The Reading Instruction Show

by Dr. Andy Johnson

The Reading Instruction Show is a podcast about reading instruction (and other things) with a little bit of attitude. There is plenty here to inform and entertain all.

Podcast episodes

  • Season 23

  • 12 Essential Elements of a Comprehensive Reading Program

    12 Essential Elements of a Comprehensive Reading Program

    In 1997 Congress asked the National Institute of Children’s Health and Development to work with the U.S. Department of Education to establish a National Reading Panel. Their task was to evaluate existing research in order to find the best ways of teaching children to read. In 2000 the panel issued their 500-page report (National Reading Panel, 2000). This report has been widely cited in books and journal articles related to reading instruction. The NRP describes five-pillars are reading instruction. The SoR zealots and state reading laws describe these as five foundation reading skills. They are: phonemic awareness, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency. It's not that I disagree with the five "pillars" of reading instruction as described by the NRP report and repeated ad nauseam by SoR zealots. My concern is that they're seven pillars short of a full load. In this podcast, I describe the 12 essential elements of a comprehensive reading program – or comprehensive literacy instruction.

  • I Was Wrong: Holy Books, Sacred Texts, Theories, Paradigms, and Reading Instruction

    I Was Wrong: Holy Books, Sacred Texts, Theories, Paradigms, and Reading Instruction

    Questions: How is it that one interprets the same thing differently across time? How is it that one can read a book, have an experience, or observe phenomena and draw completely different conclusions when the only thing different is the time in which it was read, experienced, or observed? Is time a variable in comprehension or understanding? Is it a variable in constructing meaning? A book that seemed so insightful at one point, with the passage of time, can become meaningless. Likewise, books that I once thought meaningless can sometimes become filled with insight, interesting, and important ideas with the passage of time. Same book. Same person. Same brain.

  • Season 22

  • I'm Woke!!!

    I'm Woke!!!

    There are conditions that tip the scale in favor of some groups and restrict or disadvantage others. There are communities, that seem to get the economic opportunities, good schools, good teachers, health care, good nutrition, housing opportunities, small class sizes, community libraries, well-stocked school and classroom libraries … Go to a 3rd-grade classroom in a poor, inner-city school, or poor rural district. Now go to a 3rd grade classroom in a weather suburb. It's like going to a different planet. Not everybody has the same opportunities. A person is privileged because of their environment and station in life. Communities that are predominantly white seem to have disproportionately more of these privileges and more opportunities. Communities that are predominantly black seem to have more restrictions and fewer opportunities.

  • The Read Act and the Lessons Beyond the Lesson

    The Read Act and the Lessons Beyond the Lesson

    Recently, the Minnesota State Legislature passed the Read Act, sponsored by Democratic representative Heather Edelson. It’s a law based on the fad of the day; the shiny new thing called the “science of reading”. Ironically, this law is based on misconceptions and un-understandings related to both science and reading. This law states that I and other literacy professors in Minnesota must follow, with fidelity, the mandates put forth by state lawmakers. These are lawmakers who have never taught a kid to read, who have never read a research article related to reading instruction, and whose knowledge about reading instruction is reliant on the information given to them by radio journalists and podcasters (present company excepted). As part of the Read Act, the Minnesota Department of Education is now forcing me, a literacy professor at Minnesota State University, to teach things to my students that a wide range of research has shown to be ineffective in helping young children to become literate (that is, to use reading and writing for real purposes). I am forced to teach the preservice teachers in my literacy methods courses at Minnesota State University to engage in educational malpractice in their future classrooms. The Minnesota Department of Education mandates that these future teachers learn strategies that will impede their future students’ ability to achieve their full literacy potential. I must promote the de-literalization of children by telling teachers to focus primarily on lower-level reading subskills instead of higher-level cognitive functions related to reading and comprehension. Worse, I must teach them how to suck all the joy out of reading.

  • Zealotry in the Guise of Reading Science

    Zealotry in the Guise of Reading Science

    I could live with a science of reading if the SoR zealots applied the scientific principles they claim to worship and adore to all of reading reality.  That is, if the scientific principles that they insist be used to determine what is effective reading instruction were also used to establish cause and effect, I could live with the zealotry.   But, they abandon their cherished scientific ideals when identifying problems and evaluating solutions to problems.  Look at the reading laws passed by 32 state legislatures.  Look at the testimony by “experts”.  You will see the word “science” used a lot, but science if much different from ‘I-think-isms’, anecdotal evidence, and personal experiences.