Pegagogies for the Poor

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Pedagogies for the Poor? Realigning Reading Instruction for Low-Income Students with Scientifically Based Reading Research Author(s): Jim Cummins Reviewed work(s): Source: Educational Researcher, Vol. 36, No. 9 (Dec., 2007), pp. 564-572 Published by: American Educational Research Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30137942 . Accessed: 28/03/2012 14:48 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/pag
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  Pedagogies for the Poor? Realigning Reading Instruction for Low-Income Students withScientifically Based Reading ResearchAuthor(s): Jim CumminsReviewed work(s):Source: Educational Researcher, Vol. 36, No. 9 (Dec., 2007), pp. 564-572Published by: American Educational Research Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30137942. Accessed: 28/03/2012 14:48 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jspJSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.  American Educational Research Association is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extendaccess to  Educational Researcher. http://www.jstor.org  PedagogiesforthePoor?RealigningReadingInstructionforLow-IncomeStudentsWithScientificallyBasedReadingResearch by JimCummins Inhisarticle,heauthorargueshatthere isminimal cientificupportforthepedagogicalpproachespromotedforlow-incomestudentsnthe federalReadingirstnitiative. ncombinationwithhigh-stakesest-ing,heinterpretationf theconstructsystematichonicsnstructionnReadingFirst hasresultedinhighlyeacher-centered andinflexibleclassroomenvironments.By privilegingheseapproaches,ReadingFirstgnoredheNationalReadingPanel'sindinghatsystematicphon-ics instructionwas unrelatedtoreadingcomprehensionfor low-achievingandnormally achievingstudentsbeyondGradeI. Alsoignoredwasthesignificantodyof researchsuggestinghatreadingengagementis animportantpredictorofachievement.Alternativeevidence-baseddirections forrebalancingreadinginstruction forlow-income studentsaresuggestedin thecontext of theimpendingreauthorizationf theNo Child LeftBehindegislation.Keywords:literacy ngagement;ow-incomestudents;pedagogy;readingnstruction;ystematicphonicsnstruction Thedebate n theUnitedStatesabout whatconstitutesscientificallyasedeadingesearchasremainedntensesincethepublicationof theNationalReadingPanel's(NRP,2000)report.EstablishedytheU.S.Congressn1997,theNRPwasmandated o reviewhescientificesearch nread-inginstructionndto articulateheimplicationsf thatresearchformprovingtudents'eadingchievement.hepanelanalyzedtheexperimentalandquasi-experimentalesearchiteraturejudgedo beof centralmportancenteachingtudentso read.AmajorindingoftheNRP wasthatthere s strongvidencesubstantiatingheimpactofsystematicphonicsinstructiononlearningo read p.2-132).Thehallmark fsystematichonicsprograms,accordingtotheNRP, isthattheydelineateaplanned,equentialet ofphonicelements,andtheyteachtheseelements,explicitlyandsystematically p.2-99).Thisdescrip-tioniselaborated sfollows:Systematichonicsnstructionypicallynvolvesxplicitlyeach-ingstudentsprespecifiedetofletter-soundelationsndhaving Educationalesearcher,ol.36,No.9,pp.564-572DOI:10.3102/0013189X07313156C2007AERA.ttp://er.aera.net 56411 EDUCATIONAL ESEARCHER studentsead extthatprovides racticesingheserelationsodecodewords.nstructionackingnemphasisnphonicsnstruc-tiondoesnot eachetter-soundelationsystematicallyndelectstext orchildrenccordingo otherprinciples.p.2-132)TheNRPalsoreportedhatsystematichonicsnstructionasunrelatedo thedevelopmentfspellingandreading omprehen-sionfornormallychievingndow-achievingtudents fterGrade1. Ehri,Nunes,Stahl,andWillows(2001)acknowledgehispat-ternasfollows: Amongheolder studentsn 2ndthrough6thgrades...phonicsinstructionwasnot effectiveforteachingspellingd=0.09)orteachingeading omprehensiond=0.12) (p.418).Thisfinding,however,asbeenargelygnoredbypolicymakers napplyinghe NRP's articulationfscientificallyasedreadingesearchopolicyandpracticen U.S.schools.Iarguen thisarticlehat theinterpretationndapplicationftheNRPfindingsntheeducationalolicyarenaasbeenselectiveandproblematic.pecifically,henterpretationf theconstructys-tematichonicsnstruction, othbythe NRP itselfand(asdocu-mentedbythe Officeof theInspectorGeneral,006)insubsequentfederalovernmentolicy,hasexacerbatedhealreadyxistingat-ternofdifferentiatednstructionacrosssocioeconomicgroups.Lower-incometudentsaremoreikelyo betaughtnclassroomenvironmentshere hereslessopportunityoreadxtensivelyndlessencouragementoengageninquiry-orientedearninghanwasthecase before heimplementationfthe 2001No ChildLeftBehindNCLB)egislationMcCarty&Romero-Little,005).Inraisinghesessues,mygoals to stimulatedebateabout(a)the extenttowhich theresapedagogicalividethatlimitsthelearningopportunitiesf low-incomestudents,b)the extenttowhichthispedagogicalividehasbeenexacerbatedyfederalndstatepolicydirectivesassociatedwith NCLBand theReadingFirstprogram,nd(c)the extent owhichpotentiallymoreeffec-tiveapproachesoliteracynstruction orlow-incomestudentscan bearticulatedn thebasisof theempiricalvidence.WiththependingreauthorizationfNCLB,it istimelyoaskwhetherhereadingnstructionbeing implementednschoolsservingow-incomestudentss,infact,consistentwith whatwe knowabouthowliteracydevelopsand howpeoplelearn.Thefollowingsec-tionaddresses heproblematicwaythatthe centralconstructofsystematicphonicsnstructionwas defined andoperationalizedintheNRP'smeta-analysis.  The Construct ofSystematicPhonics Instructionin the NRPReportDebateabout he NRPfindingsandclaimshasbeen ntensee.g.,Allington,2004;Camilli,Vargas,&Yurecko,2003;Garan,2001; Krashen, 004a;Lyon&Chhabra, 004;Pressley,Duke,&Boling,2004; Shanahan,004).However,ittle attentionhasbeenpaidto one of thekeyelements n thereport,namely,heconceptualcoherenceofthe construct ofsystematicphonicsinstruction.As the NRP(2000)itselfpointsout,a widerangefapproachestopromotingdecodingkillscan beaccommodatedn itsdescrip-tion ofsystematichonicsnstruction.However,he construct sdefinedsolooselythat it hasverylimited valueforpolicy pur-poses.Doesteachinga prespecifiedetofletter-soundelations (p.2-132)referoteachinga basicset ofphonicsrulesorteach-ingvirtuallyllthephonicsrulesnan invariantequence?oesreadingextthat provides ractice singheserelationsodecodewords p.2-132)refer oreadingigh-qualityhildren'siteratureorreadingdecodable exts hatembodyhespecificphonicsrulesthathavebeentaught?The NRP(2000,p.2-137)acknowledgesthat there is no research hatspecifically upportsthe use ofdecodable exts.Thusanyreadinghatallowschildren oapplytheirknowledgeofletter-soundrelationshipsouldappearofitwithin the definition.Theproblematicatureofwhat constitutesystematic hon-icsinstruction s evidentinthe factthat,inthe NRP(2000)report,hefollowingverydifferent nterventions regivenequalbillingasreflectingheconstructofsystematicphonicsnstruc-tion:(a)scriptedphonicsprogramshat continuesystematicndexplicitphonicsnstructionor asignificant artof the schooldaywellbeyondtheprimarygrades;b)a15-minuteprogramorkindergartentudents,JollyPhonics(Lloyd,1993),involving playful,reative,lexibleteaching Ehrietal., 2001,p.422);and(c)a5-to 6-minutedailywordstudycomponentntroducedinto a30-minute-per-dayndividualtutoringprogram,itledEarlySteps,forGrade1students(Santa&Hoien,1999).Theothercomponentsof thislastprogramnvolved bookreadingwith anemphasisoncomprehensiontrategynstruction8-10minutes),writing(5-8 minutes),andintroduction of a newbook,which the child wasexpectedo readwithout muchhelpthe nextday.The bookreading,writing,and new bookcompo-nents of this intervention aretypicalofwhole-languageapproachesoreading.Thus the NRP'sdesignationf thispro-gramassystematic honicsnstructionmpliesthat5to6min-utes ofexplicitwordstudy(phonics)injectedintoabroadercomprehension-orientedeadingprograms sufficient oqualifyan intervention ssystematic honicsnstruction.Does the constructfsystematic honicsnstruction aveanycoherencer usefulnessf it isequallyeflectednaprogramhatoccupies5to6minutesof instructional ime andone that occu-pies90 minutesormore)of instructionalime?Whyshouldpol-icymakersegard90minutesofsystematicphonicsnstructionasanymorescientificallyased han5to6minutesor15min-utes?If the constructhas littlecoherence,thenpolicyrecom-mendationsbasedon that constructhave minimalutility.Althoughthe NRP's(2000)descriptionfsystematic hon-ics instruction ackscoherence,hepanel clearly nvisageduchinstruction s animportant,butnotdominant,componentof abalancedreadingprogram.Thepanelarticulated numberofcautionsagainstmisapplicationf itsfindings.temphasized,orexample,that