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Archive for Saturday, February 10, 2001

Phonics support

February 10, 2001

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To the editor:

This responds to Krista Morrison's letter regarding the Animated Literacy program and her judgment of Linda Weinmaster's challenge to include more explicit phonics into the early reading curriculum:

Ms. Morrison's strong endorsement for Animated Literacy at face value sounds very compelling. Unfortunately it was not backed up by the recently released USD 497 reading test score data. If Animated Literacy were as "fabulous" as she contends, more than a small handful of Lawrence schools would have excelled at reading. In fact, the scores were abysmal across most of the district.

Why is it so implausible to consider that the current reading program may not be benefiting a significant proportion of the students and inhibiting success? the test data would indicate that may be so.

Why wouldn't a reading teacher (Ms. Morrison from Broken Arrow) be more accountable for the poor results rendered at that school?

Instead of inviting Ms. Weinmaster to your classroom, you may be better off calling her, and asking her about her previous success in volunteering at the Omaha/Miller school district. Based on Ms. Weinmaster's voluntary leadership in Omaha, the Omaha/Miller school district adopted an explicit phonics program. The reading scores for that district improved and are public record.

You may also find it educational to speak to the dozens of area families whose children, like my child, have been tutored by Linda. Those student's grade cards are probably also available to you as a teacher in the district.

Most importantly, your students could actually benefit from an idea that is not magic ... explicit phonics is how our entire generation learned to read.

The USD 497 reading scorecard was shocking to me as a parent and simply not acceptable.

The district should be seeking solutions, and at a minimum be open to new ideas, particularly if they have been successful elsewhere in the country.

Jeanne Sherman,

Lawrence.

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