Making sense of reading’s forever wars

Leah Durán, Michiko Hikida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Recent stories raising the alarm about students’ poor reading skills and calling for greater attention to the “science of reading” represent the latest round in the ongoing “reading wars.” Going back at least as far as the 1950s, scholars, pundits and policy makers have debated which teaching strategies are most successful at helping students become proficient readers. However, Leah Durán and Michiko Hikida argue that these debates fail to get at the root issues behind students’ poor reading performance. Even when schools with the lowest reading scores implement science-backed pedagogical approaches, these shifts do not make up for structural inequalities in facilities, resources, and teacher quality. Reading scores reflect problems rooted in class and race inequalities that cannot be resolved through pedagogy alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-19
Number of pages6
JournalPhi Delta Kappan
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Reading First
  • class
  • inequality
  • inequity
  • literacy
  • phonics
  • race
  • reading wars
  • school quality
  • science of reading
  • teacher quality
  • whole language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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