McWhorter Makes Case for Direct Instruction

January 16, 2009 1 min read

Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow John McWhorter offers a scathing critique in this New Republic article of New York City’s approach to bridging the reading gap between black and white children.

The solution, he argues, is simple: Adopt the direct instruction approach, a scripted program that has perhaps the strongest track records for teaching children to read. He points to the Project Follow Through findings, as well as test results in Richmond, Va., and other places.

I just keep wondering why, given the evidence of its effectiveness, it is not more popular. Even among educators who subscribe to scientifically based reading research, and are committed to sound, sequenced, and structured curricula, Direct Instruction is often not the first choice of text. There is a very enthusiastic, but relatively small following, however, who seem to have a hard time converting other colleagues.

What do you think?

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.