What are the implications of teaching phonics via a systematic direct intense program that mandates all children to experience the same scripted lesson at the same time?
This book addresses the question through an in-depth play-by-play description of a phonics lesson as it occurred in a real classroom, followed by chapters that look at it from different angles by "zooming in" on one facet to analyze it closely:
*Reading. What is reading? What definition of reading is presented (implicitly) in the phonics lesson? What do competing definitions from the reading research literature say about how important phonics rules are and how they are used by readers and teachers of reading?
*Teacher knowledge. What is the role and the place of teacher knowledge as it relates to the lesson? What are the skills a teacher has and needs to use in a lesson that is completely scripted ?
*The children. What are their roles and positions during the lesson? What are they learning?
*Curriculum. Where does the phonics curriculum come from? Curriculum in general? Who does it serve and how? What is its purpose?
* Culture. What is the role of culture in the lesson? How do cultural differences and culturally relevant pedagogy relate to the scripted phonics lesson?
*Politics and ideology. Why and how is everything that happens in schools political? How are scripted lessons and resistance to them, forms of political action?
*Teacher professionalism. How can teachers act in order to maintain academic freedom expressed as professional decision making in classrooms?
The author of this book is not neutral. He presents the difficulties a teacher encounters in implementing mandated systematic, direct, intense phonics instruction and children who are confused and frustrated by it. But at the same time he constantly presents hope in the form of smart teachers, curious children, and possibilities for taking action that can lead to change. His direct, accessible writing style stimulates thought and discussion.
"The text is easy to understand and asks questions of the reader, drawing them into the book. An appendix includes phonics rules. Written for reading teachers, this singularly focused book is recommended for academic libraries supporting reading programs, elementary teacher education students, practitioners, and activists.
"Phonics Exposed is simultaneously (1) a gorgeously thick ethnographic description of one mandated scripted phonics lesson; (2) a lucid, graceful spelling-out of how the minute-to-minute unfolding of one lesson, as actually lived by a teacher and students, illustrates a range of theoretical arguments about reading, identities, race, culture, curriculum, and politics; and (3) a useful handbook for education activists. Rick Meyer has written an amazing look-you-in-the eye kind of book--deceptively simple because it is so rhetorically friendly; full of humor and hope despite the current politico-educational crisis it addresses. I was hooked (on Phonics Exposed, not on ph--) right from the start."
Arizona State University
"Richard Meyer's Phonics Exposed….makes it abundantly clear that reading is political. He demonstrates how the impositions of mandates and laws about the teaching of reading deprofessionalizes the art and science of teaching reading and at the same time disenfranchises children from becoming critical and lifelong readers….Phonics Exposed is not only an exposé of the phonics debacle but just as importantly a call to action…."
—Yetta M. Goodman
University of Arizona, From the Foreword
"Mandated programs are everywhere….This book has the potential of forcing administrators and politicians to think about what they are doing when they mandate programs….It will be an eye opener to many people and has the potential of having a major impact."
Indiana University-Purdue University
Contents: Y.M. Goodman, Foreword. Preface. Why Another Book on Phonics? Phonics Lessons. What Is Reading? Phonics Programs, Teacher Knowledge, and Teacher Identity. A Closer Look at the Children. Phonics Programs and Curriculum. Phonics, Reading, and Culture. Phonics, Reading, and Politics. Teachers, Activism, and Hope. Appendix: Maybe Rules Are Not the Way to Teach Phonics.