Friday, January 21, 2005


I listen to the Health Report on ABC Radio National when I can and on
Monday there was a repeat of a great programme from Novemebr last year.

The full transcript
Norman Swan was interviewing Dr Reid Lyon from US National Institute of
Child Health and Human Development
on his research into how children learn to read and how this research is being implemented.

Essentially Lyon was saying that:
1, we do not have an inbuilt ability to read it is a learnt skill.

2, children from poor backgrounds are shown in his studies to be at a
disadvantage even before they start to learn to read because they have
had fewer verbal and reading intereactions with their parents and carers
than wealthier children and thus have vastly reduced vocabularies at
4yrs which impares their reading ability at least until it is remedied
through application of effective strategies to expand their interaction
with words, spoken, written and reading itself.

3, What does it take to learn to read?

phonemic awareness - that is the understanding that in an alphabetical
language like English you have 26 letters that correspond to some 44
sounds and the ability to pull those sounds out of the stream of speech

phonics - recognising that each of the letters on the page represent one
or more sounds and being able to pronounce them

fluency - being able to combine the phonemic awareness and phonics with
meaning quickly enough to give fluent reading

vocabulary - the larger the verbal vocabulary is the easier it is to
read the written vocabulary fluently

background/world knowledge - to understand what the vocabulary actually
means within any context

comprehension strategies - linking what you are reading to the context
outside of the document to your own experience or knowledge base

None of the above are sufficient by themselves for reading to occur and
these 6 areas need to be approached sequentially to provide the
predictability needed for retention of the skills.

4. Lyon then goes on to describe how various remedial reading programmes
fail or succeed in correcting deficiencies in children's literacy.

The research they have done has been the first to apply randomised
control trials to various teaching strategies and then assess their
usefulness in various situations.

... I'll finish editing this entry when I have time - hopefully soon -
I'm off to do more work on the Home Ed Conference...


Archaeomom8 said...

Hi there, K.

I've found your blog - thanks for providing the URL.

I'm on blogger, too, as archaeomom8, but I don't use this blog as much as the one on livejournal.

I've got a family/unschooling website here:

Sounds like we're on the same page with much of this stuff.

Also I had five of my eight kids at home. I'm definitely a die-hard homebirther. Although now for me it's likely to be grandbabies rather than my own. Bittersweet, but it's the right time for me to move into the next phases.


K said...

Hello Katherine,

Yes, I too thought we are on the same wavelength:-)

I've had a look at your Desert Trails website and also your Live Journal.

I'm expecting baby no. 3 in a few weeks - 3rd home birth with the same midwife. Featuring a nice big water tub...

I'll invite you to join my list of friends on Flickr where the family photos get uploaded. I plan to upload a stack next week once the HBLN Home Ed Conference is over - I'm co-ordinator this year - silly me.

Must go, Dr Who is about to start on ABCTV...

Love K

K said...


Doh! Of course, I'll need an email address to invite you to be a flickr friend unless you have a flickr account?

Love K