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Are some methods of teaching reading “bad”?

Are some methods of teaching reading “bad”?



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I have a young daughter who I am teaching to read, and I was given a "Your Baby Can Read" DVD set by a friend. When discussing it with friends, several of my teacher friends frowned upon the use of "memorization" to teach reading, and implied it would have negative long term effects. Is there data to support this claim? Since I expect there is a lot of research in this area, are some methods of teaching reading considered "bad"?

For reference, the "Your Baby Can Read" series proposes that babies even can "read" even before they can talk by watching videos and looking at books which show words and then show a picture or short video that explains the word. This is intended to make the connection between the word and what it represents, and ideally guide the child in a reaction to indicate they know what it means. There is no mention whatsoever of spelling, or phonetic sounds - it is all word/picture or word/video associations one after another.


In general, parental involvement/engagement has lots of positive social, emotional, cognitive, and academic effects for a child's development. Some evidence suggests that the positive effects of relatively general factors like improved parent-child relationship, increasing motivation and (positive) expectations, etc., are stronger than the specific benefits of learning particular educational material. Based on this, I would say that if you and your daughter enjoy doing these learning to read activities, then they will have positive effects because they will teach your daughter that reading is important and that her parents care about her and her intellectual/academic development, whether or not your daughter specifically learns to read from this DVD.

On the specific subject of reading, it is important to keep in mind that the vast majority of children will learn to read regardless of the particular method of instruction. Phonics-based methods (which emphasize letter-sound correspondences) are generally thought to be more effective than whole-word methods, especially for children at risk for reading disability/dyslexia. However, even the most die-hard phonics supporters acknowledge that phonics needs to be embedded within a comprehensive reading instruction program that makes reading fun and meaningful. In other words, phonics is the best method, but any fun reading activities that you do at home to get her interested in books will have positive effects.

A few references:

Nokali, Bachman, & Votruba-Drzal (2010). Parent Involvement and Children's Academic and Social Development in Elementary School. Child Development, 81(3), 988-1005.

Senechal & LeFevre (2002). Parental Involvement in the Development of Children's Reading Skill: A Five-Year Longitudinal Study. Child Development, 73(2), 445-460.

Rayner, K., Foorman, B. R., Perfetti, C. A., Pesetsky, D., & Seidenberg, M. S. (2001). How Psychological Science Informs the Teaching of Reading. Psychological Science in the Public Interest Monograph, 2, 31-74.

Ehri, Nunes, Stahl, & Willows (2001). Systematic phonics instruction helps students learn to read: Evidence from the National Reading Panels meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 71, 393-447. [Note: there has been some statistically complex back-and-forth regarding this report, but I believe the original finding still stands.).


Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning – Pooja K Agarwal & Patrice M Bain.

Dr. Pooja K Argawal is the creator and curator of the excellent website retrievalpractice.org and Patrice Bain is a very experienced teacher and writer. They are colleagues and combine their knowledge, experience and interest in cognitive science for this book.

I am very lucky as I have been able to read a special preview copy of this book which is not yet released but it is certainly one to watch!

I won’t give too much away but whilst this book does focus a lot on retrieval practice, as would be expected based on their expertise, there are other chapters that explore different areas linked to the science of learning including spacing, interleaving, dealing with exam anxiety and how to educate students and their parents about the science of learning – which is essential. This was another engaging and informative read. Teachers can read a chapter at a time, in addition to reading and returning to at their convenience. You can pre-order this superb book here.

I must state that even though I have read all of the books above, a lot of this reading and research was carried out as part of the process of writing my own book and a chapter which focused on cognitive psychology. I certainly don’t think all of the books I have suggested need to be read as there will be a lot of repeated content – although it did help with my understanding reading different sources, examples and explanations.

Also, despite undertaking a lot of reading, research and general interest in this area I am not claiming to be a cognitive scientist or expert in this field. I consider myself to be a research-informed teacher. I believe in order to be research-informed in education we must learn about memory and how children learn.

Robin shared an anecdote about our mutual friend Mark Healy, a graduate and teacher of psychology for 25 years. Mark told Robin that even now he struggles to understand some of the nuances of working memory – yet everyone on Twitter is apparently an expert. I think Mark is making a fair point. This field can at times be oversimplified or not explored enough. We still have a lot to learn.

I am fascinated with cognitive psychology and other areas of psychology too. In addition to my personal interest, it has also transformed my teaching practice. As a result, I have changed how I plan and deliver not just a lesson but a sequence of lessons across the curriculum. I feel more confident with my teaching but it is clear the effective study strategies like retrieval practice, spaced practice, dual coding plus others do actually work and support the learning process.

As a profession, we should embrace and welcome cognitive psychology but as Robin warned we should also take caution before we do fully apply it to our classroom practice. We should be critical and reflective, learning from mistakes of the past with neuro-myths such as brain gym and learning styles! If you are a senior or middle leader is cognitive psychology part of your professional development model? If not, I think it should be.

It is wonderful that educational researchers, psychologists, scientists and teachers are finally working together. Cognitive psychology isn’t the silver bullet to fix everything in education as I stated in my book … research is one piece of a complex puzzle when it comes to working with children in schools.


EBT Strategy 6: Provide Your Students With Feedback

Feedback is the breakfast of champions, and it is the breakfast served by extraordinary teachers around the world.

Giving feedback involves telling a student:

Feedback is different to praise. Praise focuses on the student rather, but feedback focuses on what your student did. It provides your students with a tangible understanding of:

In John Hattie’s view, any teachers who seriously want to boost their children’s results should start by giving them dollops and dollops of feedback.

If you want to learn more about giving feedback, subscribe to our email list. You will then receive a free copy of our eBook How to Give Feedback to Students: The Advanced Guide. You should also check out our student feedback infographic.


Top 5 Methods of Memorizing | Psychology

This article throws light upon the top five methods of memorizing. The methods are: 1. Repeated Recitation 2. Whole versus Part Learning 3. Spaced and Un-Spaced Learning 4. Cramming and Logical Memory 5. Intention to Remember.

Method # 1. Repeated Recitation:

Repetition or re-reading a lesson fixes it durably. But recitation fixes it more durably. Recitation means reciting to oneself. Let the reader read his lesson twice or thrice, and then recite it to himself, prompting himself when he fails.

