All posts by VAS Reading Echo

About VAS Reading Echo

Byron is a reading researcher: Jean is a teacher. Together they have co-authored a book: 'Reading Through Tears' - VAS Theory is revealed through the case histories of students. Available from Jean has authored a multi-sensory teaching resource "Phonics Unlimited". 'Unlimited' as it is not limited to phonics. Available from Data on over 3,000 students explains why many children find reading difficult in the early stages and why many other succeed but seem to hit a brick wall in new learning around mid primary school age. Do these students have a learning difficulty? No, the majority do not. To find out more visit and/or

Education – The Real Deal …

In the video below I’m reminded of what we stand to lose. There is an increasing shift towards ‘information texts’ and away from quality literature. (Information text & film are easier to deal with than quality literature for the growing number of semi-literate students; courtesy of the last American Folly, that being, Whole Language in Infant Classrooms).

There is an increasing move towards the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects with a view to providing workers to fit in with industry (future jobs) at the expense of the Arts. Note gov. funding cuts to the Arts & to the Research arms of Science. Also note: NAPLAN over time records: Yr 3 – 24% of students in the top band / Yr 5 11% of students in the top band / Yr 7 9% of students in the top band / Yr 9 4% of students in the top band (only a small cohort suited for STEM subjects). I am in no way diminishing the value of STEM pursuits, for personal achievement and societal service, only the devaluing of other equally important pursuits. A rounded education is what builds people of calibre, people capable of governing and building a nation.

Education is so much more than subsistence, it’s about feeding what’s unique in each and every one of us. If our dreams are reduced to an ever bigger roof and an ever higher wage, if this is all the ‘think tanks’ and the bureaucrats can come up with then I’ll rebel. I want my grandchildren to have the dream …

Australian parents need to keep their eyes wide open …

Please take the time to listen to the 6 minute follow-on: PREVIEW—The Parent Interviews (2014)—A Documentary about the Common Core.

Common  Core and PARCC testing is hurting their children. Australian parents need to keep their eye’s wide open.




Australia appears to have no idea of what they about to receive :(

Below is the trailer of a video American parents were hearing years ago. The full implications are now being felt in the USA. Parents are now in the streets with placards chanting, “No more reform; No more reform.” Far from raising standards, literacy and maths levels are falling, the school systems are broken, with the axing of public schools to make way for private charters with a “No excuses” punitive agenda. These same charter schools are being fed taxpayer dollars courtesy of the Federal Government – bucket loads of it! AND they are further supported by the billionaire consortium. Despite all of the monetary support, rorting and corruption is rife. Beware the Common Core – it’s as viral as the Common Cold and as resistant to treatment after the fact.

Watch the full version on youtube

Oh no. Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) is here to infect Australia with the assistance of Common Core.

I’ve been aware of the threat; little did I realise that it was just around the corner and has come to pass already. In Tasmania, the Catholic education system has adopted Common Core principles already and my students are already coming through the door of my office confused by the “new maths”. Some of the prominent private sector schools have also already adopted Common Core maths principles. The students tend to fall into 3 distinct groups.

1. Students already competent in maths: This group enjoys the challenge of finding and implementing new mathematical concepts and procedures –  it is stimulating and productive for them – mind puzzles.

2. Average students who are just gaining competence but still require practice and consolidation to attain mastery of the main processes: Then along comes the sudden introduction of ‘new maths’ – a disruption they can’t afford – even though the ‘new maths’ in many ways assists in compensating for lack of automaticity in multiplication table facts. (This has not been taught due to the last assault on ‘rote learning’ – even when tables is one of the most appropriate uses of it). Now children learn the 2x table as a ‘doubling’ act – and the 4 x table as doubling the 2 x table – as a ‘crutch’. What about the 3 x table you ask? Shrug – easier to go on to 5 x, 10 x & 11 x first.

Practical issues:

* It takes up a lot of class time when you have to look at & discuss up to 4 different methods to add up (plus).

* This leaves less practice and consolidation time – and group 2. needs that.

* The radical change at this critical stage of maths development is distracting & confusing.

* Group one have already worked it it out – that was the fun of it. So this slower teacher led concentration is a drag. It’s likely that they are the only ones answering the questions and they do so too quickly for group 2 to understand.

* The number of steps in solving a problem increases significantly. Each additional step is yet another opportunity to err – increasing the chances of getting it wrong.

* Parents are locked out. They can’t help their children unless they have the time to attend a ‘new maths’ session organised by the school. It might even be offered in a library near you – soon. Will the under-educated parents attend? Highly unlikely – so yet another marginalising effect will almost certainly occur.

* Consensus on how to teach students is under attack. Teachers will no doubt favour certain methods – changes in teachers means changes in emphasis. – students just have to wear it.

* Regarding teachers: It is just assumed a lot of the time that they will catch up with the new methods on the net. (Yet another expectation to add to the unrealistic burden society places on them).

From a private tutor’s perspective it is a nightmare. All of the above issues for group 2 compacted into 30 minutes a week.

3. For the students who struggle with mathematics – expect a widening gap in maths learning to occur. This is yet another burden for our over-worked, poorly-paid & under-appreciated teachers. It’s amazing that so many find a way to attend to the needs of the less academically able students in their care under such unrealistic expectations – but find a way they do. It is little wonder that so many have to seek stress leave.


The latest push for ever younger students to attend school is yet another experiment to be ‘explored’. Make no mistake that misplaced expectations will harm infants. if infants are forced to fail because incompetent bureaucrats (ignorant of developmental factors, or worse still, choosing to ignore them) deign to demand that teachers carry out their directives – we are in trouble.

Pearson Fails the Standardized Test

I’ve lived and taught in New York State since 1993 when I moved from Chicago to be a professor at Syracuse University; I moved to New York City in 1997. I follow state and city educational po…

Source: Pearson Fails the Standardized Test