Reading instruction remains the biggest problem in American education.

All the Establishment voices continue to talk about college and career ready, new core standards that will align with world standards, 21st-century skills--in other words, an endless parade of glib promises.

Meanwhile, many kids in the first grade are not learning to read. This makes the whole thing a sick joke.

Keep in mind that from 1930 to 2000, roughly speaking, our Education Establishment promoted a method that guaranteed illiteracy. This sophistry was variously called look-say, Whole Word, Dolch words, sight-words, and others.

Finally, the tide was turning against this thing. So the Education Establishment pulled a bait and switch. They said, all right. you can have your phonics. Phonics is okay. We love phonics!

But at the same time they promoted the idea that children should first learn a few hundred sight-words. In short, they gave up Whole Word but they kept Whole Word. That’s where we are today.

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If you want to help end this quagmire, the first step is to understand why Whole Word doesn’t work. (See articles below.) Kids can’t memorize words as diagrams any more than you can memorize several hundred license plates with instant recall. 

In effect, the Education Establishment admitted they were lying from 1930-2000 when they were insisting that phonics was useless and even harmful. But they didn’t want to admit they were lying 100% so they did this strategic retreat. No one should be fooled. Bottom line: you don’t memorize English words as graphic designs. You learn the letters, sounds, and blends; then you’re reading.

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I’m writing about this matter a great deal because it seems to me that the divide between the rosy rhetoric we hear every day and what’s actually happening in many elementary grades is a kind of insanity. Let's cure it. Get rid of methods that don't work. Don't make promises unless they are based on what the elementary schools are really accomplishing.  

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Recent articles:

Bogus reading instruction is the 800-pound quack in many classrooms

http://www.edarticle.com/article.php?id=38556

How the Reading War Became A Religious War

www.veracityvoice.com/?p=17762

Sight-Words Remain Biggest Problem in Education

http://www.rantrave.com/Rant/SIght-Words-Remain-Biggest-Problem-in-...

(best background piece) "42: Reading Resources” 

www.improve-education.org/id65.html 

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