Skip to comments.Mona McNee -- Why She Fights For Phonics
Posted on 04/28/2012 11:57:58 AM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice
For more than 40 years, Mona McNee has been fighting the good fight on behalf of intelligent reading instruction. She is the author of "Step By Step" (a phonics program) and "The Great Reading Disaster" (with Alice Coleman, 2007, 335 pages), which chronicles the incompetence of the UK's Education Establishment.
I always think of Mona McNee as the Patron Saint of Reading.
Mona has recently prepared a booklet called "Why Billy can't read," which sums up her message in 30 pages. You can find a pdf of this booklet, and as well her free phonics program, on phonics4free.org (link below).
Mona is a hard campaigner. The kind of person who has gone to endless meetings, sent lots of letters, and tried to call up the Minister of Education to tell him what he should be doing if he had any sense. Here are a few characteristic quotes from her new booklet:
"In 1931 the Hadow Report said that 'The curriculum is to be thought of in terms of activity and experience rather than of knowledge to be acquired and facts to be stored.'... This simply cancels out the whole purpose of education! Utterly mad, but official wisdom, never challenged and still around."
"All I want is an end to this terrible scourge of needless failure in reading. It has been and is a major factor in the collapse of our culture and high government spending....This is the worst scandal ever, 1000 times worse than the News of the World hacking, and it still goes on, still protected by the establishment."
"Is this confusion at the top based on honest ignorance or (worse) is it deliberate? Government will not even discuss it with me, and the meddling goes on and on."
"Keeping these strategies is part of the idea that because 'all children are different,' they can expect to be taught different ways, and this is not so. There is one alphabet, and one way to teach all children, of any age, adults and dyslexics."
"Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath: 'First do no harm.' Untold, uncountable harm has been done to millions for life by many thousands of hard-working, well-meaning teachers under the thumb of the establishment."
"In 40 years I have found a total absence of genuine professional curiosity, at all levels."
"The lost potential for half a century is a tragedy beyond our grasp.... Today teachers still get the blame, and the guilty teacher-trainers are never challenged. It has crippled millions and still there is nowhere to turn."
ARTICLE CONCLUDES BELOW
Because otherwise she would be "Nona NcNee"?
When my kids were the ages for 6th and 4th grade I had to send them to public school, and this was in the mid/early 80s when home schooling was rare or actually illegal in many states. The principle was shocked that I, a high school dropout, had tried to educate my children at home. He said he’d put them in the right grade for their ages but would test them, and they’d probably have to go down to a lower grade.
He tested them and they both had to go in the “gifted” classes or whatever they were called, they were both in the upper 90s percentiles in everything (except one was only 70s in math, she hated math). His mind exploded.
My sainted mother was a former educator. She taught me phonics. I read before I was 2.
She insisted I have end of career teachers in grade school. They taught sentence diagramming and hard core grammar.
I also had to take Latin, but I had started learning languages at about age 5.
I recommend all these practices to any educator/parent reading this post.
I am living proof that all this stuff works.
Oh, and at age 12 I went through a speed reading course while at school.
That works, too. When in college, I used to be asked how I kept up with the reading.
I forgot. Find and use the biggest dictionary you can find with your kids. Make them learn word origins and common roots/suffixes/prefixes.
They’ll thank you for that.
The first school I attended (mid 60s) used the whole word method. Then we moved halfway through the school year and the new school taught the phonics method.
In both schools, my teachers were quite impressed by my verbal vocabulary and grammar and how well spoken I was.
I learned to read fairly easily but was then was somewhat confused by the shift in methods until I caught on to phonics.
The problem I have, and still have, having learned to read by the phonics method, is while I can read very well; Im a lousy speller even to this day. I want to spell everything phonetically and English often just doesnt work that way. Thank G-d for spell check! LOL!
I am currently struggling with being a conservative and a public school teacher. It is something I question every day, but at the end of every day I see that it is teachers like me that have to keep fighting the good fight. I teach my students that the Constitution is not a living document (as their text claims) and I take my Sharpie with me to the staff powder room where all of the union propaganda is posted. My son is three and a half years old and my daughter is eight months old. We are currently homeschooling and will probably continue to do so.
Re your post #5, no wonder our schools are turning out illiterates. I was taught to read the correct way beginning in the first grade in 1946 and the instruction laid the groundwork for my reading comprehension throughout my education.
I’ll bet your school’s graduates do little to no independent reading in adulthood (too difficult having to memorize all those words!).
I salute you and your efforts.
A former professor of mine actually looked me in the eye one time and said, “You have to get them young.” The reference was to indoctrination.
They know what they are doing. All those people that hid out in ivory towersrather than going to Nam. This chit’s so deep. I bet most young college students don’t even know what Marxism is, so they can’t compare to capitalism. Then again, just today, I had to tell a young woman what change I needed back, since she didn’t understand how to make change.
The Dick and Jane books were “see and say”. If you learned phonics from them it was due to your mother.
Thank you for the links!
I didnt say that I learned phonics from the Dick and Jane books, only that those books along with nearly hundred Little Golden Books I had by the time I started school, helped me to learn to read. My mother read to me all the time and as I recall she also taught me some phonics, the vowel sounds, before I started school.
We moved and I changed schools 5 times by the 4th grade however and it was hard adjusting to all the various methods some of those schools employed. Thankfully to my mother, I got a great start.
Dr. Titzer did a great deal of research on babies and Toddlers reading - with no phonics.
I am aware of the methods of teaching tiny children to read; I do not think it is in the child’s best interest to teach them reading that young. I have read studies that have shown that when children are taught later, when their development is more mature, within a short time they read as well as those taught from toddlerhood.
Just my viewpoint from studying how to teach reading, and having taught about 15 kids how to read.
But you do not say WHY you think it is not in a child’s best interest to be taught to read when they are infants or toddlers.
You do not seem to even have an anecdote to back up that it is bad for kids to learn at a very young age.
Since my kids are in their late 30s and I haven’t read anything about teaching and so on since I was teaching them and kids their age, I don’t have any instant references.
BTW - I did teach my older child to read around 3 1/2 to 4, and a by the time the younger child could read (started teaching that one around 5 to 6) they could both read at the same age level, with a bit of variability in vocabulary.
Let kids be kids. No need to force them into academics until they’ve had sufficient play time. There are many books on the topic, if you really want to know about it you can search them. I don’t know any titles or authors and don’t have time to search them out. There are plenty of ways to help babies and toddlers learn about the world without teaching them reading when they are just learning how to talk.
Whatever floats your boat.
Believe me I wasn’t asking for studies to back up your point. I guess you think there is a catch up effect that takes place.
I reject that.
I believe that all things being equal, the child who reads earlier will be a better reader.
But you are right about “whatever floats your boat”. Parents are free to make choices for their kids and they are free to disagree with me. It is the mind of a liberal that believes that they know best for everybody AND they desire the power to enforce their views on others.
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