goal of an author for those sources?

What is the type of information presented?

B. Instructional Practices Matter 

Round robin reading is not OK. Neither is popcorn reading or “bump reading”. NOT.OK. NEVER! And “BUT my kids like it” is only an excuse and not an acceptable excuse.  What should teachers be doing instead?  Check out Evan Robb’s post here.

Do you have these three types of reading in upper elementary and secondary classrooms?

  • Instructional Interactive Read Aloud
  • Instructional Reading
  • Independent Reading

In addition to Read Alouds?

C. Equity Matters 

Regie Routman covers this beautifully in Literacy Essentials as it it one third of the content. Expectations matter for all learners.  Check out this blog post – “9 Key Actions We Can and Must Take to Ensure Equity for All” link

3. Become professionally knowledgeable. No shortcut here! Until we become highly knowledgeable as teachers of literacy—regardless of what subject we teach–we will always be seeking the “right” program, text, or expert to tell us exactly what to do. Equity for all requires that we teachers and leaders know relevant, research-based and principled literacy practices and how and when to apply those practices in all content areas.”

What do you believe and value?

How does that align with your professional knowledge?

D. Dear Media, Stop Misrepresenting Reading Instruction, Please   link

Who does it profit?

“Here is a final note worth emphasizing: Phonics-intense and phonics-only reading instruction is a gold mine for textbook publishers, reading program shills, and the testing industry.

Consider carefully the who and why of public commentaries screeching about reading instruction, especially when the arguments are full of easily identifiable holes in their credibility and logic.”

Why are those who are NOT certified to teach so blindly convinced that they hold “THE ANSWER” to teaching reading?

There are many other great resources . . . blogs, facebook, and twitter.

BE CAREFUL!

BE DILIGENT!

THINK of that student in front of you!

 

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6 responses

  1. This is so well thought out. THANKS SO MUCH!!! It is a topic everyone’s been thinking about lately. Something I like to point out is that when you check the instruments used in the “research” demonstrating the effectiveness of phonics, especially the research showing the overnight “cures”, you’ll find the tests use only measure (or mainly measure) decoding. Long established research demonstrating that improved decoding does not result in improved comprehension is totally ignored. BTW you can find some of that research quoted in the NRP report. Overall these folks have a limited view of the reading process (reading is decoding). That limited view is also a limiting view. Bottom line be sure to ask “wheres the evidence showing all this leads directly to comprehension/reading achievement”. I think you’ll find there isn’t any and we’ve known that for a very very very long time.

  2. […] need for Due Diligence and understanding Reading Research was the focus […]

  3. Reblogged this on doctorsam7 and commented:
    This blog contains important information about how to separate the wheat from the chaff when looking at educational research. I’ll have more to say about this in my blog post tomorrow. Fran- SUPER JOB of explaining things to consider!!!!

    1. Thanks! It’s such an important topic with so many key facets!

  4. Great post, Fran! I have heard this “no round-robin reading” mantra for awhile and definitely know it is research sound. However, I had a social studies colleague tell me she asks kids to read aloud in small groups…should we be asking kids to do that? Just curious as to what research says or might say about that practice. Thanks, as always, for an enlightening and well-organize post! 🙂

    1. Lanny,
      It always depends on purpose and context. Would I ever ask students to orally “cold read” in a small group? No! If I had provided time for them to practice and preview yesterday, today’s small group might be “Review the assigned reading, consider your favorite part, practice so you are ready to read it out loud to your group, and be prepared to share WHY you chose it!” 🙂

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