2019: New Salvos in the Battle for Reading Instruction

Recent podcast episodes by APM Reports have ignited a contentious debate over reading instruction methodologies in American schools. Lucy Calkins, a prominent figure in this realm, has clashed with advocates of phonics-based approaches, prompting a broader discussion led by senior education correspondent Emily Hanford. While some educators and officials are embracing changes to reading instruction, others, including Calkins, are pushing back against what they perceive as a shift towards phonics-centric methods. Cognitive scientist Mark Seidenberg has criticized Calkins’ stance on “three cueing,” an approach to teaching reading that has been discredited. Additionally, the International Literacy Association has released a brief challenging the emphasis on dyslexia and direct phonics instruction, sparking further controversy. Meanwhile, the National Council of Teachers of English has released a position statement advocating for a “whole language” approach to teaching reading, omitting explicit phonics instruction. The Reading Recovery Council of North America has defended its methodology in response to questions raised by APM Reports. Finally, Richard Allington’s controversial remarks questioning the existence of dyslexia have added to the ongoing discourse surrounding reading instruction methods.

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