This active reciting method of study takes less time in memorizing. Reci­tation is economical of time in memorizing, and fixes the mater more durably. If nonsense syllables are replaced by sensible material, we get better results. Recitation is a greater advantage for permanent memory than for immediate memory.

Method # 2. Whole versus Part Learning:

In memorizing a long lesson should we divide it into parts, and study each part by itself till mastered or read the whole lesson repeatedly? Should we follow the ‘whole method’ or the ‘part method’? The ‘entire method’ has been found to be superior to the ‘sectional method’ up to a limit of about 240 lines of a poem for adults.

Children are discouraged by a long poem they may show better results by following the ‘part method’. Some have found the ‘whole method’ to be superior in all cases. With others two thirds have done better with the ‘whole method’ and one-third better with the ‘part method’. The ‘whole method’ yields good results for permanent memory. The ‘part method’ yields good results from immediate memory.

Which found that children up-to twelve years of age showed better result with the ‘sectional method’ than with the ‘entire method’ except in memorizing those poems in which there is per­fect unity of thought and homogeneity of material. Children above this showed better results with the ‘entire method’. The adolescent is capable of more sustained mental activity, and can, therefore, profitably use the ‘entire method’.

Method # 3. Spaced and Un-Spaced Learning:

Should we repeat a lesson till we have mastered it at one sitting? Or, should we learn it once or twice a day till we have mastered it? Spaced repetitions are more effective than un-spaced learning. The greater is the interval between one repetition and another at one sitting the less is the time required to memorize the matter.

Spaced learning yields better result for permanent memory. Un-spaced learning is good for immediate memory. Continuous cramming may be helpful for immediate memory. But it cannot be useful for permanent memory. Spaced learning fixes the matter more durably.

Method # 4. Cramming and Logical Memory:

Unintelligent memorizing or cramming is not effective. It cannot incorporate the matter into the mental structure, and fix it durably. It cannot establish associa­tions between the matter and other ideas in the mind. On the other hand, intelligent memorizing of a sensible material is which the connected meaning of the whole matter is grasped, is far more effective.

It fixes the matter durably and accomplishes much for permanent knowledge. So we should not try to memorize as intelli­gent passage by mere rote learning. We should first grasp the meaning and fix it in mind. Once we see the point we have learnt it.

Method # 5. Intention to Remember:

Learning a matter effectively requires the intention to remember. Unintentional learning is ineffective. The will to learn is necessary if any learning is to be accomplished. The testimony of eye-witnesses is very unreliable except for facts that were definitely noted by them at the time of the occurrence of an event.

They can remember those things only which they noted and intended to remember. Unintentional learning is in­effective and reliable.

Generally experiments on memory are made with a list of nonsense syllables. But “meaning” plays an important role in remembering. The meaning of a material comprehended facilitates its recall. We can easily learn a verse of four lines by a single reading, though it consists of fifty syllables. But we can learn a list of fifty nonsense syllables by reading it some hundreds of times.

In learning the verse’ we form mental associations among the meanings of words and sentences. In learning nonse syllables we form motor mechanism or speech habit. The former is pure memory while the latter is habit memory. But even in learning a list of nonsense syllables we should have the intention to learn it. So they become parts of a whole, which is related to a purpose.


Apperception theories

Another theory assumed that human learning consisted essentially of building up associations between different ideas and experiences the mind, in accordance with the ideas of the 17th-century English philosopher John Locke, was assumed to be at first devoid of ideas. The 19th-century German philosopher Johann Herbart made an important contribution by providing a mental mechanism that determined which ideas would become conscious and which would be left in the subconscious, to be called upon if circumstances warranted it. Such was the mechanism of apperception, by which new ideas became associated with existing ideas to form a matrix of associated ideas called the apperception mass. New ideas were thus assimilated to the old. A 20th-century Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget, argued that such assimilation was not enough, that accommodation of the established ideas to the new experiences was also required.

In any event, ideas such as Herbart’s were translated into a sequence of steps presumed to be required to carry out a lesson:

1. Preparation, whereby the teacher starts the lesson with something already known to the class

2. Presentation, introducing new material

3. Association, whereby the new is compared with the old and connected (the stage of apperception)

4. Generalization, whereby the teacher presents other instances of the new idea

5. Application, whereby the ideas are applied to further material, carried out by the child individually (a problem-solving phase)

Although these five steps give the teacher a clear role, they constitute a form of intellectual dominance and could lead to stereotyped lessons restricting the spontaneous creative learning by the pupil. Contemporary curricular revisions, on the contrary, aim at promoting pupil activity.


Theories of reading

This article is in two parts. The first part will look at some of the shifts and trends in theories relating to reading. The second part will examine tips and guidelines for implementing a theory of reading which will help to develop our learners' abilities.

  • The traditional view
  • The cognitive view
  • The metacognitive view
  • Conclusion

Just like teaching methodology, reading theories have had their shifts and transitions. Starting from the traditional view which focused on the printed form of a text and moving to the cognitive view that enhanced the role of background knowledge in addition to what appeared on the printed page, they ultimately culminated in the metacognitive view which is now in vogue. It is based on the control and manipulation that a reader can have on the act of comprehending a text.

The traditional view
According to Dole et al. (1991), in the traditional view of reading, novice readers acquire a set of hierarchically ordered sub-skills that sequentially build toward comprehension ability. Having mastered these skills, readers are viewed as experts who comprehend what they read.

  • Readers are passive recipients of information in the text. Meaning resides in the text and the reader has to reproduce meaning.
  • According to Nunan (1991), reading in this view is basically a matter of decoding a series of written symbols into their aural equivalents in the quest for making sense of the text. He referred to this process as the 'bottom-up' view of reading.
  • McCarthy (1999) has called this view 'outside-in' processing, referring to the idea that meaning exists in the printed page and is interpreted by the reader then taken in.
  • This model of reading has almost always been under attack as being insufficient and defective for the main reason that it relies on the formal features of the language, mainly words and structure.

Although it is possible to accept this rejection for the fact that there is over-reliance on structure in this view, it must be confessed that knowledge of linguistic features is also necessary for comprehension to take place. To counteract over-reliance on form in the traditional view of reading, the cognitive view was introduced.

The cognitive view
The 'top-down' model is in direct opposition to the 'bottom-up' model. According to Nunan (1991) and Dubin and Bycina (1991), the psycholinguistic model of reading and the top-down model are in exact concordance.

