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Why NOT Sound-it-out? 

Dr. Robert Schwartz 


How to teach word recognition is one of the most contentious issues in literacy education. This debate has been particularly damaging for children who struggle with initial literacy learning. Children’s word recognition processing does change over time, as they increase their knowledge of phonics and orthographic patterns.  We’ll consider how to build on students’ strengths to support self-monitoring and self-correction.  Self-monitoring, not letter-by-letter sounding-out provides the mechanism for novice readers to refine their word recognition strategies and move toward the fast perceptual processing that supports skilled readers’ meaning construction.

Dr. Robert Schwartz established the Oakland University Reading Center in 1991. He is trainer emeritus and a past president of the Reading Recovery Council of North America. His research interests include self-monitoring in beginning reading, early literacy intervention, research design, and professional development for literacy teachers.  He has publications on these topics in Reading Recovery Quarterly, Journal of Educational Psychology, International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, the Journal of Reading Recovery and The Reading Teacher. Dr. Schwartz is particularly interested in the role of one-to-one tutoring in supporting the literacy development of the lowest performing beginning readers and the professional learning of their teachers. He can be reached at


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