LINGUIST List 15.1547

Fri May 14 2004

Books: Applied Linguistics: McGuinness

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  1. dgw, Early Reading Instruction: McGuinness

Message 1: Early Reading Instruction: McGuinness

Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 09:55:32 -0400 (EDT)
From: dgw <>
Subject: Early Reading Instruction: McGuinness


Title: Early Reading Instruction
Subtitle: What Science Really Tells Us about How to Teach Reading
Series Title: Bradford Book 

Publication Year: 2004
Publisher:	MIT Press 

Book URL:

Author: Diane McGuinness 

Hardback: ISBN: 0262134381, Pages: 390, Price: U.S. $35 


Early Reading Instruction is a comprehensive analysis of the research
evidence from early writing systems to computer models of reading. In
this book, Diane McGuinness provides an innovative solution to the
"reading war"--the century-old debate over the efficacy of phonics
(sound-based) versus whole-word (meaning-based) methods. She has
developed a prototype--a set of elements that are critical to the
success of a reading method.

McGuinness shows that all writing systems, without exception, are
based on a sound unit in the language. This fact, and other findings
by paleographers, provides a platform for the prototype. Other
elements of the prototype are based on modern research. For example,
observational studies in the classroom show that time spent on three
activities strongly predicts reading success: learning phoneme/symbol
correspondences, practice at blending and segmenting phonemes in
words, copying/writing words, phrases, sentences. Most so-called
literacy activities have no effect, and some, like sight word
memorization, have a strongly negative effect. The National Reading
Panel (2000) summarized the research on reading methods after
screening out thousands of studies that failed to meet minimum
scientific standards. In an in-depth analysis of this evidence,
McGuinness shows that the most successful methods (children reading a
year or more above age norms) include all the elements in the
prototype. Finally, she argues, because phonics-type methods are
consistently shown to be superior to whole-word methods in studies
dating back to the 1960s, it makes no sense to continue this line of
research. The most urgent question for future research is how to get
the most effective phonics programs into the classroom.

Diane McGuinness is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University
of South Florida. She is the author of, among other books, When
Children Don't Learn, Why Our Children Can't Read, and Growing a
Reader from Birth.

Lingfield(s):	Applied Linguistics,
		Cognitive Science
Written In:	English (Language Code: ENG) 

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