Skillful reading Teachers are the answer to students' academic failure
Most reading and spelling problems in schools, the primary cause of the students' academic failure can be prevented through appropriate instruction because their whole language approach to teaching is not effective.
Reading scientists estimate that 95% of students can be taught to read and underprivileged children need not fail. Students regardless of the color of their skin and family backgrounds can be successful in schools with strong leaders who know about effective teaching instruction and well-prepared and supported teachers.
Teaching reading, as well as spelling, is complex and challenging and it requires considerable expertise. Reading teachers must know the knowledge of the language that can only be obtained through focused study. With teachers' proficiency in the structure of spoken and written language and how words are represented in our alphabetic system, students with dyslexia co-morbid with other disabilities and disorders can also learn to read and spell even words they have not seen and can also have a better future as other students do.
Although kindergarten, grade one, grade two, and grade three teachers have certification to teach from the government standard, most if not all of them are not well-equipped to teach the English language particularly to students with moderate or severe learning disabilities because they have little or no background in reading psychology and language structure.
While some reading teachers claim that they teach phonics, they are teaching them inaccurately, unsystematically, and with insufficient reinforcement and practice for the skills in reading and spelling. For example, the sounds of the English language are the foundation for learning to read, and they are teaching the sounds incorrectly, such as they are adding the short vowel a sound to the sounds of the following letters: c, k, d, f, g, j, l, m, n, r, s, t, and v. In addition, they do not know how to correct the students' mistake such as distinguishing the short sound si for e, o for a, and vice versa. They are quick to move the lessons with no further instruction or explanation why we are reading and spelling those words such as when the letter c becomes k sound such as cat, and /s/ sound such as the city.
They teach reading and spelling unstructured. As you have noticed, your child arrived at home with a sheet of spelling list to learn but with no instruction except to " practice these words" for the spelling test on Friday. This spelling list is mixed up with simple and long words combined with short vowels, long vowels, and vowel team words such as about, got, day, prey, great, cake, book, something, everyone. Although your child might score eight out of ten on his spelling test, but after a week or just a couple of days, your child has forgotten how to spell those words and if he needs to learn these words again, he will start to practice writing down these words all over again. With close to a million words and counting, your child could only learn a few hundred word at the end of his primary grade.
Where did they get their instruction to teach reading and spelling?
Most of the reading teachers do not understand the language system and they got their lessons from everywhere such as the misleading Internet resources and textbooks, but I believe they do care and they want to be better teachers as well.
Effective instruction in learning to read and spell is the missing foundation in teachers' education and the reading teachers have not learned it either from their school's education programs or professional training development. School systems also spend very little of their budget on effective teachers' literacy training. Some schools once contacted us for their teachers' training but they only want to pay the same amount as the other training providers they have hired.
Furthermore, our education system fosters an environment of independence and isolation with no accountability. Reading teachers teach independently in their classroom and they are not held accountable for their own actions. They can teach reading and spelling the way they want and how they want to students regardless of the outcome: failure or success. They make decisions about literacy instruction from either misleading online resources or printed materials and they are relying on their own instincts about how their students learn.
to be continued...