posted by Anonymous .
why has the teaching of reading become so controversial even at times political
People latch on to pet theories and stick with them through thick and thin. Advocates of phonics versus whole language battle it out. Unfortunately many educators often ignore research that supports an opposing view.
My granddaughter and grandsons have been taught how to read by a variety of people and therefore a variety of ideas. Primarily, though, they began with the Dolch Sight Word list -- http://gemini.es.brevard.k12.fl.us/sheppard/reading/dolch.html (one district's way of using them) -- and then went on to phonics. They are all good readers, and I believe it's because of the combination, not only of methods, but also teachers.
And unfortunately, Ms. Sue is right -- too many teachers don't keep up with research -- don't even read it, in fact. Very sad.
And then there's the small research study done several years ago by Indiana University. All of the 7th graders in a rural school were given a reading test. A few weeks later they were given another reading test with this difference. Half the group was told that there were prizes for those students who had improved their scores the most. The other half were not told anything. Guess which group did better on the second test??