Tuesday, September 20, 2011
From Straight Talk About Reading, by Susan L. Hall and Louisa C. Moats, Ed. D.:
The unanswered, obvious question for most parents is "Where is the quality control?" A mother of a child who was having trouble learning to read contacted me for information beginning in January of her daughter's first-grade school year. She was concerned that her child was having so much trouble learning to read and was falling behind. She decided that the first step was to have her daughter tested to determine if she had any learning disability ... By March she had completed an educational diagnostic evaluation which determined that her child did not have a learning disability. The psychologist who tested her daughter recommended a private tutor who uses a systematic phonics approach to teach reading.
Within three months of tutoring, her daughter was completely caught up in reading. We met in late June after the school year was over. This mother proudly showed me the reading, writing, and phonics material her daughter had completed in tutoring over the spring and early summer. After looking at papers that demonstrated a sequential and systematic approach to phonics instruction, I brought out my file with all my daughter's language arts papers from her first-grade class -- a different first-grade class in the same school -- and we spread them out on the dining room table. This mother was outraged that she was paying private tutoring fees for her daughter to get essentially the same instruction that my daughter received during first grade, while her daughter sat in another classroom not getting what she needed. I shared this mother's anger because my older child had had her daughter's first-grade teacher two years earlier, and we had to hire a private tutor for him as well.