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Phonics

NEWS
May 11, 1996 | RICHARD LEE COLVIN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The State Board of Education on Friday approved a detailed new policy on reading meant to ensure that all beginning readers receive a steady diet of lessons in letters, letter sounds and other basic elements of language, beginning in kindergarten. The policy is not binding on schools, but along with pending legislation and other changes it will guide how teachers are trained and licensed and how school districts spend nearly a billion dollars in state and federal money.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 25, 1999 | NANCY TREJOS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Students at the Nativity School in downtown Los Angeles rhymed their way through a phonics lesson the other day. "Give me some work that'll challenge me/I can't be happy with a B," chanted the students, guided by their visiting instructor, Lindamichellebaron. (She merged the letters in her name, itself an exercise in phonics, she says.) This is not quite phonics the way most adults remember it.
NEWS
May 7, 1996 | RICHARD LEE COLVIN, TIMES EDUCATION WRITER
Hoping to force changes in the way basic reading is taught in California, Gov. Pete Wilson on Monday offered to spend $127 million on textbooks and teacher retraining with the proviso that skills such as phonics and spelling be stressed. The move reflects the Wilson administration's frustration with the slow pace of an overhaul in reading instruction launched last year by state schools chief Delaine Eastin.
NEWS
May 4, 1996 | RICHARD LEE COLVIN, TIMES EDUCATION WRITER
Adding new ammunition to the fight over how best to teach reading, a federally funded study has demonstrated in real-world classrooms what had previously only been theorized--that intensive drills in phonics and the building blocks of words make young students better readers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 20, 1997 | RICHARD LEE COLVIN, TIMES EDUCATION WRITER
A year ago, the state of California declared in no uncertain terms that children in their early school years were to be taught phonics--systematically and explicitly--to boost reading scores that lag behind those in more than 40 states. But some members of the Los Angeles Board of Education fear that district instructional leaders haven't gotten the message.
NEWS
March 19, 1998 | RICHARD LEE COLVIN, TIMES EDUCATION WRITER
A long-awaited report on how to best teach children to read calls for a mix of early phonics training and lots of reading, the approach now taken in California after its embrace of the controversial "whole language" method. In endorsing such a balance, the report, released Wednesday by the National Research Council in Washington, said it is time for a truce in the "reading wars" that have plagued schools for decades.
NEWS
February 11, 1999 | DUKE HELFAND, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Charlotte McCormick's eighth-graders crack open their English books and once again prepare to study . . . the alphabet. On this morning the 13- and 14-year-olds are tackling vowels with the aid of flashcards and word games. "Say 'quick,' " McCormick tells the students. "Now change the middle sound to A." "Quack," they respond. The exercise seems absurd in a classroom of teenagers preparing to enter high school.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 12, 1999 | NONA YATES, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Here's a fun idea: Play a game, learn to read. Teachers who once relied on drills and work sheets for reading lessons are now supplementing their traditional classroom tools with toys and games that teach phonics and other skills. Consider the Phonics Desk: As a child pushes down on each of the brightly colored plastic letters on the desktop, the letters say their names. Or how about the Phonics Game, which offers a series of interactive card games that cover a different set of phonics rules.
NEWS
December 11, 1996 | RICHARD LEE COLVIN, TIMES EDUCATION WRITER
The battle to reverse California's embarrassing slide in student reading performance has been waged on philosophical and political fronts over the past 18 months, with many state officials pushing to restore phonics to a central role in early reading lessons. But the war over how to teach reading is far from over.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 30, 2000 | DUKE HELFAND, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Seeking to raise chronically low test scores, most of Los Angeles' elementary schools are switching to a single reading program that prescribes step-by-step phonics lessons and strictly governs how teachers do their jobs. The Los Angeles Unified School District is following the lead of other major school systems in California by embracing Open Court, a heavily scripted program that dictates many details of daily instruction.
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