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Do you agree? Good, then please pass this little summary to everyone you know.
Or were you thinking, that’s crazy talk. Afraid not. It’s quite accurate, comparable to saying, “The sky is blue.”
Reading instruction in our country has been insane and/or a criminal conspiracy for 80 years.
The resulting illiteracy is a giant hemorrhaging wound. We cannot have a successful school system or a successful civilization unless children typically learn to read in the first grade or two.
This is the 60th year since Rudolf Flesch wrote his famous book explaining why Johnny cannot read. Everything Flesch said in 1955 is just as true today. Here is the essence: “Teach a child what each letter stands for and he can read. I know, you say, it can’t be that simple. But it is.”
The Education Establishment, for ideological reasons, has concocted many different counterproposals. These have names such as Look-say, Whole Word, Whole Language, Balanced Literacy, high-frequency words, Dolch words, sight-words, and so on. Here is the shocking truth. They are all the same proposal, differing only in superficial details.
The common lie is that children can memorize thousands of sight-words, i. e., English words memorized as graphic designs. Can you memorize hundreds of license plates, currency symbols, Egyptian hieroglyphics, famous buildings, faces? Not just memorize them but memorize them with instantaneous recall? Many children never get to 100 sight-words!
But to be literate in English you need at least 50,000 words and perhaps 100,000 words. The whole thing is blatantly absurd.
If a child memorizes the, the child will probably not realize that THE is the same word. Many children confuse the and is. Basically, to a sight-word reader, all the little words look alike: toe, lie, the, man, pit, sat, win, try, die, guy, hit, key. (If you want to experience how overwhelming sight-words are for a child, look at a page of English upside-down In a mirror.)
In short, sight-words are the central gimmick, the central fraud, the central sophistry, the central lie, whatever term you like, that has created a literacy crisis in this country.
How do you recognize that you are in the same room with this nonsense? Here are some of the clues you might hear: guess; skip; picture clues; preread; word wall; cueing systems; word callers; reading readiness; context; reading for meaning; reading recovery, and so many more.
Reading means that you can convert the marks on the page to sounds. That’s it. Phonics, phonetic, and phonemic mean the same thing: sounds. Even young children have a working vocabulary of 5000 to 10,000 words. When children convert the printed symbols to spoken words, they usually recognize them. And if they don’t, they look them up in a dictionary. That’s what reading is and always has been in a phonetic language.
It is vitally important to our entire civilization that we fix the reading problem. Here are three items that you can easily check out in a total of 15 minutes, then you will know.
A four-minute graphic video that explains why “Reading Is Easy.”
A six-minute graphic video that explains why sight-words are best eliminated from the schools.
A good relevant article on American Thinker: