Scientists Anne Castles (Macquarie University), Kathleen Rastle (Royal Holloway University of London), and Kate Nation (University of Oxford) report their conclusions as part of a thorough, evidence-based account of how children learn to read. They synthesize findings from more than 300 research studies, book chapters, and academic journal articles published across a variety of scientific fields.
"We decided to bring this knowledge together in one place to provide an accessible overview," Nation says. "We didn't want it to be buried in the scientific literature, we wanted it to be useful to teachers charged with the vital task of teaching children to read."
Decades - Reading - Wars - Teachers - Parents
For several decades, the "reading wars" have been waged between teachers, parents, and policymakers who champion a phonics-based approach (teaching children the sounds that letters make) and those who support a "whole-language" approach (focused on children discovering meaning in a literacy-rich environment).
"Writing is a code for spoken language, and phonics provides instruction for children in how to crack that code," says Castles. "Phonics is an essential basis for becoming a good reader, but it isn't enough on its own -- one aim of our review was to describe the other key ingredients that must be combined with phonics to support good reading development."
Literacy - Skills - Example - Children - Sounds
To acquire sophisticated literacy skills, for example, children must progress from identifying individual sounds to recognizing whole words. They must also be able to pull forth the meaning of different words quickly within a particular...
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