To the Editor:
I listened in on a Sept. 19, 2012, Education Week-hosted webinar sponsored and presented by Cambium Learning/Voyager Vice President Stevan Kukic (“Using RTI & Data-Driven Strategies in the Common-Core Era,” Sept. 19, 2012). I am very appreciative of Mr. Kukic’s acknowledgment that targeted interventions are vital for the success of our schools. He is correct on this point. I am concerned, however, that Cambium Learning has applied scientific findings associated with early reading instruction to reading intervention for middle and high school students.
Has Mr. Kukic read the National Reading Panel report? It acknowledged that more phonics and decoding instruction was not found effective beyond grade 4, yet Mr. Kukic suggested that middle school students struggle with reading because they cannot process multisyllabic words. He also dismissed “constructivist” approaches to reading improvement without demonstrating an understanding of what constructivist approaches are all about. (He inferred that explicit phonics instruction is not involved or recommended—this is not correct.)
It is time for public discussion on what constructivist learning is and is not. The depth and breadth of misunderstanding of constructivist learning, as demonstrated by Mr. Kukic, is impeding progress in American education.
Want to know why schools are struggling? Because reading theory is flawed—and reading researchers are dismissing their own data.
Message Development Specialist
Read Right Systems
A version of this article appeared in the October 03, 2012 edition of Education Week as Constructivist Learning Needs Further Study