December 11, 2015

Improved Methods of Teaching Reading Holds Children Back

[From article]
Marva Collins said that she could teach all children, no matter their age, to read by Christmas of their first year of schooling. A mere four months.
Conversely, in most public schools, by Christmas of their first year, most children have learned next to nothing. What's gone wrong? Why do we have an illiteracy crisis in our country, with more than 40 million functional illiterates?
Here we get to the great bait-and-switch of the 20th century. The Education Establishment changed the set of items to be memorized from 26 individual letters to several thousand large, complex designs known as words.
[. . .]
Starting circa 1931, this country's official reading theory stated that children could memorize the entire English language with automaticity, or at least 100,000 words of that language. (This nonsense is comparable to saying that all children can fly.)
So if you want to understand why reading is difficult, it's because the commissars who took over the field of education changed the game. They moved the goalposts, oh, about a mile. They changed the very nature of the activity from something that is as basic as walking, which everyone can do, to a much more elaborate activity, much like dancing in a Broadway show, which very few can do.
[. . .]
The bottom line is this: if you let your local schools teach sight-words – that is, kids must memorize words as graphic designs – you are contributing to a sophisticated kind of child abuse.
The biggest challenge we have in education is to make people take responsibility for what they are allowing. Every local newspaper and TV station should be held accountable for what it lets its public schools get away with. Ditto the Chamber of Commerce, religious organizations, local and Ivy League colleges, and community leaders. Parents need help in understanding what is being done to their children; otherwise, how can they fight back?
[. . .]
Here is the first thing parents need to know: reading starts with the alphabet, memorized with automaticity.

November 25, 2015
Why Kids Can't Read
By Bruce Deitrick Price

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