systematic honicsinstructionshould be inte-gratedwithotherreadingnstructionocreateabalanced ead-ing program p.2-136).Thepanelalsoadvocatedheuseofhigh-qualityiterature nd cautionedthatphonics shouldnotbecome hedominantcomponentn areadingprogram,eitherin the amount of timedevoted toitnorinthesignificanceattached p.2-136).Thepanel expressedoncernabout thecommonlyheardcall for'intensive,ystematic' honicsnstruc-tion (p.2-135)anddrew attention to thepossibleeffectsofscriptedprogramsonteachers' orientation to instruction: Although criptsmaystandardizenstruction,hey mayreduceteachers' nterest n theteachingprocessor theirmotivationoteachphonics p.2-135).Thereportalso cautionedagainstone-size-fits-allpproachesbecause ntheearlygradeshildrenarygreatlynthe skillsheybringoschool.Under hesecircumstances,he NRP(2000)sug-geststhatitis desirable oplacechildrennflexible nstructionalgroups.However,lexibleroupingmaybechallengingoimple-mentgiventhat manyphonicsprograms..,presentafixedsequenceoflessonsscheduled rom thebeginningo theendoftheschoolyear p.2-136).Unfortunately,hesecautionsweregnoredntheimplemen-tationof theReadingFirstprogramstablishednthecontextofNCLBlegislationoensurethat low-income childrenreceivedhigh-qualityreadingnstructionn theearlygrades.As docu-mented in the nextsection,ReadingFirststronglypromotedintensive,uniformphonicsinstruction or the low-incomestu-dentswho were the beneficiaries f its funds.TheInterpretationofScientificallyBasedReadingInstructioninReadingFirstReadingFirstreceivedappropriationsf close to$1billionperyearbetween2002and 2007.Theprogramsdescribedasfol-lowsonthe U.S.DepartmentfEducation's2006)website:Thisprogramocuses nputting rovenmethods fearlyeadinginstructionn classrooms.hrough eadingirst,tates nddistrictswillreceiveupportoapplycientificallyasedeadingesearch-and heprovennstructionalnd ssessmentools onsistentith his research-to ensure that all children learn to read wellbythe endofthirdgrade. ( ProgramDescription section,para.1) ApplicationsorReadingFirstundingwerereviewedy expertpanelshat determinedwhether heproposednterventionswerefoundedonscientificallyasedeadingesearch. umerousappli-cationswererejectedecauseheywereudgedo be not scientifi-callybased.Forexample,o receive$34million nReadingFirstfunding,NewYorkCityin2004 wasforced o abandon tspre-ferredeadingurriculumn49elementarychools oadopta sci-entificallybased programhattaughtphonicsn a morehighlystructureday(Goodnough,003; Herszenhorn,004).Thepro-gramof choice orNew YorkCitywasMonth-by-Monthhonics(Cunningham&Hall,2003),whichaccordingo itspublisher'swebsite, includesetailed,asy-to-followctivities hatassist tu-dentsndeveloping honemicwareness,nhanceetterandsound recognition phonics),andincreaseocabulary Overview ec-tion,para.1;http://www.carsondellosa.com/nyc/overview.htm).t DECEMBER20071565  also,however,ncludedan active ocus onwritingand the useofclassroomibraries.lthoughheprogram learlyonformedotheNRP'sdescriptionfsystematichonicsnstruction,t wasudgedbyReadingFirst tobeinsufficientlyroundednscientificallybasedreadingesearch.Herszenhorn2004)describedheconflictas follows:SchoolsChancelloroelI.Kleinhasconsistentlyrguedhathecity'shoice freadingurriculumssuperioro themoreigidro-gramsndorsedytheBushdministration.... ... He saidhatrecent ationalestingatahowedhatNewYork,BostonndSanDiego-citiesthatuseaso-called alancedliteracypproach-weremakingetterrogresshancitiesusingprogramsreferredyWashingtons scientificallyroven. ...NewYorkCity'surrentalancediteracyurriculumsesbooksfromlassroomibrariesnsteadfbasic eadersndncouragestu-dents oreadndwrite n their wnevel.para.-7)ThecriteriausedbyReadingFirst tojudgethescientificacceptabilityofproposedreadingprogramsweresubjectedointensescrutinybytheOffice of theInspectorGeneral2006).TheInspectorGeneral'sreportdocumented howpanelsthatreviewedapplicationsrom statesforReadingFirstfunds werestackedwithadvocatesofdirectinstruction(Carnine,Silbert,Kame'enui,&Tarver,003)and howfundswerewithheld romstatesand school districtsthatproposedto useinstructionalapproachesrprogramseemedtobe balanced rtaintedbywhole-languagessumptions.Amongtheapproacheshat wereexplicitly argetedas notbeing scientificallyasedwereReadingRecoverynd thereadingprograms ublishedby Rigbyand theWrightGroup.Theaggressivenessith