  • Goodman (1967 cited in Paran, 1996) presented reading as a psycholinguistic guessing game, a process in which readers sample the text, make hypotheses, confirm or reject them, make new hypotheses, and so forth. Here, the reader rather than the text is at the heart of the reading process.
  • The schema theory of reading also fits within the cognitively based view of reading. Rumelhart (1977) has described schemata as "building blocks of cognition" which are used in the process of interpreting sensory data, in retrieving information from memory, in organising goals and subgoals, in allocating resources, and in guiding the flow of the processing system.
  • Rumelhart (1977) has also stated that if our schemata are incomplete and do not provide an understanding of the incoming data from the text we will have problems processing and understanding the text.

Cognitively based views of reading comprehension emphasize the interactive nature of reading and the constructive nature of comprehension. Dole et al. (1991) have stated that, besides knowledge brought to bear on the reading process, a set of flexible, adaptable strategies are used to make sense of a text and to monitor ongoing understanding.

The metacognitive view
According to Block (1992), there is now no more debate on "whether reading is a bottom-up, language-based process or a top-down, knowledge-based process."It is also no more problematic to accept the influence of background knowledge on both L1 and L2 readers. Research has gone even further to define the control readers execute on their ability to understand a text. This control, Block (1992) has referred to as metacognition.

Metacognition involves thinking about what one is doing while reading. Klein et al. (1991) stated that strategic readers attempt the following while reading:

  • Identifying the purpose of the reading before reading
  • Identifying the form or type of the text before reading
  • Thinking about the general character and features of the form or type of the text. For instance, they try to locate a topic sentence and follow supporting details toward a conclusion
  • Projecting the author's purpose for writing the text (while reading it),
  • Choosing, scanning, or reading in detail
  • Making continuous predictions about what will occur next, based on information obtained earlier, prior knowledge, and conclusions obtained within the previous stages.

Moreover, they attempt to form a summary of what was read. Carrying out the previous steps requires the reader to be able to classify, sequence, establish whole-part relationships, compare and contrast, determine cause-effect, summarise, hypothesise and predict, infer, and conclude.

Conclusion
In the second part of this article I will look at the guidelines which can also be used as general ideas to aid students in reading and comprehending materials. These tips can be viewed in three consecutive stages: before reading, during reading, and after reading. For instance, before starting to read a text it is natural to think of the purpose of reading the text. As an example of the during-reading techniques, re-reading for better comprehension can be mentioned. And filling out forms and charts can be referred to as an after-reading activity. These tasks and ideas can be used to enhance reading comprehension.

This article published: 23rd March, 2006 was first published in Iranian Language Institute Language Teaching Journal Volume 1, No.1 Spring 2005.


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Thank you very much for providing such wonderful materials. In fact, it has made me rich in strategies on how to work with these little ones. Please as you find time provide such things for discussion. anon173614 May 8, 2011

As a teacher, having the same experience with the others, I know how difficult to be one to assess students' abilities and skills, but we teachers should be good enough to determine their strengths and weaknesses to suit the teaching techniques or methods to be applied on them for their effective and enjoyable way of learning. Teaching actually is not that difficult as others may think. It is up to the teacher to make teaching easy to facilitate an effective teaching-learning process. -- jen76soriano

Try having students read aloud in class, and you decide when they might need to stop and discuss. Have students read with a partner and fill out a handout together. Let small groups of three or four students work on a mini-project together so there is one product between them. anon161651 yesterday

What is a good way of teaching about social justice in terms of engineering to a student taught lesson? anon161442 March 19, 2011

Is there any most effective teaching method nowadays, that is different from the present teaching methods as inductive, deductive, discovery, lecture, discussion, direct method, etc.? anon132953 December 9, 2010

what are the other teaching techniques to kids to make things easy for them? anon89366 June 9, 2010

to be effective in teaching, use the appropriate method/strategy. it depends on the nature of the students. anon88329 June 4, 2010

as teachers, let us remember that there is no known best teaching method, that all depends on the kind of learner we have and the kind of teacher who is willing to take a mile and not just for the sake of money matters. anon85449 May 20, 2010

can you differentiate among these three methods: summit vs seminar vs convention? how they can be used and how effective are they when utilizing them during teaching. anon83634 May 11, 2010

I'm a student, from cot. city, philippines. i love to read the flow of teaching-methods found in this page, but, i would like to suggest a brief but specific method that addresses the Multiple Intelligence learners. i know by far, these types of students could make a thing unexpectedly and beyond. as a future mentor, teacher or facilitator what would be the method? why? anon68314 March 2, 2010

how about other teaching methods? i think there are lots more. anon64582 February 8, 2010

can you please post different types of teaching methods in one list, so that it will be helpful for trainers as well as upcoming teachers to learn different types of teaching methods for students as well as for trainees. anon59214 January 7, 2010

how about teaching strategies in social studies? anon56988 December 18, 2009

I appreciate very much the approach you have cited. indeed it would be of big help in dealing with different kinds of children. Yes, it is true, that method of teaching used depends on the kinds of children that we handle. anon55982 December 11, 2009

I am a teacher in Iligan City, Philippines. Methods of teaching must be used depending on the kind of students that we have.

We cannot pattern our teaching with the Westernized countries as ours is different. For example, in teaching elementary children, anywhere in the developed countries, children are taught Apple as an example in teaching the sound of A, but in some areas in the Philippines, it is difficult to give apple as an example for children do not even know what an apple is. What is common in the locality can be given as an example.

Well, I do favor much the Apron Approach especially in telling a story, where in incidents in the story are arranged but are printed by sentence. Then place all the cut sentences in the pocket of the apron, then bring out one sentence at a time in telling the story and the children will be very excited on what sentence will come next or what will happen next in the story.

Also the Language Experience Approach. Children are exposed anywhere in the school. In coming back to the classroom, we ask them about their experiences based on their exposure to some places inside the school.

Now if the topic is focused on nouns, then in coming back to the school, we ask them what they saw in their surroundings. You may start from the things that they saw, places, houses, people until such time that the examples given are nouns.

Let us not make teaching these children, especially the slow learners, a difficult one. It helps to be realistic, you know. --R.G. ROSALES, Iligan City, Philippines anon49261 October 19, 2009

Well, i think there's missing information about the different teaching methods. I'm a teacher and i know there are more important fact about this topic. it has a lack of information. mwright54 June 11, 2009

Comments or techniques for reaching all levels of learners in high school English classes such as low level readers, SPED, average, to high achievers, as well as academically gifted.

