The Sciences of Reading (and yes, I mean Sciences, not Science) by Dr. Sam Bommarito

The Sciences of Reading (and yes, I mean Sciences, not Science) by Dr. Sam Bommarito

This is a repost of my most read blog of this year. There were over 5000 views of this post and over 10,000 of the three-part series. I’m using this repost to set up my next series of blogs.  These will provide a summation of the case for taking a centrist approach to the issues surrounding the teaching of reading.

There has been a lot of push-back lately about the Science of Reading folks and the claims that they are making about the best ways to teach reading. I have long taken a centrist position on the “Great Debate,” maintaining that no one “side” has all the answers and that the sensible approach is for all sides to listen to one another and learn from one another.LINK I call this approach the “Reading Evolution.” LINK

Who are these Science of Reading folks and why the current backlash to the ideas they promote?  In its current iteration, SOR is the product of a group of educators influenced by the ideas of Louisa Moats. Moats claims that our current problems in the teaching of reading are caused by the failure to adopt practices like the ones described in the PDF, Reading Is a Rocket Science LINK or in this description of the Science of Reading by Holly Lane, University of Florida. LINK As we will see, critics of Moat’s approach charge that she and her supporters are a small minority of educators trying to force their views on everyone. Paul Thomas is among those critics, saying that this action of forbidding all practices except those advocated by the “Science of Reading” group is both hurtful and counterproductive LINK.  More about that in a minute.

Readers are invited to consider three of the major push-back pieces that have emerged in the past year.

The first is the National Education Policy Center’s statement as described in Diane Ravitch’s March 2020 blog.   LINK  The upshot is that there is no “science of reading.” NEPC states that “It’s time for the media and political distortions to end, and for the literacy community and policymakers to support the literacy needs of all children fully.”

Another push back came from a December 2020 YouTube video created by George Hruby from the Collaborative Center of Literacy Development- University of Kentucky

Some key points made in his video:

  • Hruby maintains SOR advocates are wrong in saying the science is settled. Science is never settled.
  • He thinks it is more accurate to talk about the Sciences of Reading.
  • He views the Science of Reading as a branding designed to sell curriculum.
  • He described several programs in the past that used similar methods to the ones found in the SOR and maintained that in the end, these programs were no more effective than what a good teacher could accomplish using methods that are far less costly than SOR methods.
  • He outlined the limits and limitations of other SOR claims

The most recent push-back came in the form of a piece written by Valerie Strauss, a reporter for the Washington Post. In it, she details the views of David Reinking, professor emeritus at Clemson University and a former president of the Literacy Research Association; Victoria J. Risko, professor emerita at Vanderbilt University and a former president of the International Literacy Association; and George G. Hruby, an associate research professor of literacy and executive director of the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development at the University of Kentucky. The link to the full article requires a subscription to the Washington Post. LINK

The article is entitled. Is there really a ‘science of reading’ that tells us exactly how to teach kids to read? The short answer to the question raised by the article is no; there is not. Here are some highlights from that article:

  • More worrisome, a majority of states have enacted, or are considering, new laws mandating how reading must be taught and setting narrow criteria for labeling students as reading disabled.
  • These themes make for a compelling journalistic narrative, and they can benefit for-profit interests outside mainstream education, particularly during a pandemic when many parents are seeking help teaching reading at home. But, they also obscure established evidence that teaching reading is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor (bolding is mine). Overlooked is the common ground shared by those who draw different conclusions on the finer points of available research.
  • Instead, reasonable differences exist along a continuum. On one end are those who see phonics as the foundation of learning to read for all students. To them, phonics — lots of it — is the essential ingredient that ensures success for all students learning to read, and it must be mastered before other dimensions of reading are taught.
  • On the other end are those who see phonics as only one among many dimensions of learning to read — one that gains potency when integrated with meaningfully engaged reading and writing, with vocabulary and language development, with instruction aimed at increasing comprehension and fluency, and so forth.
  • One example is a critical review of several meta-analyses (comprehensive statistical analyses of effects across hundreds of studies), which was published recently in a highly regarded, peer-reviewed journal. It found no clear advantage for programs with a strong emphasis on phonics compared to those foregrounding other approaches (click on this).

