NEPC Review: Whole Language High Jinks: How to Tell When 'Scientifically-Based Reading Instruction' Isn't (Thomas B. Fordham Institute, January 2007)
In Whole Language High Jinks: How to Tell When 'Scientifically-Based Reading Instruction' Isn't, Louisa Moats contends that she provides "the necessary tools to distinguish those [programs] that truly are scientifically based... from those that merely pay lip service to science" (p. 10). This review finds that Moats exaggerates the findings of the National Reading Panel (NRP), especially the effects of systematic phonics on reading achievement. She also ignores research completed since the NRP report was issued seven years ago. Perhaps most disturbingly, she touts primarily commercial curriculum products distributed by her employer – products that have far fewer published studies of effectiveness than the products and methods she disparages.
These flaws pervade the report's subsequent discussion of what "scientifically based reading instruction" should look like. In the end, the Fordham report works more effectively as promotional material for products and services offered by Moats's employer, SoprisWest, than as a reliable guide to effective reading instruction.
Allington, R. (2007). Review of "Whole Language High Jinks: How to Tell When 'Scientifically-Based Reading Instruction' Isn't." Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. Retrieved [date] from http://epicpolicy.org/thinktank/review-whole-language-high-jinks-how-tell-when-scientifically-based-reading-instruction-is