A Division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Heinemann

Resisting Reading Mandates

How to Triumph with the Truth

Elaine Garan, Ph. D.
Foreword by Richard L Allington

ISBN 978-0-325-00446-4 / 0-325-00446-3 / 2002 / 144pp / Paperback
Imprint: Heinemann
Availability: In Stock
Grade Level: K - 5th
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    Just as students need pencils and books, literacy educators will come to depend on Resisting Reading Mandates: How to Triumph with the Truth. In this accessible and well-documented book, Elaine Garan provides teachers with the answers they so desperately need as they struggle to set the record straight about the work of the National Reading Panel.
    Shelley Harwayne
    Superintendent of New York School District #2

Teachers today are in a stranglehold as a glut of mandates and standards restrict our ability to make decisions in our own classrooms. In many schools, scripted, regimented commercial programs further erode our power to view our students as individuals with unique talents and needs. Even the words we use to "teach" are no longer our own as we read our way through the tightly scripted manuals. How demeaning it is to be told that the curriculum is now "teacher proofed."

In addition to district and state mandates, the federal government has joined in the attack as monies are distributed or withheld based on schools' compliance with the smoky, "scientific" research that is robbing us of our power to think and act. In this book, Elaine Garan dejargonizes the research and takes us behind the curtain, using her own research and analysis of the issues and applying them to us as real teachers in real classrooms in an easy-to-read format we can use. Garan takes on the National Reading Panel Report, specifically the research summarized in the phonics subgroup report, and robs it of its power by meticulously documenting its basic flaws. In the process, she enables us to respond to the "research says" claims with solid arguments of our own, using the NRP's very own words. Furthermore, her book reveals the true findings of the NRP's report on commercial programs and isolated phonics instruction and the strong financial links that are connected to its "science." As Dick Allington says in the foreword to this book, improving teaching and learning in the real world of schools and classrooms is difficult enough without government-sponsored misallocation of effort and funding.

Garan's purpose, however, is not to produce a research book, but a handbook for empowerment. She gives us all—teachers and administrators alike—the tools we need to stand up and talk back. What Garan proposes is to triumph over outside forces with the truth.

Contents:
The Bush Education Plan / Background and Purpose of the NRP / How to Use This Book / NRP's Definition of Phonics / Types of Phonics / Panel Did Not Identify One Best Method for Phonics or Reading / Panel's Definition of Reading: Discrete Subskills / NRP's Caution Against Overly Stressing Phonics and the Need for Balance / NRP Support for Investing in Classroom Libraries (Assistant Secretary of Education, Susan Neuman's Research) / Need for Print Immersion to Facilitate Skills Acquisition / NRP Research Supporting SSR / Scientific Research Supporting Literature and Contextualized Instruction (Neuman's Research) / Research Supporting Parental Support / Commercial Phonics Programs and the Panel's Warnings Against Their Use / NRP Criteria for Evaluating Commercial Programs / Results for Isolated Phonics Instruction / Did the Panel Lie? The Research Manipulations / Separated Results for Kindergarten and Preschool Children / Panel's Explanation for Why Isolated Phonics Doesn't Apply to Authentic Text / NRP Supports Use of Invented or Developmental Spelling / Why the NRP Findings Apply Only to Problem Readers / NRP Cautions Against Using Phonics When Dialects Differ / Why NRP Findings Cannot Be Applied to ESL Students / Does the NRP Say Phonics Is Appropriate for All Children? / Definition of Phonemic Awareness / Errors and Misrepresentations of the NRP/Panel Members Admissions to Incorrect Conclusions / What Some Panel Members Had at Stake in the NRP Results / On Objectivity-My Own Interpretation Versus Verifiable Data / Will This Book Do Any Good? Are They Too Strong to Fight? / A Postscript on Politics and Pendulums / A Letter from a Teacher
Appendixes:
A.
Studies in the Phonics Database, Their Characteristics, and Effect Sizes (Appendix G of the NRP)
B. Studies Included in the NRP Meta-Analysis

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Just as students need pencils and books, literacy educators will come to depend on Resisting Reading Mandates: How to Triumph with the Truth. In this accessible and well-documented book, Elaine Garan provides teachers with the answers they so desperately need as they...