Bruce Deitrick Price
Sad to say, the Reading Wars continue in the USA.
Millions of children are made to memorize sight-words, a proven road to illiteracy. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of websites, continue to assert things that are the opposite of truth. For example, we are told that English isn’t a phonetic language and students have no choice but to memorize the vast English language one sight-word at a time. Nonsense, as Rudolf Flesch famously explained in his 1955 bestseller "Why Johnny Can't Read.”
Why does this destructive charade go on? The official experts continue to disorient the public with incorrect theories, fake research, bogus claims, and airy jargon. Parents tend to be overwhelmed. Even teachers don't usually understand the wastefulness of what they're told to do in the classroom.
Realistically speaking, only a tiny percentage of human beings could memorize hundreds of phone numbers, license plates, chemical formulas, or birthdays. The same is true of English words treated as graphic design, i.e. sight-words. They are a dead end. And "hundreds," if you want to read English, are just the beginning. You must memorize many thousands, with instant recall. You have a better chance of winning a million from the lottery.
The following six items quickly explain why children need phonics. (All six can be easily read in less than an hour.) Then you will know more about reading than the people in charge of reading in this country.
1) Reading Is Easy. Four-minute video presents quotations from seven famous experts all saying that reading is easy if you teach it in the correct way.
2) 54: Preemptive Reading. Short article describes the basic steps for teaching a child to read English.
3) 40: Sight-Words—The Big Stupid. Article explains what it's like for children in elementary school when they are told to do the impossible.
4) Whatever Happened To Phonics? Short article provides more historical and cultural context for what is effectively a war against reading, and thus a war against thinking and academic achievement.
5) Phonics vs. Whole Word —Take 2. Sub-four-minute video illustrates the differences between phonics and sight-words.
6) An Educator Admits Her Mistakes. Only 3 minutes. In this graphic video Edwina Educator lays it all out for you: why our public schools went to hell.
What finally is so threatening about literacy that our education system is set up to prevent it. Traditionally, children learn to read; then they read to learn. If there's no reading, there's little learning and little reason for kids to be in school. Current practice can well be defined as the Biggest Crime in American History.
"Saving K-12” (book by this writer) has an 18-page section devoted to explaining our reading crisis. In general, this book provides an excellent short survey of what happened to our public schools and how we can fix them. More information about book and author here.© Bruce Deitrick Price
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