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As school board trustees we will
advocate for the following:
- We will fully endorse the findings of the Ontario Human Rights Commission that recommends sweeping changes to language curriculum and teacher training as outlined in the "Right To Read" report.
- Starting in kindergarten, students should learn the sounds letters make, phonics, decoding, or “sounding out” words, spelling and also practise reading words in stories to build accuracy and speed, said the report. By about Grade 2, children should be taught word structures and patterns, like prefixes and suffixes.
- We will discontinue the use of "whole language", "balanced literacy", and "cueing" approachs to teaching reading all of which are now fully discredited.
- We recognize and will support reading programs rooted in "Core Knowledge" building curriculums as outlined by E.D. Hirsch Jr. which offer pronounced benefits in improving reading levels among K-8 children.
- We recognize that a strong connection exists between writing and cognitive skills. Functional brain imaging studies indicate the visual recognition of letters and the physical motion of producing letters (print and cursive handwriting) both activate the same region of the brain. Studies have demonstrated that putting a pen or pencil to paper is more beneficial than using a keyboard for retention. Ironically, the speed of typing can actually impede effective note-taking. On the other hand, the slower speed of handwriting provides time for retention. It enhances memory and establishes a kinesthetic component to learning that results in deeper thinking so the student can include the important ideas from a lecture or text. We will therefore advocate that all students be taught both printed and cursive handwriting in grade school.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Right to Read inquiry found that by not using evidence-based approaches to teach students to read, Ontario’s public education system is failing students with reading disabilities such as dyslexia. Here’s a snapshot of the key findings and recommendations. By working with communities and stakeholders, and by monitoring key developments, the OHRC is committed to making sure RightToRead is not just another report, but a roadmap for progress.Executive SummaryFull Report