This is a hard read. I was an elementary school principal and special education director in a past life. We spent so much time looking for what works and trying every approach we could. If only I'd known this then. Yes phonics was key, but I was undermining that the whole time by teaching the cueing method. So much guilt, I can understand why educators push back.
But at some point you have to look at results and ask yourself hard uncomfortable questions. Why? How? Normally we just don't know. And when we admit that, we can then accept the well researched answers of others. This is part of why I left education, I didn't have the answers and wanted to make room for people I hoped did.
What struck me while reading this was that a lot of the theory behind the cueing system initially seemed to make a lot of sense. I feel like I had the same reaction as Marilyn Adams when the teachers drew the venn diagram for her.
The fact that such a significant percentage of children will learn to read no matter what method is used must make the evaluation process much more difficult as well. I certainly don't envy those who have to make these decisions.
One difference of note is between learning to read, and learning to make meaning of reading. In that area the system can help a lot. Once you decode the word, now look for context, look at pictures, etc. But teaching those strategies before teaching to decode is the issue. This is related to Growth Mindset, our kids care more about getting the 'right answer' then knowing and being.
An excellent article.
I learned reading in the '60s using phonics, as did my sister. It was obviously very effective and we both learned to read rapidly. For years afterward, I'd thought that phonics had become the standard on teaching kids to read. Sometime in the '80s or so I learned that it had not. I had not heard of the three cueing method by name until this article.
We adopted all our kids at the ages of 12 or older, some could read well, others couldn't. I'm going to ask them how they learned to read as I get the chance.
How did various Readup members learn to read?
Phonics all the way! I feel quite fortunate to have gone to a very small, traditional Christian school for my early education. It was the early 90's but we were still sounding out words and spending a lot of time practicing our cursive script.
I remember the "Hooked on Phonics" commercials from that era. It sounds like they were filling a huge gap for children that weren't being taught it at school.
Wow, this was eye-opening. I guess I always took it for granted that phonics was just the only way to learn how to read. After reading this article I'm feeling very lucky about that. These educators that are pushing back against the cueing system are doing amazing work.
I definitely fall into the phonics camp. I learned to sound out words and we own those Dick and Jane books. My Dad had me read those to him often. However watching a loved one struggle with reading because of dyslexia I can completely agree that phonics is not for everyone. It’s a balance. I had never heard of the term “cueing” as a program for reading until this article.