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[Susan notes:

Here are three indefatigable researchers--and letter writers--doing their good work again.

Mr. Coles is the author of Reading the Naked Truth: Literacy, Legislation & Lies (Heinemann, 2003). Ms. Garan's article "Beyond the Smoke and Mirrors: A Critique of the National Reading Panel Report on Phonics" appeared in the March 2001 issue of Phi Delta Kappan. Mr. Krashen's paper "False Claims About Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Skills vs. Whole Language, and Recreational Reading" is available online at


Published in Education Week

To the editor

In your article on the recent reanalysis of the National Reading Panel's report ("Analysis Calls Phonics Findings Into Question," May 21, 2003),

Linnea Ehri praises the work by Gregory Camilli and colleagues because Mr. Camilli uses, in Professor Ehri's words, "science and evidence rather than rhetoric to conduct his critique of the NRP phonics report, unlike other critics."

In addition, the article goes on to say that previous "harsh criticism" of the report was because of "its narrow focus on quantitative

research studies that have measurable results, are replicable, and have undergone peer review."

This is false in the case of our critiques, as they were based on the NRP report's substantive errors and omissions, and in fact avoided the

qualitative-quantitative debate. Our critiques met the National Reading Panel on its own empirical turf and identified the numerous deficiencies and misrepresentations in the science to which it staked a claim. We have

argued that the NRP erred in its analysis and reporting of studies, omitted studies, ignored major issues in the field, and violated basic

principles in appraising experimental research. Despite its claims of being "scientific," the National Reading Panel report was simply bad


Gerald Coles, Elaine Garan, Stephen Krashen

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