Rethinking Reading Policy in the Science of Reading Era: What Paul Thomas will be saying at LitCon this year. An update by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Rethinking Reading Policy in the Science of Reading Era: What Paul Thomas will be saying at LitCon this year. An update by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Paul Thomas will be a featured speaker again at this year’s LitCon conference. Details about the conference will appear at the end of this blog entry. Let’s first find out a little bit about Paul.

Here is an interview I did with Paul last year. Here are the topics we discussed. They are time-stamped.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. (01:30)

2. Recent issues of RRQ and P.D. Pearson’s new book have led many to believe that it is “not settled science.”  What is your take on that? (02:50)

3. Does it make sense to effectively ban selected practices found in balanced approaches to reading, e.g., reading Recovery, workshop teaching or guided reading? (6:45)

4. What is your take on some SOR programs, including retention in 3rd grade, as a part of the program to raise test scores? (10:47)

5. Cambourne and Crouch recently said we should stop using the Reading Wars metaphor and replace it with the metaphor of the Reading Quilt- with different “sides” adding different pieces to the quilt. Do you see any hope for that point of view? Do you see hope for an end to the divisive discourse?  Do you see hope for ending the reading wars? (13:20)

6. Final thoughts (24:00)

Here is the YouTube interview:

Since doing the above interview, Paul has had much to say about the social media version of the science of reading. Last April, Paul challenged Emily Hanford’s reporting on  Dr. May’s longitudinal study of Reading Recovery LINK. He pointed out that a British study published near the same time as the study Hanford reported showed that Recovery did demonstrate a positive long-term effect on reading achievement. Yet Hanford chose to ignore that study. My own criticism of Hanford’s position pointed out how she also slanted her reporting on Dr. May’s longitudinal study in her recent podcast. She reported on the study in such a way that it appeared the study proved Reading Recovery doesn’t work. When presenting the study at the AERA conference,  Dr. May’s answers to inquiries about Reading Recovery were the opposite of what Hanford had implied. Dr. May said, “schools should give Reading Recovery to students and ensure they follow up on them later.” LINK.   

At this year’s LitCon, Paul will be diving deep into the issue of what reading policies should look like in the era of the Science of Reading, especially considering all the misdirection and misinformation that have appeared lately in social media.

Here is a link to his video about his upcoming appearance. In it, he promises to give ideas around how to stop doing the same things we have done repeatedly for the last 100 years and instead try something different.

Here is a link to Paul’s Book: https://

Follow Paul on Twitter: @plthomasEdD 

Here is a link to Paul’s blog:

Here is a link to Paul’s newest blog post about problems with the way media covers SOR:

Also see Thomas, P.L. (2022). The Science of Reading movement: The never-ending debate and the need for a different approach to reading instruction. LINK

Here is a link to the LitCon 2023 website: LINK

Over the next couple of months, I will continue blogging about interviews with various literacy leaders. Eric Litwin and Lester Laminack have both agreed to be interviewed. I will also be doing a guest blog for the Robb Review. So it will be a busy and productive time.

So, until next week,

Happy Reading and Writing

Dr. Sam Bommarito, aka the centrist who uses ideas from all sides to inform his teaching

Copyright 2022 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the author’s view and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.

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