The National Reading Panel and The Logic of English

The National Reading Panel (NRP) was commissioned by Congress in 1997 to evaluate the research literature and determine what is known about effective methods to teach reading. The panel screened over 100,000 studies related to reading, held regional hearings and reviewed the testimony of teachers, parents, and researches. The report, issued in 2000, identified systematic, synthetic phonics as an essential component to effective reading instruction.

"Phonics instruction is a way of teaching reading that stresses the acquisition of letter-sound correspondences and their use in reading and spelling."

"The primary focus of phonics instruction is to help beginning readers understand how letters are linked to sounds (phonemes) to form letter-sound correspondences and spelling patterns and to help them learn how to apply this knowledge in their reading . . . The hallmark of a systematic phonics approach or program is that a sequential set of phonics elements is delineated and these elements are taught along a dimension of explicitness depending on the type of phonics method employed."

Synthetic phonics includes "teaching students explicitly to convert letters into sounds (phonemes) and then blend the sounds to form recognizable words."

The National Reading Panel concluded:

Uncovering the Logic of English lays out the phonetic system of the English language in an accessible manner for parents and educators. Since most people prior to the 1930's were not taught phonics in a systematic manner, they wrongly believe English is an impossibly illogical language. As revealed in Uncovering the Logic of English, although English is complex, it is not illogical. The lack of knowledge about the system of English in the general public contributes to our low literacy rates and 60% of student's struggling with reading. It does not need to be this way. The National Reading Panel has shown that systematic phonics is beneficial to teaching all students. Knowing the phonograms and rules which describe 98% of English words is key to effective reading education.

Uncovering the Logic of English demonstrates to parents and educators how it is common-sense to teach phonics in a systematic manner which does not leave students guessing. The book effectively reveals to English speakers how knowing these patterns simplifies both reading and spelling education, thereby promoting the conclusions of the National Reading Panel.

NIH National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. 2000. Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching Children to Read: An Evidence-Based Assessment of the Scientific Research Literature on Reading and its Implications for Reading Instruction.

This article references the document Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read in the section Findings and Determinations of the National Reading Panel by Topic Areas.

The entire report is also available in PDF format here .