E-mails and comments welcome from teachers and learners of all ages.  
July 07, 2003
Linda Schrock Taylor

My thanks to David Farrer of Freedom and Whisky for sending me the link to this LewRockwell.com article by Linda Schrock Taylor. Nothing like a blogger bash to stimulate the exchange of useful information:

When I introduce a new group of students to my reading class, I explain that there are two main ways to teach reading with sight words or with phonics. I tell them that I will present them with some information, and let them decide which method they wish me to use.

I explain that with the sight word approach (Dick & Jane, whole language, balanced instruction, balanced reading, re-packaged whole language, re-named whole language,) the student only needs to memorize about 250,000 words, for instant sight recognition, in order to be a very good reader.

I explain that it is difficult for the human brain to achieve this feat

I'll say. What is especially satisfying about this piece is that this is not just a teacher saying that her phonetics based methods work better; it is also a teacher saying how they actually work. I won't copy and past the entire thing, much as I'm tempted. But if such methods are of interest to you, I strongly, on the basis of what I've learned about this stuff so far, recommend the whole thing. I've never got around to reading LewRockwell.com properly. Maybe this needs to change.

Any explanations of why I'm wrong to admire this piece, if I am, would be particularly welcome.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:57 PM
Category: How to teachLiteracy

Taylor is spot on.

When teaching our older girl to read, Mrs. B was almost driven mad by dozens of different but equally useless reading schemes.

In the end she gave up and devised her own.

She made up a little book. Each page had one phoneme (such as the "ay" sound) with all the different spelling combinations that produce that sound and a series of word examples. That and a few basic rules (such as the "magic e") pretty much did the job.


Comment by: Julius on July 8, 2003 10:17 AM

p.s. I agree with you about lewrockwell.com. There's a lot of good stuff there.


Comment by: Julius on July 8, 2003 10:37 AM

I am frustrated by a system (public education) which does not include youth identified as emotionally disturbed in their general education classes. Add stress, and these students can act out; however, typically they do not show aberrant behaviors. I would like to see teachers of these exceptional chilren in PRN roles and serving as interventionists in general ed. settings for counseling, crisis intervention, and tutoring rather than as keepers of the black hole that Schrock speaks of.

Comment by: Kim W. on April 25, 2004 12:49 AM
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