rethinking schools by Richard J. Meyer

… Karen’s district shifted its stance on reading curriculum. The local newspaper reported second-grade test scores, and the drop in scores led to an outcry in many forums. The district responded swiftly by adopting and mandating the use of a systematic, direct-intense phonics instruction program. The texts used in reading instruction shifted from predictable books to phonetically regular texts that were referred to by the publisher as “predictable” and “decodable,” but that actually consisted of phonetically regular words organized into sentences that strain young readers’ sense-making. Teachers were told to follow verbatim the scripted lessons of the phonics program. Karen describes the change here.