Schools have an obligation to teach every child to read by using the most efficient and effective method possible. There is only one way to teach children or adults to read a language that has an alphabet and that one way is methodical instruction in phonics. Phonics is the Code in which English speech is written down using its alphabetical letters to represent the sounds of speech so that the writer, or another person, can then read back what was written.
This task of teaching a child to read is best begun once the child has attained a verbal and emotional age of six (6) years. While waiting for that magical age to arrive, each child should have listened to live people…preferably parents, grandparents, and teachers…read aloud and discuss hundreds of age appropriate stories to provide the child with hundreds of opportunities to experience characters, events, settings, and plots. Such mediated book experiences also provide chances for a child to develop precise speech and sound awareness, a broad vocabulary base, complex concept comprehension, and vital pre-reading skills such as recognition of the ABCs and the knowledge that each story has a beginning, middle, and end.
Schools have a responsibility to bring each child to literacy by the completion of Second (2nd) Grade. Let me clarify that. Schools have an obligation to have all children, except those incapable of attaining a 6 year verbal and emotional level, literate by the completion of Second (2nd) Grade. I realize that this idea is shocking but, as Peter, Paul and Mary used to sing, “The times, they are a changin’.” Yes, in the one room schoolhouses of yester year, children were literate by the end of First (1st) Grade, but that was then and this is now. Teachers today are no longer equipped to teach reading skills as they once were.
In fact, most teachers and most instructors training teachers in colleges and universities (98+%?), do not actually understand what is mentally involved in the reading process. If they did, they would not continue to promote the same failing methods that are renamed, repackaged, and reused with each successive generation of children. Children move through the school grades without learning to read because each year those children are faced with the same erroneous, disastrous methods until either the child gives up on reading, or the school gives up on the child. Typically, both situations occur.
I refer to Third Grade as “The Killer Year” because (continue reading)