Taken together, I think these recent developments strongly support a centrist position. The limited and limiting point of view of the so-called Science of Reading advocates is not scientific at all. I have, on several occasions, called for using all the evidence from all the forms of research. Some important figures in the research world seem to have drawn similar conclusions. In a September 2020 UTube interview called Unpacking the Science of Reading: A Conversation with Editors of Reading Research Quarterly, Amanda P. Goodwin, Co-Editor of the Reading Research Quarterly, has this to say about research (1:18 on the video) : 

“In terms of the broad piece, there is no one science that matters, it’s not just experimental research, not just qualitative research, it’s not just quantitative research we are using all and every methodology to figure out this multifaceted thing called reading….” LINK

So, I’m in favor of exploring the Sciences of Reading. I favor tweaking programs and finding common ground. LINK.  I favor finding out all we can from successful practitioners using the science of reading. LINK. I favor looking at the teaching of reading as both art and science and exploring the issues of fluency and prosody fully. LINK. I favor exploring all the research around brain research LINK. I think it is time to empower teachers by providing in-service in all the ways to teach decoding LINK. I also think it is time to provide them the in-service needed to learn the skills and strategies measured by state tests of reading instruction (as opposed to decoding tests).  These skills and strategies include those like the ones presented by Nell Duke and others at the 2019 ILA convention. LINK.  I think the time is long overdue for folks to start listening to the teachers of reading so that we can have a Reading Evolution. Maybe a Reading Evolution will finally bring that famous (infamous) swinging pendulum to a stop in the middle so we can learn from each other the teaching skills needed to become effective teachers of reading.

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

Links to the other two blogs about the Sciences of Reading:

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you will not miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Made for Learning, a new book describes the 8 conditions for learning. Knowing them can help any teacher improve their teaching: An interview by Dr. Sam Bommarito

This week I had a chance to interview Debra Crouch and Brian Cambourne about their new book, Made for Learning. It was a fascinating and informative interview. Debra has 32 years of experience as a classroom teacher, coach, consultant, and author. She is currently a national reading consultant. She works with districts across the country. These districts serve children from diverse language and socioeconomic backgrounds.  She used these extensive experiences to help her co-author this book with Brian.

Brian is presently a Principal Fellow at the University of Wollongong, Australia. His teaching career began in 1956. For nine years he taught in a mix of one-room schools and primary classrooms K-6. He then became a teacher educator at Wagga Wagga Teachers’ College. He completed his PhD and was subsequently a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard. He has also been a visiting fellow at the Universities of Illinois and Arizona. Brian has done extensive research based on thousands of hours of classroom observation and collaboration. In the course of those observations, he found what he believes are 8 key conditions for learning. Here is a model of learning he developed based on those observations.

What I like about Brian’s model is that it is designed to empower teachers. It gives teachers a model to use so they can scaffold their students into learning. Brian defines learning as “our ever-changing knowledge, understanding, feelings, values and skills regarding what is to be learned. His model is based on thousands of hours of observation and collaboration with actual practicing teachers. For a couple of decades, I taught various courses to preservice teachers. They always wanted to know what they could do that would help them organize and implement their instruction more effectively. I agree with Brian, student engagement is the key.  Brian’s model provides important insights on how to help students become more engaged in their learning.  I think beginning teachers and veteran teachers alike would find new insights by applying Brian’s model to their own teaching. After getting my copy of Made for Learning and trying out its ideas, I have found reinforcement for many of the things I do. I have also found inspiration for doing some things even better. Here is a link in case you are interested in purchasing the book:

https://www.rcowen.com/conditionsoflearning.htm

Now it is time to have a look at the interview. Here are the topics we discussed. They are time stamped.

