Yet Another Study to Ignore

by Robert Pondiscio
August 5th, 2010

Another blow for metacognitive reading strategies. 

A study by a team from the University of York in the U.K. sought to learn which of three interventions led to lasting improvement among 8- and 9-year olds with reading comprehension difficulties.   One intervention relied heavily on reading strategies; a second emphasized vocabulary and relied exclusively on spoken language; the third blended the two approaches.  Science Daily reports the children were assessed before the program began, and nearly a year after it ended.

“The results showed that while all three of the training programs helped to improve reading comprehension, the largest long-term gains occurred for children who were in the oral language training group.  According to the authors, ‘The [oral language] and [combined] groups also showed improvements in knowledge of the meanings of words that they had been taught and these improvements, in turn, helped to account for these children’s improved reading comprehension skills.”

Among those least surprised by the findings:  the developers of the Core Knowledge Language Arts program, which has been piloted in New York City and elsewhere with promising results.  The program relies heavily on building vocabulary and content knowledge via a “listening and learning” component.  Interestingly, children in the oral language group showed greater lasting gains than the blended group, which suggests “the total amount of time devoted to oral-language training may be crucial for overcoming reading-comprehension difficulties.”

“Deficits in oral vocabulary may be one important underlying cause of children’s reading-comprehension problems,” the study concludes.

Just so.  In fact, there’s so much evidence for this, I predict this is exactly the kind of thing DOE will throw millions at when the i3 grants are announced…Er…what?  Last night?   Who??  You’re kidding.  Seriously?!?

I keep forgetting that DOE already knows what works for kids.  It has nothing to do with curriculum. Right. 

OK, folks, show’s over.  Nothing more to see here.  Everybody go on back to your homes.