Bowers (in press). Reconsidering the evidence that systematic phonics is more effective than alternative methods of reading instruction. Educational Psychology Review.
It has taken about 2 years, but my review of systematic phonics has been accepted in the prestigious journal Educational Psychology Review. I show that the “science of reading” does not support the widespread claim that systematic phonics is more effective than alternative forms of instruction. If you are interested in the topic I hope you have a look at the paper itself: Reconsidering the evidence that systematic phonics is more effective than alternative methods of reading instruction, but for summaries you can either
(1) have a look at slides of a talk that outline the same points or
(2) read my earlier blogpost: https://jeffbowers.blogs.bristol.ac.uk/blog/phonics/
To avoid any confusion, my criticism of systematic phonics does not provide any support for whole language or balanced literacy. Rather, I am claiming that the decades long “reading wars” is best characterized as a draw. The implication is that researchers should consider alternative approaches to reading instruction. In my view, one promising alternative is structured word inquiry (Bowers & Bowers, 2017, 2018), but the main point is that more research is needed before making evidence-based claims regarding the efficacy of phonics, balanced literacy, structured word inquiry, or any other method.
Unfortunately, research into reading instruction has been one of the most contentious areas in all of psychology and education. Proponents of phonics who simply ignore this critique are engaging in advocacy not science. Whether you agree or disagree, it would be great to get feedback here.