  1. Do you mind sharing what the Conditions of Learning actually are with our listeners?  01:50
  • So how are these conditions for learning universal? 14:25
  • How has your thinking about your original theory and writing changed over the years? How do the Conditions of Learning support meaning-making rather than acquisition of knowledge? 20:45
  • In the new book, Made for Learning, you highlight “mismatches between theory and practice.”  What do you mean by that? Can you share an example of common mismatches that you see? And how can teachers easily adjust their thinking and practice to meet the needs of students in more productive ways? 29:03
  • How are the Conditions for Learning still or even more relevant today? 44:00

Here is the YouTube interview:

Here is a link to Debra’s Website (click on the image):

Here is a link to Brian’s Website:

http://www.cambournesconditionsoflearning.com.au/

I want to thank Debra and Brian for taking time from their very busy schedule to do this interview. Because of the time differences, Brian had to get up at 3:30 am to do this interview. Wow, what dedication! And Wow, what great ideas Brian and Debra have for us all! So, until next week …

Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization

If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you will not miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Leah Mermelstein interview: Leah shares information about her new book, We Do Writing: Her book provides teachers simple tools for complex work: An interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

Here is some information about Leah taken from her website:

I found out that Leah was a staff developer for Lucy Calkin’s project around the same time I did my own 4-year stint learning about writing workshop. I have already purchased my copy of Leah’s book. That is because in the fall I plan to resume helping my 3rd grade teachers implement workshop. BTW- that is because they asked me back. They loved workshop!  

Leah’s methods are grounded in the workshop model. What she brings to the table are ways to simplify workshop teaching and to help teachers to help kids write more. Her ideas also help them love writing. During my own training I remember Katie Wood Ray telling us to have kids write more- make more stuff! I know with the help of the ideas from this book, next year my 3rd graders will be doing just that. I highly recommend this book.

Now it is time to have a look at the interview. Here are the topics we discussed. They are time stamped.

1. Tell us about yourself. Tell about how to create simple tools for complex work.  01:00

2. What made you decide to write this book? 04:00

3. Can you share the major parts of the “We-Do” writing model with us? 08:23

4. What research did you lean on while creating the “We-Do” model? 15:10

5. Any final thoughts? 23:00

Here is the YouTube interview:


Here is some additional information about Leah, including several important links:

Link to her web page:  Web Page:  www.leahmermelstein.com

Link to purchase book: https://www.benchmarkeducation.com/professional-learning/pd-essentials.html?fbclid=IwAR2hLZ53rlJBkBr1j4N9HeSOq-a2nvqzqkIR8zTk8O990NMSbdpy5ANokJ4

Another link to purchase her  book https://www.amazon.com/We-Do-Writing-Maximizing-Practice-Independent/dp/1078662673/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&qid=1620295794&refinements=p_27%3ALeah+Mermelstein&s=books&sr=1-4

THE WE-DO MODEL

Link to join her  “We-Do”  Facebook group.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/3458003700963828

Link to her blog: https://www.leahmermelstein.com/blog

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/wedowriting/

Twitter: @MermelsteinLeah

Linkedin:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/leah-mermelstein-042a8a18

LEAH’S WEBINAR ON MAY 13th

You can sign up for Leah’s webinar and where you get to learn about her book, while at the same time support an amazing organization. The webinar is on May 13th, 7:00-8:00 EST. The cost is $25.

Note: 10% of the webinar proceeds go to Community Lifestyle, a non-profit organization.

I want to thank Leah again for the interview. As I indicated earlier I will be using her book next year and I’m also using her ideas I’m finding in her Facebook group. I’ll be doing more interviews in the coming weeks. Also- this summer I’ll be sharing a special edition of  The Missouri Reader which will look at all sides of the question of best ways to teach beginning reading.  So, until next week,

Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization

If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you will not miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Lori Oczkus interview: Lori shares Comprehension Strategies that ACCELERATE and DRAMATICALLY BOOST Reading Scores!: An interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

As promised, this week  I share my interview with Lori Oczkus.  She tells the story of how she uses Reciprocal Teaching. Reciprocal Teaching is a way of teaching reading/reading comprehension. It has a very large research base supporting its use. Her many fun and practical ideas for implementing Reciprocal Teaching have made her a sought-after expert for professional development. Her methods are high impact/low prep. As she indicates below, she has reached well over 100,000 teachers so far.  Lately, she has worked with teachers in both Australia and Hawaii. Here is what Lori wrote as she tells us about what to expect in the interview:

Comprehension Strategies that ACCELERATE and DRAMATICALLY BOOST Reading Scores!