For example? Tell me what you have in mind, and be specific, please. anon27562 March 2, 2009

OK this was pretty good, but what about teaching kids 2 use other methods to make things a little easier for them?


4. Identify letters in natural settings

Before our boys were born, we painted and hung large wooden letters spelling their name above the cribs as a decorative accent in their rooms. I would have never guessed that those wooden letters would have such a learning incentive for Big Brother! Around age 2.5, he began asking what letters were above his name. That’s honestly how he learned to spell his name…and he can spell his brother’s name too because he has taken an interest in his letters as well. In technical terms, this is called “environmental print” and includes all of the print we are surrounded by–fast food signs, labels, traffic signs, clothing, magazines, etc.

Often times, we want to force our children to learn letter names by a certain age. We buy flashcards or DVDs claiming to teach our children their letters. We drill our 2-year old over and over for minutes on end. Don’t buy into this…allow your kid to be a kid and take advantage of the “teachable moments” as they come along! Children’s minds are like sponges and are certainly capable of memorizing the alphabet from drilling, but that’s not the most effective method that will produce the best long-term results. Your child will be curious about the print he sees around him and will ask questions. That’s your chance to jump in with a practical application that actually has real meaning and significance to your child.

Don’t misunderstand me and think that I don’t think learning the alphabet is important. It is certainly important…but the method in which we teach them is even more important! Always keep in mind that our ultimate goal is to foster a lifelong learner who loves to read, not a child who has simply memorized without any significance.


Culturally Responsive vs. Traditional Teaching Methods

Culturally responsive teaching can manifest in a number of ways. Using traditional teaching methods, educators may default to teaching literature by widely accepted classic authors: William Shakespeare, J.D. Salinger, and Charles Dickens, for example, adhering to widely accepted interpretations of the text.

Culturally responsive teaching, on the other hand, acknowledges that there’s nothing wrong with traditional texts, Childers-McKee says, but strives to include literature from other cultures, parts of the world, and by diverse authors. It also focuses on finding a “hook and anchor” to help draw students into the content using their past experiences.

“This way, students can see themselves in some of what they’re reading and not just the white, western world. The learning is more experimental, more hands-on,” she says. “Instead, you’re showing them a worldwide, multicultural community and looking for different interpretations while relating it to what it means for society today.”


‘Learning’

All of us understand things in the light of our past experience. This is also true of ‘learning’ – we get our ideas of what ‘learning’ means from what happened to us in the past. So, for example, we may think of ‘learning’ as something which takes place in a school or college, in a classroom. We may think of it as a person sitting alone at night, trying to memorise a lot of facts so that s/he can pass an examination. However, a bit of reflection will show us that ‘learning’ is much wider than that. After all, children learn a great deal before they even get to school - they learn to speak, to walk. Educational psychologists tell us that any activity which leads to a change in our behaviour is ‘learning’. 1

Here are some more ideas about ‘learning’:

Learning can be formal or informal. We learn informally from what we experience day by day: things which happen to us make us change the way we think and act. We may not even be aware that we are learning, which may cause problems - for example, health workers may learn bad attitudes from the example of others. Of course, learning may also be formal: we attend a course which is planned in a structured way, in a school or college.

We don'tjust learn knowledge and facts - we also learn skills and attitudes. This is especially important for health workers, since it is in our practical work that we have an effect on the health of the people we serve. Interestingly, we learn knowledge, skills and attitudes in different ways - for example, we may learn a new idea from a discussion, but we learn skills by practising them and getting feedback.

People learn in different ways. Researchers have identified different ‘learning styles’. 2 Some people are ‘receivers’: they like to memorise what is given to them. This is a very common style, and it is reinforced by teachers who expect students to memorise, and reward them for it. Other people are �tectives’: they like to investigate what they are learning themselves, to get to understand it. Yet others are ‘generators’: they like to decide themselves what they want to learn, and then look for opportunities to learn those things.

Learning can be superficial or deep. 3 If knowledge is only memorised (superficial learning) it is soon forgotten, and may never affect the way that person does her/his work. If the learner is made to use the new knowledge actively, the learning becomes deep. The learner connects the new knowledge to the concepts that s/he already has, and understands how it can be used practically. It is, therefore, much more likely to be remembered and used.

Motivation is important for learning. 4 What is it that makes people want to learn? Some learn because they want to do a better job - they get satisfaction from the feeling that they are competent. People are also very strongly motivated by the hope that they will be rewarded - for instance, by gaining a qualification, leading to a promotion and better pay. The need to pass exams is therefore a very strong motivator.

Learning continues throughout a person'slifetime - at least informally. We all know that health workers should continue to learn throughout their careers, because new information about health is constantly becoming available. However, many workers do not have access to formal in-service training. This means they themselves have to take the responsibility for staying up-to-date - they have to become ‘life-long learners’.


Phonics works: Sounding out words is best way to teach reading, study suggests

Research published today in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General has shown that learning to read by sounding out words (a teaching method known as phonics) has a dramatic impact on the accuracy of reading aloud and comprehension.

There has been intense debate concerning how children should be taught to read. Researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London and the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit tested whether learning to read by sounding out words is more effective than focusing on whole-word meanings. In order to assess the effectiveness of using phonics the researchers trained adults to read in a new language, printed in unfamiliar symbols, and then measured their learning with reading tests and brain scans.

Professor Kathy Rastle, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway said, "The results were striking people who had focused on the meanings of the new words were much less accurate in reading aloud and comprehension than those who had used phonics, and our MRI scans revealed that their brains had to work harder to decipher what they were reading."

English-speaking countries should replicate UK use of phonics

In England, the provision of systematic phonics instruction is a legal requirement in state-funded primary schools. The impact of phonics is measured through a screening check administered to children in Year 1. The results of this screening check have shown year-on-year gains in the percentage of children reaching an expected standard -- from 58% in 2012 to 81% in 2016.

However there are objections to the use of systematic phonics. Many practitioners argue in favour of a less-prescriptive approach, consisting of a variety of phonic- and meaning-based skills. One frequent objection is that while phonics may assist reading aloud, it may not promote reading comprehension.

