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[Susan notes: 3 Cheers for Krashen.]

Submitted to St. Petersburg Times but not published
07/02/2004

To the editor





The St. Petersburg Times' glowing report on a six week intensive summer phonics session ("It's summertime and reading is easy," July 2) reads like an advertisement for the commercial phonics program used in the program.



To make matters worse, the Times provides no evidence that the program helped children read better: All we know is that children learned to sing the A to Z phonics song in the regular and rap version.



Teaching some basic phonics rules is a good idea, but research shows that intensive phonics is of very limited value. Heavy phonics instruction only improves children's' ability to read lists of words in isolation. It has no significant impact on tests of reading comprehension given after grade 1.



Recent studies by Fay Shin of California State

University and Jimmy Kim of Harvard University show that what really does work in summer programs is access to good books and lots of real reading.



Stephen Krashen


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