List Categories | List All Articles | List Articles By Title
Public Schools Can Cripple Your Childrens Ability To Read
For many adults, reading a book or newspaper seems effortless. Yet reading effortlessly comes from constant use of basic skills learned at an early age. Once children learn these basic skills, they can eventually read complex books like War and Peace.
What are these skills? To read, one must recognize thousands of words. Since all English words are built from only twenty-six letters, the huge task of recognizing letters and their sounds and putting them together to form words becomes greatly simplified. An English-speaking child only has to sound out the letters and then put the sounds together to read the word.
I do not wish to over-simplify the complexity of our rich English language, however. Like other western languages, English has its peculiarities. For example, many vowels have more than one sound, and many sounds can be spelled more than one way. However, even with these complexities, English is far easier to learn than Chinese, where children have to memorize thousands of word pictures, rather than twenty-six letters and their sounds.
Reading is difficult at first, but, once learned, the process becomes automatic and unconscious. When we can read quickly without sounding out every letter of every word, all the knowledge of the world opens to us. However, like learning to drive a car, if we don't learn the basic skills, we don't learn to read, or we read poorly.
Enter public-school education theorists who think otherwise. Don't adults read without sounding out every letter of every word, they ask? So why teach children phonics? Why put children through the alleged boredom, drudgery, and hard work of learning letter-sounds? How can reading be joyful if literature becomes drills? If children memorize whole words instead of putting together letter sounds, all this pain will be gone. Rather than teaching kids the alphabet and how to sound out M-O-T-H-E-R, teach them to recognize MOTHER and other whole words in a book, like Chinese word-pictures or ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Have the child read simple books that repeat each word over and over, so that they come to recognize the word. Do this for each word, they claim, and the child will learn to read. This is called "whole-language" reading instruction.
The only problem is that whole-language doesn't work. It is a disaster. Most young children are only able to "memorize" a few hundred relatively simple words. Even an adult's mind can only memorize at most, a few thousand words. That's the limit of the human mind's capacity to memorize abstract symbols. In contrast, children who learn to sound out the letters of words with phonics can read tens of thousands of words, and eventually read ANY word, because they can sound out each letter in the word and put the sounds together.
Author and education researcher Charles J. Sykes describes whole-language reading instruction in one first-grade classroom in his book "Dumbing Down Our Kids":
"Reading instruction begins with "pre-reading strategies" in which "children predict what the story is about by looking at the title and the pictures. Background knowledge is activated to get the children thinking about the reading topic." Then they read the story. If a child does not recognize a word, they are told to "look for clues."
"The whole-language curriculum gave specific suggestions that children: "Look at the pictures," ask "What would make sense?" "Look for patterns," "Look for clues," and "Skip the word and read ahead and then go back to the word." Finally, if all this fails, parents/teachers are told, "Tell the child the word. . . ."
"When kids couldn't figure out a word, educationists gave these further ions: "Ask a friend, skip the word, substitute another meaningful word." Sykes then asks, "Look at the pictures. Skip the word. Ask a friend. Is this reading?"
During the 1990s, when whole-language instruction was in full force, outraged parents bitterly complained about their children's deteriorating ability to read. In response, public schools across the country then reverted to their usual tactics --- they kept the failed policy but changed its name to fool parents.
Many public schools today say they now teach kids to read with "balanced reading instruction." What this means is they combine whole-language instruction with a smattering of phonics. "See," they can say to parents, "we are now teaching your kids phonics." The only problem is that too often the "balance" is still about 80 percent whole-language, and 20 percent phonics, if and when the teacher thinks phonics is "needed" in "special cases."
If you were a doctor and were treating a patient for a serious infection, would you give the patient a "balanced" cure of arsenic and antibiotics? That is the moral and practical status of "balanced" reading instruction where whole-language instruction still predominates, because whole-language is the arsenic of reading-instruction methods.
Parents, don't let public-school officials fool you with their glib talk of "balanced reading instruction." You need to personally investigate how your local school teaches your kids to read. The best thing to do is to test your children's true reading abilities with an outside, independent testing company. You may be shocked by the outcome of the test. The Resources section of "Public Schools, Public Menace," lists many such independent reading-testing companies.
