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