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[Susan notes: Joanne Yatvin stands tall, remaining true to principle throughout the National Reading Panel (NRP) fiasco. She continues to stand tall and this is a fine letter, packed with a lot of information, and ending with a bang.]

Published in Education Week

To the editor

As a member of The National Reading Panel (NRP), on whose report the Reading

First section of the No Child Left Behind Act was based, I never cease to be

amazed and dismayed by the folklore that has grown up around that report.

The central legend is that the panel scientifically determined that phonemic

awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension are

the five essential components of reading instruction.

The reality is that at its first meeting, the NRP selected nine topics for

investigation because those topics were the major interests of the

university researchers on the Panel. Three months later, the Panel

identified 32 additional topics, but never got around to investigating any

of them because of lack of time. Of the nine topics investigated, the panel

determined that five showed enough positive results to be identified as

effective teaching methods.

The latest offspring of the central legend is a study produced by the

National Council on Teacher Quality. The NCTQ evaluated teacher preparation

in reading at 72 colleges of education on the basis of whether or not the

curriculum included the five components identified as effective by the NRP,

calling these collectively the ³science of reading.²

If either the NRP's selection of topics or the NCTQ's use of them as its

sole criteria is science, I'll eat my teaching license.

The views expressed by the writer, the president-elect of the Urbana,

Ill.-based National Council of Teachers of English, are her own.

Joanne Yatvin

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