[AAACE-NLA] STAR Struck!
gdemetrion at msn.com
gdemetrion at msn.com
Thu Feb 8 07:24:49 EST 2007
Without getting into the specific discussion of Star of which I know nothing, I would like to highlight the following paragraph from Tom's message:
"However, the STAR web site provides no evidence that following its evidence-based approach will improve adult reading instruction over what is already being done by adult literacy educators. I have searched for scientific research indicating that a focus on alphabetics (code emphasis in Jeanne Chall's terms) with adults with low literacy produced better learning outcomes than some other, perhaps whole language (meaning emphasis in Jeanne Chall's terms) approach. But I have found no such research. No such research is cited on the STAR web site, and the report on principles of adult reading instruction that is mentioned does not include any such research, either."
Principally from an intuitive program perspective (15 years direct experience operating adult literacy programs) I would like to echo what Tom says about lack of solid evidence that indicates that any particular pedagogy has more impact than another in producing better outcomes on reading development (which is to bracket the broader issue of literacy). If there is a consensus emerging, which I believe there is, it is around the balanced (or integrative approach to teaching developmental reading) grounded in approaches that are both multisensory (which pertains to more than teaching phonics) and interactive. To this I would add the scaffolding principle highlighted in Vygotskian research along with the Deweyan concept of growth. The basic pedagogical plan would be to work between the nexus of what students can do (and want to do!) on their own and what they can accomplish with a little help from their friends and assistive technologies (including white boards, books, computers), to gradually internalize this "higher" learning and then move forward from there. Based on this foundation one would draw on a range of methods, adaptations and materials to move the learning along gauging impact by the progress actually attained (whether or not measurable in any formal sense) both on an everyday and longer term basis.
I believe there are solid frameworks for teaching with the balanced reading theory as an operating principle along with an integration of multisensory and interactive approaches. Thus, if there is a foundation, which I believe there is (Andre, I'm a late modernist rather than postmodernist, though much informed by postmodern theory) I think it's more in the set up than technique in which solid technique needs to be incorporated at the appropriate times and places.
Stated otherwise teaching reading is both a science and an art.
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