"There is a long history of debate over which method, or mix of methods, should be used to teach reading," continued Professor Rastle "Some people continue to advocate using a variety of meaning-based cues, such as pictures and sentence context, to guess the meanings of words. However, our research is clear that reading instruction that focuses on teaching the relationship between spelling and sound is most effective. Phonics works."

Schools Standards Minister Nick Gibb said, "Our plan for Britain is built on ensuring every child has equal opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the future. Teaching all children to read fluently by the time they leave primary school is fundamental to this ambition.

"This research highlights the potential benefits of learning to decode using phonics. Thanks to the hard work of teachers, our continued focus on raising standards and our increased emphasis on phonics&lrm, there are now 147,000 more six-year-olds on track to becoming fluent readers than in 2012."

Reading aloud with understanding phonics works

The paper describes how people who are taught the meanings of whole words don't have any better reading comprehension skills than those who are primarily taught using phonics. In fact, those using phonics are just as good at comprehension, and are significantly better at reading aloud.

Dr Jo Taylor, also of the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway argues "People frequently argue that phonics disadvantages reading comprehension. Our work puts that claim to rest. Phonics actually enables reading comprehension by relating visual symbols to spoken language. The laboratory method that we've developed in this study offers strong evidence for the effectiveness of phonics, and has also helped us to understand why phonics works, in terms of the brain systems responsible for reading."

The researchers are continuing this work by investigating how reading expertise develops in the brain.


Culturally Responsive vs. Traditional Teaching Methods

Culturally responsive teaching can manifest in a number of ways. Using traditional teaching methods, educators may default to teaching literature by widely accepted classic authors: William Shakespeare, J.D. Salinger, and Charles Dickens, for example, adhering to widely accepted interpretations of the text.

Culturally responsive teaching, on the other hand, acknowledges that there’s nothing wrong with traditional texts, Childers-McKee says, but strives to include literature from other cultures, parts of the world, and by diverse authors. It also focuses on finding a “hook and anchor” to help draw students into the content using their past experiences.

“This way, students can see themselves in some of what they’re reading and not just the white, western world. The learning is more experimental, more hands-on,” she says. “Instead, you’re showing them a worldwide, multicultural community and looking for different interpretations while relating it to what it means for society today.”


‘Learning’

All of us understand things in the light of our past experience. This is also true of ‘learning’ – we get our ideas of what ‘learning’ means from what happened to us in the past. So, for example, we may think of ‘learning’ as something which takes place in a school or college, in a classroom. We may think of it as a person sitting alone at night, trying to memorise a lot of facts so that s/he can pass an examination. However, a bit of reflection will show us that ‘learning’ is much wider than that. After all, children learn a great deal before they even get to school - they learn to speak, to walk. Educational psychologists tell us that any activity which leads to a change in our behaviour is ‘learning’. 1

Here are some more ideas about ‘learning’:

Learning can be formal or informal. We learn informally from what we experience day by day: things which happen to us make us change the way we think and act. We may not even be aware that we are learning, which may cause problems - for example, health workers may learn bad attitudes from the example of others. Of course, learning may also be formal: we attend a course which is planned in a structured way, in a school or college.

We don'tjust learn knowledge and facts - we also learn skills and attitudes. This is especially important for health workers, since it is in our practical work that we have an effect on the health of the people we serve. Interestingly, we learn knowledge, skills and attitudes in different ways - for example, we may learn a new idea from a discussion, but we learn skills by practising them and getting feedback.

People learn in different ways. Researchers have identified different ‘learning styles’. 2 Some people are ‘receivers’: they like to memorise what is given to them. This is a very common style, and it is reinforced by teachers who expect students to memorise, and reward them for it. Other people are �tectives’: they like to investigate what they are learning themselves, to get to understand it. Yet others are ‘generators’: they like to decide themselves what they want to learn, and then look for opportunities to learn those things.

Learning can be superficial or deep. 3 If knowledge is only memorised (superficial learning) it is soon forgotten, and may never affect the way that person does her/his work. If the learner is made to use the new knowledge actively, the learning becomes deep. The learner connects the new knowledge to the concepts that s/he already has, and understands how it can be used practically. It is, therefore, much more likely to be remembered and used.

Motivation is important for learning. 4 What is it that makes people want to learn? Some learn because they want to do a better job - they get satisfaction from the feeling that they are competent. People are also very strongly motivated by the hope that they will be rewarded - for instance, by gaining a qualification, leading to a promotion and better pay. The need to pass exams is therefore a very strong motivator.

Learning continues throughout a person'slifetime - at least informally. We all know that health workers should continue to learn throughout their careers, because new information about health is constantly becoming available. However, many workers do not have access to formal in-service training. This means they themselves have to take the responsibility for staying up-to-date - they have to become ‘life-long learners’.


Theories of reading

This article is in two parts. The first part will look at some of the shifts and trends in theories relating to reading. The second part will examine tips and guidelines for implementing a theory of reading which will help to develop our learners' abilities.

  • The traditional view
  • The cognitive view
  • The metacognitive view
  • Conclusion

Just like teaching methodology, reading theories have had their shifts and transitions. Starting from the traditional view which focused on the printed form of a text and moving to the cognitive view that enhanced the role of background knowledge in addition to what appeared on the printed page, they ultimately culminated in the metacognitive view which is now in vogue. It is based on the control and manipulation that a reader can have on the act of comprehending a text.

The traditional view
According to Dole et al. (1991), in the traditional view of reading, novice readers acquire a set of hierarchically ordered sub-skills that sequentially build toward comprehension ability. Having mastered these skills, readers are viewed as experts who comprehend what they read.

  • Readers are passive recipients of information in the text. Meaning resides in the text and the reader has to reproduce meaning.
  • According to Nunan (1991), reading in this view is basically a matter of decoding a series of written symbols into their aural equivalents in the quest for making sense of the text. He referred to this process as the 'bottom-up' view of reading.
  • McCarthy (1999) has called this view 'outside-in' processing, referring to the idea that meaning exists in the printed page and is interpreted by the reader then taken in.
  • This model of reading has almost always been under attack as being insufficient and defective for the main reason that it relies on the formal features of the language, mainly words and structure.

Although it is possible to accept this rejection for the fact that there is over-reliance on structure in this view, it must be confessed that knowledge of linguistic features is also necessary for comprehension to take place. To counteract over-reliance on form in the traditional view of reading, the cognitive view was introduced.

