According to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, two out of three children did not meet the standards for reading proficiency. This decline has prompted a renewed debate over the best way to teach reading. In theNew York Times article, “An Old and Contested Solution to Boost Reading Scores: Phonics”, the author, Dana Goldstein, describes two different theories on the most effective reading instruction (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/15/us/reading-phonics.html?referringSource=articleShare). The predominant theory that has been used in schools over the past few years has been the “balanced literacy” theory which prioritizes instilling a love of reading in children by exposing them to a variety of interesting and high-value literature rather than spending a lot of time on phonics instruction (sounding out words). This is in contrast to the new “science of reading” theory which focuses on a more phonics-centric curriculum. Proponents of this theory do not believe teaching phonics exclusively is the answer, but advocate that it should be a greater part of the reading curriculum.
At Neighborhood Lit, we have always used research-based practices and incorporated them into our games and activities so that our students have the skills and motivation to become lifelong readers. This article aligns with the theories we have followed since our inception. We offer many opportunities for phonics practice through a multitude of different games and activities. However, we also spend time teaching word identification using sight words and focus on developing reading and word comprehension, whether it is through a reading response activity or using a word in a sentence to demonstrate understanding. Our Reading Workshops also include read-alouds and reading opportunities to promote interest and engage our student readers. Over the years, we have noticed that our students have greater reading success at our school when they participate in similar activities at home which is why we email weekly activities for them to do with their families. As you can see, our curriculum at Neighborhood Lit reflects our belief that effective reading instruction should be based on the most up to date research available and should yield results that show our students are improving their reading skills while also developing their love for reading.
Any questions? Please email us at Janice@Neighborhoodlit.com. Taylor Burke is a teacher and Director of Communications at Neighborhood Lit. and works closely with Janice Migliazza, a Reading Specialist and owner of Neighborhood Lit, Route 34, Colts Neck to bring you this information.