     Lori Oczkus will share powerful and proven strategies for closing the gap and helping all students to accelerate in their reading comprehension. Lori works in classrooms constantly (virtually and live) and she will outline ways her “project” schools across the U. S. and Australia are currently overcoming learning gaps. Over 100 thousand readers have embraced her bestselling book, Reciprocal Teaching at Work, now in its 3rd ed (ASCD & ILA, 2018) and endorsed by many literacy leaders in the field, including Tim Rasinski, Regie Routman, and Douglas Fisher. In the foreword, renowned professor, John Hattie, says, “ Oczkus shines in showing how to develop an adaptive expertise to teach the Fab Four…. There is a richness in this book of strategies for teaching the Fab Four..”

Join us and learn

-How to bring students up 1- 2 grade levels in their reading BEFORE the end of the school year using the research-based strategy reciprocal teaching (Palinscar & Brown, 1984) or “The Fab Four” (Oczkus, with fun, engaging, and effective lessons to use with ANY reading materials at any grade level).

Now it is time to have a look at the interview. Here are the topics we discussed. They are time stamped.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. (02:00)

2. How Lori got started with Reciprocal Teaching (3:28)

3. Explaining the “Fab 4”: Predicting/Questioning/Clarifying/Summarizing (6:30)

4. Using the “Fab 4” -all four have to be in the same lesson!- (9:44)

5. Fab 4 Poetry Lesson (11:13)

6. Research behind reciprocal teaching, effect size = .74, almost two years growth in one year! (15:16)

7. Using characters and props to enhance implementing the Fab 4 (20:50)

8. Final thoughts/contact information (24:12)

Here is the YouTube interview:


Lori’s ILA Blog article was in the top ones for 2020 as most-read…

https://www.literacyworldwide.org/blog/literacy-now/2020/12/30/top-10-most-read-literacy-now-blog-posts-of-2020

Lori’s Books (screen capture taken from the video)-see her Bibliography for links. Those links are starred (*)

Here is a copyrighted bibliography of Reciprocal Teaching Resources provided by Lori © Lori Oczkus,2021     

======================================================

Bibliography of Reciprocal Teaching Resources

www.loczkus.com

Twitter @LoriOczkus      

loczkus52@earthlink.net

FREE ARTICLE & Bookmark / 7 MIN PARENT VIDEOS

 Article International Literacy Association Blog

(IMPORTANT: scroll to the bottom of article for handout, bookmark, video links)

https://www.literacyworldwide.org/blog/literacy-daily/2020/04/16/reading-rescue-preventing-the-covid-19-slide-with-lessons-for-comprehension-and-fluency-at-home

FREE PODCAST Reciprocal Teaching: Improving Reading Comprehension with Four Powerful Tools http://www.bamradionetwork.com/ascd-learn-teach-lead-radio/4713-reciprocal-teaching-improving-reading-comprehension-with-four-tools

*BOOK and Study Guide:  Reciprocal Teaching at Work: Powerful Strategies and Lessons for Improving Reading Comprehension k-12: 3rd Edition foreword John Hattie (Oczkus,2018) ASCD/ILA http://www.ascd.org/Publications/Books/Overview/Reciprocal-Teaching-at-Work.aspx

VIDEO Sample Clip: Reciprocal Teaching at Work: video ASCD, 2018

http://www.ascd.org/professional-development/videos/reciprocal-teaching-at-work-video.aspx

*Close Reading with Paired Texts k-12 series by Lori Oczkus/ Dr. Timothy Rasinski. Shell education. https://www.teachercreatedmaterials.com/series/close-reading-with-paired-texts-211/

Fabulous Four Comprehension Puppets

https://www.primaryconcepts.com/c/product.web?nocache@8+s@T4iiws0FLqZ5g+record@P1151+urlTitle@Reading_20Comprehension_20Puppets+printer@no

                                                                                                   © Lori Oczkus,2021     

===================================================

Hope you enjoyed this interview as much as I did. Lori has some amazing teaching moves. As I said at the outside her way of implementing Reciprocal Teaching is high impact/low prep. Look for move interviews in the coming weeks. So, until next week,

Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization

Lori Ozkuz’s materials shared with permission © Lori Oczkus, 2021

If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you will not miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Nickie Simonette interview: After five decades of helping children with dyslexia, Nickie talks about her experiences and the two books she’s written- an interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

As a centrist, one of my goals in the past few years has been to meet and learn from people of all different points of view about how to teach reading. Doing that helps me find the common ground that I know exists on this very important topic. Nickie Simonette has spent 50 years teaching children with dyslexia. As you will see in the interview, she has found ways to help them become readers and writers. She has done this in part by focusing on what she calls the overlooked factors. In our many conversations on Twitter, I’ve found Nickie to be open-minded and full of ideas that help teachers help kids. I was excited when she agreed to talk to me about her experiences and the books she has written. I’m also grateful that Nicki agreed to do an article for the upcoming special edition of The Missouri Reader. That special edition will look at all sides of the issue of how to best teach reading.

Now it is time to have a look at the interview. Here are the topics we discussed. They are time stamped.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. (02:00)

2. Applications & ideas found in her books, including an explanation of how vowel and consonant sounds are formed (06:06)

3. The overlooked factors about children with dyslexia (22:17)

4. The role of syntax (25:13)

5. Comprehension (28:38)

6. Case Study that will be the subject of the Missouri Reader article (33:00)

5. Final thoughts (46:42)

Here is the YouTube interview:

Here is a link to Nicki’s Book:

https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=Bzt7DwAAQBAJ&gl=us&hl=en-US&source=productsearch&utm_source=HA_Desktop_US&utm_medium=SEM&utm_campaign=PLA&pcampaignid=MKT-FDR-na-us-1000189-Med-pla-bk-Evergreen-Jul1520-PLA-eBooks_Education&gclid=CjwKCAjwg4-EBhBwEiwAzYAlsjHB8awYJ9yFqUe24QUFhpXpC2i5WvOl-mK3I8ut-NaZWdnl759ifhoCSLwQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Follow Nicki on Twitter:

@NickieSimonetti

Next week, I will write about my interview with Lori Oczkus as she shares her story about how she uses Reciprocal Teaching. Reciprocal Teaching is a way of teaching reading/reading comprehension with a very large research base. Her many fun and practical ideas for implementing Reciprocal Teaching have made her a sought-after expert for professional development. She has reached over 100,000 teachers so far. Just lately, she has worked with teachers in both Australia and Hawaii.  I am also arranging several interviews with other authors that I will share in the coming months.  

So, until next week,

Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization

If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you will not miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

An interview of Lois Letchford: Lois tells the story of how she and her husband helped her son, who has dyslexia, become a Ph.D. graduate of Oxford. Interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

This week I had the privilege of interviewing Lois Letchford.  In the interview, she tells us about the amazing story behind her book, Reversed: A Memoir. This book shares her story about how she and her husband helped her son, who has dyslexia, become an Oxford graduate. The story of the path they took is a treasure trove of information about how to teach effectively.  As a result of these experiences, Lois has become a “literacy problem solver.” Her life’s work has now involves sharing all the information she gained about effective teaching with others.  Here is an excerpt about Lois taken from her website:

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. (:20)

2. Website tour (07:08)

3. Video about “Reversed: A Memoir from “Low IQ to Ph.D. Oxford. (11:49)”

4. It takes more than teaching decoding: Building foundations. (13:54)

5. Final thoughts (21:43)

Here is the YouTube interview:

Be sure to visit Lois’s website.

Here is the link:

https://www.loisletchford.com/

The website contains several useful resources. Use the tabs at the top of the website page to explore them. I want to call your attention to a couple of them right now.

The “When Learning is Trauma” Series

The series consists of links to 10 YouTube videos. The guests on the videos include many experts from around the world. Included is Dr. Steve Dykstra.

Her RESOURCES tab

This tab includes links to poems she has written along with other resources. My readers know that I use poetry with my own students. I do this as part of my implementation of Dr. Tim Rasinski’s repeated readings model. I do plan to use some of Lois’s poems with my students. I also found useful ideas in her section on Readers Theatre. Lois’s interest in these kinds of teaching methods is not surprising. She is friends with Tim and recently wrote an article with him.

Overall, I have found Lois to be open-minded and willing to share. I first met her through her comments on Twitter. Those comments were insightful. They were based on years of successful work. And she is now sharing ideas with folks from around the world. I want to thank her for taking the time to do this interview.

Next week I write about my interview with Nickie Simonetti, another expert on dyslexia, about her two books on that topic. I have also arranged two other interviews in the weeks after that. One of them is with Debra Couch and Brian Cambourne. They will talk about their new book, Made for Learning: How the Conditions of Learning Guide Teaching Decisions.  The other is with Lori Oczkus. She will talk about her extensive work with Reciprocal Teaching, the “Fab Four,” and more!    

So, until next week,

Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization

If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you will not miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Susan Vincent: A former reading recovery teacher, teacher leader and current university professor talks about reading recovery. An interview conducted by Dr. Sam Bommarito

My readers know I was trained as a reading recovery teacher. It has been a couple of decades since I have worked as one. However, in my current role pushing into K-3 classes via Zoom, I still use many of the effective teaching strategies I learned as a recovery teacher. I have blogged several times about RR. Here are links to some of those blogs.

Reading Recovery works: https://doctorsam7.blog/2018/08/10/why-i-like-reading-recovery-and-what-we-can-learn-from-it-by-dr-sam-bommarito/

Reading Recovery practices can help inform classroom practices: https://doctorsam7.blog/2018/08/24/what-i-learned-from-reading-recovery-and-how-it-helped-to-inform-my-classroom-practices-by-dr-sam-bommarito/

Once a Reading Recovery teacher, always a Recovery Teacher. RR teachers talk about RR: https://doctorsam7.blog/2018/08/16/a-message-to-reading-recovery-teachers-everywhere-well-done-by-dr-sam-bommarito/

The response to this series of posts was overwhelming and positive. Overall, they had thousands of views and there were well over 6000 responses on Twitter. As a result, I got to discuss RR with several different folks that I met online. One of them was Susan Vincent. Susan is an expert on Reading Recovery. She has been both a reading recovery teacher and a reading recovery trainer. Susan currently teaches at Miami University. 

I learned a lot of new things about Reading Recovery from Susan. One of the things I found out was that when Susan’s district looked at the long-term effects of RR, they found that the RR teaching stuck. When I asked her about the studies that showed otherwise, she pointed out that RR is a short-term intervention designed to catch students up.  My thought about this is that Reading Recovery sets students up to make normal progress when they return to their district’s mainstream program. However, if RR students return to districts where most students are making little or no progress, one would expect their progress to match that of those students, i.e., little, or no progress. Please note, that when RR students return to districts like Susan’s, where most students are making normal or above-average progress, then the progress of the returning RR students matches that of those students. In those districts, the RR teaching sticks. I now always ask the RR opponents who claim that RR  doesn’t stick if the studies they cite control for this very important factor.

Now it is time to have a look at the interview. Here are the topics we discussed. They are time stamped.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. (:20)

2. How have Reading Recovery & Marie Clay’s ideas impacted you as a teacher? (1:47)

3. Is Reading Recovery for all kids? (6:35)

4. Do Reading Recovery Teachers teach phonics? (8:49)

5. Final thoughts (19:55)

Here is the YouTube interview:

Next week I write about my interview with Lois Letchford as she shares her story about how she and her husband helped her son, who is Dyslexic, become a graduate of Oxford. After that, I will talk to Nickie Simonetti, an expert on Dyslexia, about her books on that topic. I also have begun arranging several other interviews that I will share in the coming months.  

So, until next week,

Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization

If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you will not miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

The Eric Litwin Interview: Eric discusses his newest books: The Power of Joyful Reading and a children’s book entitled The Poop Song (yes, a book about poop!) by Doctor Sam Bommarito.

The Eric Litwin Interview: Eric discusses his newest books: The Power of Joyful Reading and a children’s book entitled The Poop Song (yes, a book about poop!) by Doctor Sam Bommarito. 

