What Dr. Amanda Goodwin, Co-Editor of RRQ, had to say about the Social Media version of SOR A blog post by Dr. Sam Bommarito
There has been major pushback over the past few weeks about what I have come to call the social media version of the Science of Reading. That version claims they have the one and only Science of Reading and that the whole issue of teaching reading is now settled. They claim that researchers have reached a consensus, and that consensus is that the social media version of Science of Reading should be implemented nationwide to the exclusion of all else. The fact is that contention has been called into question. Let’s see what Amanda Goodman, the Co-Editor of the Reading Research Quarterly, had to say about this topic in a recent interview in the KAPPAN. Here is the link to the article: LINK.
A reminder that the Reading Research Quarterly (RRQ) is a peer-reviewed, widely respected reading journal. The International Reading Association publishes it. It sets the gold standard for reading research journals. It was first published in 1948 and has been published for over 70 years. Its standards are the highest in the field. Many of my friends who publish research about the reading field view the publication of an article in this journal as a career milestone. Only the best of the best are published in this journal. That said, let’s see what the current co-editor of the RRQ had to say about the consensus that seems to have developed around the concept of the Science of Reading. Here is one of several article highlights. These highlights were included in the article to encourage the sharing of Amanda Goodman’s key ideas:
This analysis of what researchers have to say about the SOR contrasts sharply with the social media version of SOR. Here is what Amanda had to say about that:
“You know, the version of the science of reading that has been presented in the media is very narrow, focusing mainly on alphabetics, phonics, and word reading. It’s also pretty directive, telling teachers that if they want to help kids learn to read, then they should do this, not that. But when we invited researchers to propose and submit articles on the science of reading, that’s not how they defined it. In all, we received about 90 article submissions and published 50 of them, many written by leading experts in reading and literacy, and we did not hear calls for the sort of narrow, directive approach to reading instruction that journalists and policy advocates often promote.”
Amanda goes on to talk about the two special issues about the SOR published by RRQ in 2020 and 2021. She gives a link to those issues. The link allows readers to view the abstracts of all the articles from the two issues. Here is that LINK. Amanda described how, in the process of peer review, researchers who at first viewed themselves in different camps found themselves shifting more to the center:
“Some researchers probably started out thinking they were in different camps, but during the editing process, that changed. You know, in an academic journal like RRQ, we ask experts to review each article and give the authors anonymous feedback. A lot of them pushed the authors to say more about the gap between research and practice and to consider differing perspectives. And when they revised their articles, those researchers who started out in separate camps seemed to move more to the center and acknowledge and welcome other views. So, overall, I’d say that the experts agreed that it’s valuable to conduct various kinds of scientific research that aims to better understand and meet children’s complex and varied needs — not to insist that there’s a single, “one best” way to teach reading.”
Here are two more article highlights for you to consider:
As you can tell from these highlights, much more valuable information can be found in this article. I highly recommend that readers take the time to read the full article. My readers know that I have long advocated for taking a centrist position around the whole issue of how to teach reading LINK. I view this article as reinforcing taking that stance. I’ve mentioned before that the best advice I’ve seen about how to use research came from Nell Duke. She says to follow the research and see where it leads. I’ll say again- reviewing the research from these two special RRQ issues would be a giant step in that direction.
Next week I’ll look at another recent article about the social media version of SOR. Paul Thomas wrote it. The title is FACT CHECKING SCDOE SCIENCE OF READING INFOGRAPHIC. If you want to look at it early, here is the LINK.
Happy Reading and Writing.
Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)
Copyright 2023 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely this author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization.
P.S. Don’t forget the upcoming webinar from P.D. Pearson. There will be lots to unpack from that webinar LINK.