which thoseprogramsweretargetedsillustratednan e-mailexchangebetween theReadingFirstdirectoranda staffmemberregardingheWrightGroup,nwhich thedirectorwrote:Beathe[expletiveeleted]utof them n awayhatwillstandptoanyeveloflegaland[whole-language]pologistcrutiny.Hitthemver ndoverwithdefinitivevidencehatheyrenotSBRR[scientificallyasedeadingesearch],everavebeenandnever willbe.Theyareryingo crashurpartyndwe needobeat he[expletiveeleted]ut of them nfrontofall the otherwould-be partycrasherswho arestandingon thefront lawnwaitingto see howwe welcomehesedirtbags.OfficeftheInspectoreneral,2006,p.24)Thelackofscientificredibilityf theseprograms,rom heper-spectivefReadingFirst,derivedrimarilyromheudgmenthattheydid notincorporate ystematichonicsnstructionn awaythatreflected hefindingsofthe NRP(2000).Bycontrast,mostprogramsudgedomeetthe criterion fscientificallyasedread-ingresearchncorporatedn intensiveocusonsequentialhonicsinstructionwhereall themajorphonicsruleswereaught ystem-aticallyndexplicitlyhroughoutheprimaryradesK-3)and re-quentlyhroughoutlementarychool.Decodable extswereusedtoreinforce tudents'cquisitionfphonicsrules.It isclearhat thecautionsarticulatedytheNRP in relationto theinterpretationofsystematicphonicsinstruction wereignoredbyReadingFirst.Thereport bytheOffice of theInspectorGeneral(2006)makesclearthat,inReadingFirst,balancedeadingnstructionwasviewedasequivalentowhole-language pproaches; nlyintensiveprogramshattaughtphon-ics ina fixedsequentialorder werejudgedto bescientificallybased;scriptedprogramsnvolving predominantlywhole-classinstructionwere viewedmorefavorablyhannonscriptedpro-grams;nd theincorporationfhigh-qualityhildren'siteraturewasregardedscontributingittle to thescientificredibilityfaprogram.In the nextsection,explorehe extent o whichReadingFirstmayhave contributedo differentiatedeadingnstructionorlow-incometudents.ReinforcingthePedagogicalDivideDifferentiatedducationalxperiencesccordingosocial lasshavebeenextensivelydocumented(e.g., Anyon,1980;McQuillan,1998;Neuman&Celano,2001;Warschauer,Knobel,&Stone,2004).Forexample,basedon 1992 NationalAssessmentofEducationalProgressNAEP)data,McQuillanreportedhatteachers npoorstateswereconsiderablymoreikelythanthoseinmoreaffluent tates ousephonicsrather hanwhole-languageinstruction nteachingreading.NeumanandCelanoreportedthatstudents rommiddle-incomeommunitiesadsignificantlygreateraccess toprintin their schools thandidstudentsfromlowerncomecommunities.Funding nequitiesanddifferentialteacherqualificationsndexperiencelearlyontributeodiffer-encesn the educationalxperiencef lower ncomeascomparedwithhigher-incometudentse.g.,Kozol,2005;Ladson-Billings,2006).Theseexistingrendsappearo have beensignificantlyein-forcedbythe combinedimpactof thehigh-stakesassessmentmandatesf NCLBlegislationnd theReadingFirstmpositionof directnstructionrogramsnschoolservingow-incometu-dents.Whereas he NCLBtestingmandateswerelargelybasedon anempiricallyunsupportedbelief thatextensivetestingimproveschievement,ReadingFirst ocusedonpedagogy,laim-ingthat theinstructionalmandatestimposedforlow-incomestudentswerescientifically roven.Although arge-scaletudiesxamining edagogicalifferencesbetweenchoolsservingower-andhigher-incometudentshavenot beenundertaken,bservationsromnumerous ducatorsndresearchershavehighlightedtheimpactof thepedagogicalchangesimplementedn recentyearsinlow-incomeschools.McCartyandRomero-Little2005),forexample,documentedthechangesnpedagogyand testperformancehatfollowedheintroduction ofanintensivescripted phonicsprogramatBeautifulMountainSchool(apseudonym)ontheNavajoreser-vation.Before hepassagefNCLB,the schoolhadmplementedaNavajobilingual,biculturalprogramthatusedaprocess-oriented,iterature-basedpproachoEnglishandNavajoread-ingandwriting.Subjectmatter nstructionwasorganizedroundculturallyelevanthemes.McCartyndRomero-Littleointoutthatprogramvaluationsrom1988throughhe1990s showedthat Beautiful Mountainelementarystudentsconsistentlyimprovedheir oralEnglishandEnglishreadingcores,asmea-suredbystandardizedests,studentportfolios,and alocallydevelopedeadingassessment.BeautifulMountainstudentsalsosignificantlyutperformedcomparisonrouponlocallydevel-opedand standardizedestsofEnglishreadingcomprehension 56TIONAIONRERSEARHER
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