Joel Turtel is an education policy analyst, and author of "Public Schools, Public Menace: How Public Schools Lie To Parents and Betray Our Children." Contact Information: Website: http://www.mykidsdeservebetter.com, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 718-447-7348, Article Copyrighted © 2005 by Joel Turtel, NOTE: You may post this Article on an Ezine, newsletter, or other website only if you include Joel Turtel's complete contact information, and set up a hyperlink to Joel Turtel's email address and website URL, http://www.mykidsdeservebetter.com.
What do you mean average? Not good? Just doing good enough?That's what came out in Joshua's report card recently. Looking back, I wasn't too bright a child either.
Top 5 Characteristics of Good Leadership to Instill in Our Home School Children
I am sure that this list can be jogged and added and taken away or all of the above, after being in the presence of several true leaders these are the ones that stuck out in my mind. Our home schooled children can be given a greater chance to make a diference in the world if the are leaders in mind, instead of following others blindly.
Your Big Yellow Bus
The big yellow school bus is coming down my road again. The neighborhood kids seem happy.
Influencing Adolescents - Guided Democracy
You need to smart to be able influence adolescents. You need to be able to stand back a little, hold your tongue and wait your turn to speak.
Twelve Tips To Connect With Teachers At Conference Time
It's that time again! Parent-teacher conferences are coming. Are you nervous? Excited? Confused? It takes teamwork to raise kids.
An Overview of Alternative Treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Since so many would rather avoid the use of stimulant medications for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder if possible, a growing need for the development of alternative treatments for ADD ADHD has developed over the past twenty years. Although there are many products that claim to help any child with ADD ADHD, the truth is that there are only a few non-medication treatments for attention deficit disorder that have actually undergone even the simplest of clinical trials.
Parenting---Roots and Wings
I'm sure many of you have heard that old Hallmark card adage that goes something like this: Parents give their children two great gifts---one is roots, the other is wings. This is what I address in this article.
10 Points on Children for the New Parent
I remember when my daughter was born, later my son. According to many well meaning individuals, I should've done this, should've done that and maybe improved in some areas.
Dad, Go Ahead and Cry
She slipped her small, soft eight-year-old hand into mine. Her face was lit up with joy.
Your Company Vehicle is a Portable Bill Board; A word of advice on children passengers
Child Safety Restraints and children in work vehiclesIf you take your child in your work car, van, SUV or work truck, you should determine the type of safety seat that's appropriate to your child's age or weight and will allow you full control of the vehicle including use of the stick shift.If your child is newborn to nine months or twenty pounds, use an infant safety seat.
Mommy, I Can't Sleep! Sleep Disturbance in Children
"Just turn the lights off and go to sleep"Do you find yourself saying this to your child? Well, you're not alone!! Sleep problems are some of the most common problems parents face with their children. Some parents struggle with getting their child to sleep through the night.
The Recipe For The Making Of A Self-Assured Child: One Part Communication, Two Parts Love
Each child carries a unique picture of the self, shaped in part by the influence of parents. Your child is not born with a self-image or self-assurance.
Vehicle Safety - Following Simple Vehicle Safety Tips Can Reduce Auto Accidents and Injuries
Child Car Seat Safety:We know you love your children, but so many people do not follow these simple car seat safety principles. By following these easy steps you can ensure your child is completely safe in your car.
A Legacy For Dakota
Have you heard the song; "I Hope You Dance"? It is by Lee Ann Womak. I love that song.
Be aware. You may become totally overwhelmed when you get the results of the special education testing on your child.
Parenting Your Adolescent: 3 Powerful Steps to Being an In-Charge Parent
Q. How do I overcome the 16-year-old who does things only on his time frame.
Peer Pressure - Five Ways to Help Teenagers Beat Peer Influence
Young people generally want to fit in to their various social groups so peer approval is a significant driver for their behaviour. For a young person resisting peer influence can mean isolation or instant ostracising so it sometimes takes great strength of will to refuse to follow the crowd.
Illegal and Legal Drug Usage in the United States
How bad is the illegal drug problem here in the US? Very bad and it alters the brain's thought process and causes a problem with human interaction and our natural socializing tendencies. The drugs are so diverse and so plentiful that it touches the lives of nearly every American in some way and certainly nearly every family in this country.
5 Ways To Tell If A Preschooler Is Living In Your House
1. You reheated the same cup of coffee three times this morning.
Single Mother Sanity Savers Pt. 1
Being a single mother is no easy task. I know.
home | site map
All articles are copyright to their owners.
Note: this website lists articles, We do not Write Articles !