This week I had the privilege of talking to my good friend Eric Litwin about his two newest books and his views on the teaching of reading. Everyone knows Eric as the author of the original four Pete the Cat books and a myriad of other children’s books. Eric began his career as a teacher and he has a teacher’s eye for things. In the interview, Eric will talk about how Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes  came to be written and the new career path that launched for him. Let’s now talk briefly about his two newest books.

I’m sure you wonder why Eric would choose to write a children’s book entitled “The Poop Song.” First, know that Eric became a father this past year. His son is one year old and he and his wife face all the challenges of raising their firstborn in the midst of the Covid epidemic. They are wonderful and caring parents. It turns out Eric’s wife is a pediatric gastroenterologist. During the interview, Eric will tell you how he and his wife decided that a book about poop was really needed. Think potty training. Think first-time parents. Think of thousands of daycare centers needing children to be potty trained. Eric and his wife saw the need for the right information to get out to parents and caretakers. His wife provided the expertise in the best things to do when potty training.  Eric has the gift of making anything engaging and entertaining.  It is actually a book that will fill a real need for our very youngest children’s parents and caretakers. The book Is available for preorder. During the interview, Eric will be doing a musical share of the song from the book.

Eric’s other book is entitled The Power of Joyful Reading. It is a professional development book for teachers and parents. In the interview, he makes a compelling, research-based case for parents and teachers to encourage students to want to read and want to be lifelong readers. As only he can, he shows us ways to do that through songs and chants. Lots of takeaways for teachers in this part of the interview. I’ll mention here that Eric is doing a book club for the Missouri Literacy Association. It’s part of our summer series. The book clubs are free. Eric’s turn will come on July 15 & 22nd. He will be attending the July 22nd session. Links for registering will be posted soon.  Here is a link to our site so you can see all the wonderful activities MLA is sponsoring:

https://mla31.wildapricot.org/

These are the questions from the interview. In case you want to jump to a particular topic, the questions are time-stamped.

1. Tell us about yourself (01:25)

2. Tell us about getting kids involved- Eric sings! (8:07)

3. Tell us about turning early childhood classrooms into a reading playground and about joyful reading (14:16)

4. Tell us about things in literacy/literacy instruction you consider urgent and explain why they are urgent. (15:55)

5. Final remarks & then Eric Sings The Poop Song! (22:36)

HERE IS A LINK TO THE VIDEO:

Here are links to the two books mentioned in this interview


The Poop Song: https://thepoopsong.chroniclebooks.com 

The Power of Joyful Reading: https://shop.scholastic.com/teachers-ecommerce/teacher/books/the-power-of-joyful-reading-help-your-young-readers-soar-to-success-9781338692280.html 

You’ll also want to visit Eric’s website. There are free downloads, links to videos of him singing some of his favorite songs, or buying one of his many books and, of course, a link to preorder The Poop Song. Use this to go to the website:

https://www.ericlitwin.com/

So that’s it for this week. In the coming weeks, I will have several interviews. The next one will be an interview with Susan Vincent. She is currently a university professor and formerly a Reading Recovery teacher and trainer. You won’t want to miss that one. See you next week

Happy Reading and Writing.

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization

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An overview of the newly released issue of The Missouri Reader: 55 Ideas for Celebrating National Poetry Month by Dr. Sam Bommarito

An overview of the newly released issue of The Missouri Reader: 55 Ideas for Celebrating National Poetry Month by Dr. Sam Bommarito

The newest issue of The Missouri Reader is out. In it, Missouri author/poet David Harrison gets together with friends like Nikki Grimes, Ruth Culham, Jane Yolen, Janet Wong, Nile Stanley and others to give us 55 great ideas for celebrating the upcoming national poetry month. The issue also includes articles on hot topics like Engaging Middle Readers, Literacy Stations, and Things Reading Teachers Should Know.