The cognitive view
The 'top-down' model is in direct opposition to the 'bottom-up' model. According to Nunan (1991) and Dubin and Bycina (1991), the psycholinguistic model of reading and the top-down model are in exact concordance.

  • Goodman (1967 cited in Paran, 1996) presented reading as a psycholinguistic guessing game, a process in which readers sample the text, make hypotheses, confirm or reject them, make new hypotheses, and so forth. Here, the reader rather than the text is at the heart of the reading process.
  • The schema theory of reading also fits within the cognitively based view of reading. Rumelhart (1977) has described schemata as "building blocks of cognition" which are used in the process of interpreting sensory data, in retrieving information from memory, in organising goals and subgoals, in allocating resources, and in guiding the flow of the processing system.
  • Rumelhart (1977) has also stated that if our schemata are incomplete and do not provide an understanding of the incoming data from the text we will have problems processing and understanding the text.

Cognitively based views of reading comprehension emphasize the interactive nature of reading and the constructive nature of comprehension. Dole et al. (1991) have stated that, besides knowledge brought to bear on the reading process, a set of flexible, adaptable strategies are used to make sense of a text and to monitor ongoing understanding.

The metacognitive view
According to Block (1992), there is now no more debate on "whether reading is a bottom-up, language-based process or a top-down, knowledge-based process."It is also no more problematic to accept the influence of background knowledge on both L1 and L2 readers. Research has gone even further to define the control readers execute on their ability to understand a text. This control, Block (1992) has referred to as metacognition.

Metacognition involves thinking about what one is doing while reading. Klein et al. (1991) stated that strategic readers attempt the following while reading:

  • Identifying the purpose of the reading before reading
  • Identifying the form or type of the text before reading
  • Thinking about the general character and features of the form or type of the text. For instance, they try to locate a topic sentence and follow supporting details toward a conclusion
  • Projecting the author's purpose for writing the text (while reading it),
  • Choosing, scanning, or reading in detail
  • Making continuous predictions about what will occur next, based on information obtained earlier, prior knowledge, and conclusions obtained within the previous stages.

Moreover, they attempt to form a summary of what was read. Carrying out the previous steps requires the reader to be able to classify, sequence, establish whole-part relationships, compare and contrast, determine cause-effect, summarise, hypothesise and predict, infer, and conclude.

Conclusion
In the second part of this article I will look at the guidelines which can also be used as general ideas to aid students in reading and comprehending materials. These tips can be viewed in three consecutive stages: before reading, during reading, and after reading. For instance, before starting to read a text it is natural to think of the purpose of reading the text. As an example of the during-reading techniques, re-reading for better comprehension can be mentioned. And filling out forms and charts can be referred to as an after-reading activity. These tasks and ideas can be used to enhance reading comprehension.

This article published: 23rd March, 2006 was first published in Iranian Language Institute Language Teaching Journal Volume 1, No.1 Spring 2005.


Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning – Pooja K Agarwal & Patrice M Bain.

Dr. Pooja K Argawal is the creator and curator of the excellent website retrievalpractice.org and Patrice Bain is a very experienced teacher and writer. They are colleagues and combine their knowledge, experience and interest in cognitive science for this book.

I am very lucky as I have been able to read a special preview copy of this book which is not yet released but it is certainly one to watch!

I won’t give too much away but whilst this book does focus a lot on retrieval practice, as would be expected based on their expertise, there are other chapters that explore different areas linked to the science of learning including spacing, interleaving, dealing with exam anxiety and how to educate students and their parents about the science of learning – which is essential. This was another engaging and informative read. Teachers can read a chapter at a time, in addition to reading and returning to at their convenience. You can pre-order this superb book here.

I must state that even though I have read all of the books above, a lot of this reading and research was carried out as part of the process of writing my own book and a chapter which focused on cognitive psychology. I certainly don’t think all of the books I have suggested need to be read as there will be a lot of repeated content – although it did help with my understanding reading different sources, examples and explanations.

Also, despite undertaking a lot of reading, research and general interest in this area I am not claiming to be a cognitive scientist or expert in this field. I consider myself to be a research-informed teacher. I believe in order to be research-informed in education we must learn about memory and how children learn.

Robin shared an anecdote about our mutual friend Mark Healy, a graduate and teacher of psychology for 25 years. Mark told Robin that even now he struggles to understand some of the nuances of working memory – yet everyone on Twitter is apparently an expert. I think Mark is making a fair point. This field can at times be oversimplified or not explored enough. We still have a lot to learn.

I am fascinated with cognitive psychology and other areas of psychology too. In addition to my personal interest, it has also transformed my teaching practice. As a result, I have changed how I plan and deliver not just a lesson but a sequence of lessons across the curriculum. I feel more confident with my teaching but it is clear the effective study strategies like retrieval practice, spaced practice, dual coding plus others do actually work and support the learning process.

As a profession, we should embrace and welcome cognitive psychology but as Robin warned we should also take caution before we do fully apply it to our classroom practice. We should be critical and reflective, learning from mistakes of the past with neuro-myths such as brain gym and learning styles! If you are a senior or middle leader is cognitive psychology part of your professional development model? If not, I think it should be.

It is wonderful that educational researchers, psychologists, scientists and teachers are finally working together. Cognitive psychology isn’t the silver bullet to fix everything in education as I stated in my book … research is one piece of a complex puzzle when it comes to working with children in schools.


EBT Strategy 6: Provide Your Students With Feedback

Feedback is the breakfast of champions, and it is the breakfast served by extraordinary teachers around the world.

Giving feedback involves telling a student:

Feedback is different to praise. Praise focuses on the student rather, but feedback focuses on what your student did. It provides your students with a tangible understanding of:

In John Hattie’s view, any teachers who seriously want to boost their children’s results should start by giving them dollops and dollops of feedback.

If you want to learn more about giving feedback, subscribe to our email list. You will then receive a free copy of our eBook How to Give Feedback to Students: The Advanced Guide. You should also check out our student feedback infographic.


4. Identify letters in natural settings

Before our boys were born, we painted and hung large wooden letters spelling their name above the cribs as a decorative accent in their rooms. I would have never guessed that those wooden letters would have such a learning incentive for Big Brother! Around age 2.5, he began asking what letters were above his name. That’s honestly how he learned to spell his name…and he can spell his brother’s name too because he has taken an interest in his letters as well. In technical terms, this is called “environmental print” and includes all of the print we are surrounded by–fast food signs, labels, traffic signs, clothing, magazines, etc.

