Much hay has been made of late by self-appointed experts in our community regarding two charter school applications before the School Board that propose the use of Direct Instruction curriculum. Opponents have stated that D6 already uses direct instruction in its reading program with dismal results.
The Greeley Gazette was able to locate a Dist.6 teacher who has used both programs. This person has requested anonymity for fear of reprisals by Dist. 6 administrators. What follows are this career educator’s own words about the programs:
At a recent District 6 school board meeting, it was stated by several opponents to the proposed West Ridge Academy Charter School that the reading program currently being used by Dist. 6 is the same as the Direct Instruction Program being used at Mountain View Academy. Obviously, these individuals have never seen Direct Instruction used in a classroom. It is nothing like what is currently being used for reading instruction in Dist. 6. I make this statement based on the fact that I have used both and they are nothing alike!
Experts of the DI program trained me and I used it for four years in my classroom in Dist. 6 before the current Houghton Mifflin Reading Program was adopted. I used the DI program in reading, math, writing, and spelling. My students enjoyed using the materials and advanced quickly in their learning. The DI program is not just a phonics-building program. It is a researched-based program built on the philosophy of spiral learning built on previous learning and instructed in a very precise delivery. The DI program has been in continuous field-testing for over 40 years. DI is based on teaching concepts to students in the most effective, uncluttered wording. This technique has been proven to increase retention and mastery. This philosophy is used in all the DI programs, not just in the reading program.
What is being used in Dist. 6 reading is direct instruction of phonic skills for grades K-5. It is used at the beginning of each reading class. Phonic skills are then used throughout reading instruction. The reading instruction used with the Houghton Mifflin Reading program, however, has nothing in common with the reading instruction used with DI. They are two totally different approaches.
I would strongly suggest that those individuals who think both reading program are similar to go to Mountain View Academy and then go to a Dist. 6 classroom. They will very quickly see there are no similarities between these two reading programs.
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