Archive for January 9th, 2004

9th January
2004

First Published in The New York Sun, January 9, 2004

By Andrew Wolf

Today is the deadline for submission of proposals for federal funding of reading programs, an initiative that will bring $34 million a year to New York City school children.This is not a lot of money in the context of the expenditures made annually on Gotham’s school system. However, for nearly a year it has been at the center of a debate on which hinges the future of reading instruction not just here but across the nation.

When the Education Department announced the choice of a reading program last year as part of the plans for a citywide “uniform” curriculum, the choice they made, an obscure workbook series called Month-by-Month Phonics, raised immediate concerns. Month-by-Month is basically an add-on that is part of a larger “whole language” reading strategy. This methodology has come under increasing fire as a growing number of studies conclusively demonstrate that for many of the most at-risk students, whole language doesn’t work.  (more…)