Often times, we want to force our children to learn letter names by a certain age. We buy flashcards or DVDs claiming to teach our children their letters. We drill our 2-year old over and over for minutes on end. Don’t buy into this…allow your kid to be a kid and take advantage of the “teachable moments” as they come along! Children’s minds are like sponges and are certainly capable of memorizing the alphabet from drilling, but that’s not the most effective method that will produce the best long-term results. Your child will be curious about the print he sees around him and will ask questions. That’s your chance to jump in with a practical application that actually has real meaning and significance to your child.

Don’t misunderstand me and think that I don’t think learning the alphabet is important. It is certainly important…but the method in which we teach them is even more important! Always keep in mind that our ultimate goal is to foster a lifelong learner who loves to read, not a child who has simply memorized without any significance.


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Thank you very much for providing such wonderful materials. In fact, it has made me rich in strategies on how to work with these little ones. Please as you find time provide such things for discussion. anon173614 May 8, 2011

As a teacher, having the same experience with the others, I know how difficult to be one to assess students' abilities and skills, but we teachers should be good enough to determine their strengths and weaknesses to suit the teaching techniques or methods to be applied on them for their effective and enjoyable way of learning. Teaching actually is not that difficult as others may think. It is up to the teacher to make teaching easy to facilitate an effective teaching-learning process. -- jen76soriano

Try having students read aloud in class, and you decide when they might need to stop and discuss. Have students read with a partner and fill out a handout together. Let small groups of three or four students work on a mini-project together so there is one product between them. anon161651 yesterday

What is a good way of teaching about social justice in terms of engineering to a student taught lesson? anon161442 March 19, 2011

Is there any most effective teaching method nowadays, that is different from the present teaching methods as inductive, deductive, discovery, lecture, discussion, direct method, etc.? anon132953 December 9, 2010

what are the other teaching techniques to kids to make things easy for them? anon89366 June 9, 2010

to be effective in teaching, use the appropriate method/strategy. it depends on the nature of the students. anon88329 June 4, 2010

as teachers, let us remember that there is no known best teaching method, that all depends on the kind of learner we have and the kind of teacher who is willing to take a mile and not just for the sake of money matters. anon85449 May 20, 2010

can you differentiate among these three methods: summit vs seminar vs convention? how they can be used and how effective are they when utilizing them during teaching. anon83634 May 11, 2010

I'm a student, from cot. city, philippines. i love to read the flow of teaching-methods found in this page, but, i would like to suggest a brief but specific method that addresses the Multiple Intelligence learners. i know by far, these types of students could make a thing unexpectedly and beyond. as a future mentor, teacher or facilitator what would be the method? why? anon68314 March 2, 2010

how about other teaching methods? i think there are lots more. anon64582 February 8, 2010

can you please post different types of teaching methods in one list, so that it will be helpful for trainers as well as upcoming teachers to learn different types of teaching methods for students as well as for trainees. anon59214 January 7, 2010

how about teaching strategies in social studies? anon56988 December 18, 2009

I appreciate very much the approach you have cited. indeed it would be of big help in dealing with different kinds of children. Yes, it is true, that method of teaching used depends on the kinds of children that we handle. anon55982 December 11, 2009

I am a teacher in Iligan City, Philippines. Methods of teaching must be used depending on the kind of students that we have.

We cannot pattern our teaching with the Westernized countries as ours is different. For example, in teaching elementary children, anywhere in the developed countries, children are taught Apple as an example in teaching the sound of A, but in some areas in the Philippines, it is difficult to give apple as an example for children do not even know what an apple is. What is common in the locality can be given as an example.

Well, I do favor much the Apron Approach especially in telling a story, where in incidents in the story are arranged but are printed by sentence. Then place all the cut sentences in the pocket of the apron, then bring out one sentence at a time in telling the story and the children will be very excited on what sentence will come next or what will happen next in the story.

Also the Language Experience Approach. Children are exposed anywhere in the school. In coming back to the classroom, we ask them about their experiences based on their exposure to some places inside the school.

Now if the topic is focused on nouns, then in coming back to the school, we ask them what they saw in their surroundings. You may start from the things that they saw, places, houses, people until such time that the examples given are nouns.

Let us not make teaching these children, especially the slow learners, a difficult one. It helps to be realistic, you know. --R.G. ROSALES, Iligan City, Philippines anon49261 October 19, 2009

Well, i think there's missing information about the different teaching methods. I'm a teacher and i know there are more important fact about this topic. it has a lack of information. mwright54 June 11, 2009

Comments or techniques for reaching all levels of learners in high school English classes such as low level readers, SPED, average, to high achievers, as well as academically gifted.

For example? Tell me what you have in mind, and be specific, please. anon27562 March 2, 2009

OK this was pretty good, but what about teaching kids 2 use other methods to make things a little easier for them?


Apperception theories

Another theory assumed that human learning consisted essentially of building up associations between different ideas and experiences the mind, in accordance with the ideas of the 17th-century English philosopher John Locke, was assumed to be at first devoid of ideas. The 19th-century German philosopher Johann Herbart made an important contribution by providing a mental mechanism that determined which ideas would become conscious and which would be left in the subconscious, to be called upon if circumstances warranted it. Such was the mechanism of apperception, by which new ideas became associated with existing ideas to form a matrix of associated ideas called the apperception mass. New ideas were thus assimilated to the old. A 20th-century Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget, argued that such assimilation was not enough, that accommodation of the established ideas to the new experiences was also required.

In any event, ideas such as Herbart’s were translated into a sequence of steps presumed to be required to carry out a lesson:

1. Preparation, whereby the teacher starts the lesson with something already known to the class

2. Presentation, introducing new material

3. Association, whereby the new is compared with the old and connected (the stage of apperception)

4. Generalization, whereby the teacher presents other instances of the new idea

5. Application, whereby the ideas are applied to further material, carried out by the child individually (a problem-solving phase)

Although these five steps give the teacher a clear role, they constitute a form of intellectual dominance and could lead to stereotyped lessons restricting the spontaneous creative learning by the pupil. Contemporary curricular revisions, on the contrary, aim at promoting pupil activity.


