Over the course of about two years, 35 practitioners and researchers, led by the amazing Jeannine Herron at Talking Fingers, have been working together to find solutions to the “reading wars”. A smaller number worked tirelessly to craft a paper that has now been posted to Reading Rockets — Print-to-Speech and Speech-to-Print; Mapping Early.
With this paper, we have chosen to address strongly held differences in instructional approaches at their earliest roots—Pre-K to grade 1 or 2. In the basic “reading war” controversy, one side yearns for meaningfulness—an end to time-consuming isolated “precursor” exercises divorced from the real fun of reading and writing. The other side yearns for meaningful ways to present essential direct instruction that provide children with the alphabetic coding that research has shown they need to develop into joyful readers and writers. Our Mapping paper, finding consensus with 35 others after much discussion and editing, suggests “good practices” for early literacy that we hope will address that yearning for meaningfulness on both sides.