Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home


[Susan notes: It is crucial that we keep insisting on the importance of the availability of good books.]

Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch
10/24/2004

To the editor



The Post-Dispatch was unusually thorough in its portrayal of the phonics  whole language debate, but some crucial facts were left out (Schools will introduce phonics-based program,  October 23). Elaine Garans research shows that programs that emphasize heavy, intensive phonics show good results only on tests in which children read lists of words in isolation. Heavy phonics has no significant impact on tests of reading comprehension given after grade 2.



All programs include some phonics, but the research shows that by far the most important factor in insuring success in reading is the availability of good books. Studies also show that children of poverty score low on reading tests not because of lack of phonics but because they have few books in their homes, live in communities with lower quality public libraries, and go to schools with inferior school libraries. Our first priority should be to improve our libraries, especially in areas in which children have no other source of reading material.

Stephen Krashen


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.