Top 5 Methods of Memorizing | Psychology

This article throws light upon the top five methods of memorizing. The methods are: 1. Repeated Recitation 2. Whole versus Part Learning 3. Spaced and Un-Spaced Learning 4. Cramming and Logical Memory 5. Intention to Remember.

Method # 1. Repeated Recitation:

Repetition or re-reading a lesson fixes it durably. But recitation fixes it more durably. Recitation means reciting to oneself. Let the reader read his lesson twice or thrice, and then recite it to himself, prompting himself when he fails.

This active reciting method of study takes less time in memorizing. Reci­tation is economical of time in memorizing, and fixes the mater more durably. If nonsense syllables are replaced by sensible material, we get better results. Recitation is a greater advantage for permanent memory than for immediate memory.

Method # 2. Whole versus Part Learning:

In memorizing a long lesson should we divide it into parts, and study each part by itself till mastered or read the whole lesson repeatedly? Should we follow the ‘whole method’ or the ‘part method’? The ‘entire method’ has been found to be superior to the ‘sectional method’ up to a limit of about 240 lines of a poem for adults.

Children are discouraged by a long poem they may show better results by following the ‘part method’. Some have found the ‘whole method’ to be superior in all cases. With others two thirds have done better with the ‘whole method’ and one-third better with the ‘part method’. The ‘whole method’ yields good results for permanent memory. The ‘part method’ yields good results from immediate memory.

Which found that children up-to twelve years of age showed better result with the ‘sectional method’ than with the ‘entire method’ except in memorizing those poems in which there is per­fect unity of thought and homogeneity of material. Children above this showed better results with the ‘entire method’. The adolescent is capable of more sustained mental activity, and can, therefore, profitably use the ‘entire method’.

Method # 3. Spaced and Un-Spaced Learning:

Should we repeat a lesson till we have mastered it at one sitting? Or, should we learn it once or twice a day till we have mastered it? Spaced repetitions are more effective than un-spaced learning. The greater is the interval between one repetition and another at one sitting the less is the time required to memorize the matter.

Spaced learning yields better result for permanent memory. Un-spaced learning is good for immediate memory. Continuous cramming may be helpful for immediate memory. But it cannot be useful for permanent memory. Spaced learning fixes the matter more durably.

Method # 4. Cramming and Logical Memory:

Unintelligent memorizing or cramming is not effective. It cannot incorporate the matter into the mental structure, and fix it durably. It cannot establish associa­tions between the matter and other ideas in the mind. On the other hand, intelligent memorizing of a sensible material is which the connected meaning of the whole matter is grasped, is far more effective.

It fixes the matter durably and accomplishes much for permanent knowledge. So we should not try to memorize as intelli­gent passage by mere rote learning. We should first grasp the meaning and fix it in mind. Once we see the point we have learnt it.

Method # 5. Intention to Remember:

Learning a matter effectively requires the intention to remember. Unintentional learning is ineffective. The will to learn is necessary if any learning is to be accomplished. The testimony of eye-witnesses is very unreliable except for facts that were definitely noted by them at the time of the occurrence of an event.

They can remember those things only which they noted and intended to remember. Unintentional learning is in­effective and reliable.

Generally experiments on memory are made with a list of nonsense syllables. But “meaning” plays an important role in remembering. The meaning of a material comprehended facilitates its recall. We can easily learn a verse of four lines by a single reading, though it consists of fifty syllables. But we can learn a list of fifty nonsense syllables by reading it some hundreds of times.

In learning the verse’ we form mental associations among the meanings of words and sentences. In learning nonse syllables we form motor mechanism or speech habit. The former is pure memory while the latter is habit memory. But even in learning a list of nonsense syllables we should have the intention to learn it. So they become parts of a whole, which is related to a purpose.


Phonics works: Sounding out words is best way to teach reading, study suggests

Research published today in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General has shown that learning to read by sounding out words (a teaching method known as phonics) has a dramatic impact on the accuracy of reading aloud and comprehension.

There has been intense debate concerning how children should be taught to read. Researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London and the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit tested whether learning to read by sounding out words is more effective than focusing on whole-word meanings. In order to assess the effectiveness of using phonics the researchers trained adults to read in a new language, printed in unfamiliar symbols, and then measured their learning with reading tests and brain scans.

Professor Kathy Rastle, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway said, "The results were striking people who had focused on the meanings of the new words were much less accurate in reading aloud and comprehension than those who had used phonics, and our MRI scans revealed that their brains had to work harder to decipher what they were reading."

English-speaking countries should replicate UK use of phonics

In England, the provision of systematic phonics instruction is a legal requirement in state-funded primary schools. The impact of phonics is measured through a screening check administered to children in Year 1. The results of this screening check have shown year-on-year gains in the percentage of children reaching an expected standard -- from 58% in 2012 to 81% in 2016.

However there are objections to the use of systematic phonics. Many practitioners argue in favour of a less-prescriptive approach, consisting of a variety of phonic- and meaning-based skills. One frequent objection is that while phonics may assist reading aloud, it may not promote reading comprehension.

"There is a long history of debate over which method, or mix of methods, should be used to teach reading," continued Professor Rastle "Some people continue to advocate using a variety of meaning-based cues, such as pictures and sentence context, to guess the meanings of words. However, our research is clear that reading instruction that focuses on teaching the relationship between spelling and sound is most effective. Phonics works."

Schools Standards Minister Nick Gibb said, "Our plan for Britain is built on ensuring every child has equal opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the future. Teaching all children to read fluently by the time they leave primary school is fundamental to this ambition.

"This research highlights the potential benefits of learning to decode using phonics. Thanks to the hard work of teachers, our continued focus on raising standards and our increased emphasis on phonics&lrm, there are now 147,000 more six-year-olds on track to becoming fluent readers than in 2012."

Reading aloud with understanding phonics works

The paper describes how people who are taught the meanings of whole words don't have any better reading comprehension skills than those who are primarily taught using phonics. In fact, those using phonics are just as good at comprehension, and are significantly better at reading aloud.

Dr Jo Taylor, also of the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway argues "People frequently argue that phonics disadvantages reading comprehension. Our work puts that claim to rest. Phonics actually enables reading comprehension by relating visual symbols to spoken language. The laboratory method that we've developed in this study offers strong evidence for the effectiveness of phonics, and has also helped us to understand why phonics works, in terms of the brain systems responsible for reading."

The researchers are continuing this work by investigating how reading expertise develops in the brain.