As some of you may already know, I am the Co-Editor of this journal along with Glenda Nugent. The Missouri Reader has been around for over 40 years. It started as a “paper journal.”  Now we publish digitally. We have two issues each year. We are peer-reviewed, and our editorial board has many highly qualified people (see the sidebar on the Table of Contents page of the journal). We publish many articles by well-known experts in the reading field. However, we also encourage teachers to publish, especially action research, book reviews, and app reviews. The last page of each issue explains how to submit an article for review. We are an official publication of the Missouri Literacy Association. Missouri Literacy Association is an ILA affiliate. Anyone with the following link can read the current issue for free:

https://joom.ag/zGzI

I want to also call your attention to another issue for you to explore. It is another poetry issue which was published in 2019. It is our most-read issue of all time. It contains TONS of innovative ideas about how to use poetry in the classroom. It was the brainchild of David Harrison. He approached Glenda Nugent (my Co-Editor).and I about the idea of a special issue dedicated especially to poetry. We are so glad he did. Here is the link to that issue. Feel free to share it with other interested educators.

https://joom.ag/o1ta

Part of our way of distributing The Missouri Reader is using what we call “word of cyberspace.” We ask our readers to share the links to the magazine with other readers. As a result, we are now read all around the world. So, if you like what you see in one or both of the issues, please share the links. They’re both free. THANKS!

You can help support The Missouri Reader by joining the Missouri Literacy Association- membership is open to all. Here is a link where you can join:

https://mla31.wildapricot.org/

Until next week,

Happy Reading and Writing

Dr. Sam Bommarito (Co-Editor of a peer-reviewed teacher’s journal)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect any other person or organization’s views.

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.

Trusting Readers: Powerful Practices for Independent Reading: Interview with Scoggin & Schneewind about their upcoming book

I was excited to interview Jennifer Scoggin and Hannah Schneewind about their upcoming book, Trusting Readers: Powerful Practices for Independent Reading. The book is available for pre-order now. It is expected the first copies should be arriving in May. Here is a little bit about the two authors.

I first met Jennifer and Hannah at the 2017 NCTE conference held in my hometown of St. Louis. I had the honor of being the chair for their session and introducing them and their innovative ideas. At that presentation, they laid the framework for what became the foundational ideas for this about-to-be-released book. In their collaboration over the past three years, they honed their ideas about how to effectively conference within the workshop setting and then expanded their inquiry into identifying effective ways to promote independent reading. Their work is research-based. Their work is also imminently practical. As you can tell from their bios, both authors have spent considerable time successfully teaching in urban settings. As indicated in her biography, Hannah’s classroom was used as a model classroom for teachers around the city and country.  Both these authors have now moved into consulting. They work directly with classroom teachers around the country to help those teachers develop their craft. I predict this book will become a go-to resource for classroom teachers. What follows are the questions I asked them during the YouTube interview. The questions are time-stamped so my readers can easily locate the information from the interview that interests them the most.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourselves. (:48)

2. As consultants who go to a number of different schools, tell us about the current situation you’re finding in those schools. (5:36)

3. Tell us about your other key take-aways teachers will find in your book. Include comments about the cycle of conferring (9:14)

4. Tell us your definition of balanced literacy and the role of phonics instruction in a balanced literacy approach. I understand a whole chapter in your upcoming book will talk about that topic. Also talk about your views on a strength-based approach (18:06)

5. Your Final thoughts- ALSO, how soon will the book be available- how to order it. (21:42)

Here is the YouTube interview:

Here is the link to the Heinemann website where you can pre-order this bookhttps://www.heinemann.com/products/e12047.aspx

Next week I hope to feature the upcoming Missouri Reader spring volume. Among other things, you’ll find hundreds of ideas on how to use poetry to foster literacy instruction at all grade levels. In the weeks after that, I hope to interview more authors about their new or upcoming books. Included will be an interview with my good friend, Eric Litwin, who has a new professional book out along with another new children’s book. So until then:

Happy Reading and Writing!

Dr. Sam Bommarito (aka, the guy in the middle taking flak from all sides)

Copyright 2021 by Dr. Sam Bommarito. Views/interpretations expressed here are solely the view of this author and do not necessarily reflect the views of any other person or organization

P.S. If you found the blog through Facebook or Twitter, please consider following the blog to make sure you won’t miss it.  Use the “follow” entry on the sidebar of the blog.