Lucy Caulkin’s Reading Curriculum Ineffective

  https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/22/us/reading-teaching-curriculum-phonics.html Lucy Caulkins developed reading and writing curriculum thro...

 https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/22/us/reading-teaching-curriculum-phonics.html

Lucy Caulkins developed reading and writing curriculum through the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project that for decades was sold to schools along with training seminars. Millions of dollars have been spent on this curriculum.

Her new curriculum, “‘Units of Study,” is built on a vision of children as natural readers, and it has been wildly popular and profitable. She estimates that a quarter of the country’s 67,000 elementary schools use it. At Columbia University’s Teachers College, she and her team have trained hundreds of thousands of educators.”

Unfortunately, millions of children have been left illiterate or functionally illiterate over the years. “Even before the pandemic widened educational inequality, only one-third of American fourth and eighth graders were reading on grade level. Black, Hispanic and low-income children have struggled most.”

Where Direct Instruction curriculum has plenty of research showing its effectiveness, “there is little controlled research of her methods, and two recent studies come to conflicting conclusions: One, funded by Teachers College and Professor Calkins’s publisher but conducted independently, found students in her network outperform others on reading tests. Another saw no statistically significant improvements.”

It took decades for Caulkins to realize her curriculum is ineffective with children with disabilities. “She said studying learning disabilities like dyslexia also led her to accept that all children would benefit from more structured phonics.”

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