Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

“Sight Words??!! You Still Teach Sight Words??!!”
Improve-Education.org ^ | April 21, 2010 | Bruce Deitrick Price

Posted on 04/21/2010 4:48:38 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice

A reading coach in California sent me this question: “I would like to know how you respond to teachers who are married to sight-word drills and describe their rationale as, ‘Well, there are just so many words that don't follow any rules.’”

My answer is a longish rumination and probably not for the casual reader. But if you’ve wondered what Sight Words, Dolch Words, and the rest are really all about, this is a good place to start.

Remember, our Education Establishment has spent 80 years promoting what I believe is a hoax and a crime, and in the process they’ve done their best to make it impossible for anyone to think clearly about any aspect of reading. In fairness, these are devilishly clever people.

Untangling this mess isn’t easy. But it is fun.

“48: Sight Words??!! You Still Teach Sight Words??!!!”

http://improve-education.org/id75.html


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: education; k12; literacy; orthography; phonics; reading

1 posted on 04/21/2010 4:48:38 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: BruceDeitrickPrice; weighted Companion Cube

My kid’s HS Spanish teacher is attempting to teach written Spanish, without teaching any spoken Spanish.

Guess how well that is working.


2 posted on 04/21/2010 4:52:34 PM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 454 of our national holiday from reality. - 0bama really isn't one of US.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

So, without telling us anything here, you are for” phonics.”

That’s at least what your article actually suggests.


3 posted on 04/21/2010 4:52:41 PM PDT by ConservativeMind (Hypocrisy: "Animal rightists" who eat meat & pen up pets while accusing hog farmers of cruelty.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Phonics is an excellent study and method 80% of the time. But you have to teach some sight words. One of my proudest moments as a parent was watching my daughter foul out of a spelling bee at the age of 7 by spelling “light” L-I-T-E. She dealt with a high pressure situation and when confronted by a word she didn’t know, knew that she didn’t know it, but still fell back on exactly the right rule.

That said, she still spelled it L-I-T-E. We broke out the dolch cards dealing with ‘-ght’ words after that and she had mastered the list and included the principle in her revised set of phonics rules.


4 posted on 04/21/2010 4:56:56 PM PDT by FateAmenableToChange
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BruceDeitrickPrice
I'm really afraid we're going to lose the English language to other languages that have easier spelling rules, like Italian or more likely, Spanish.

English looks to be following the path of latin -- a global language that is losing native speakers and then dies out completely.

I truly believe the only hope is to revise the spelling rules of English. English can survive that.

5 posted on 04/21/2010 5:04:59 PM PDT by GeorgeSaden
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FateAmenableToChange
Some kids learn best with phonics, some with sight words.

My two daughters learned to read by sitting on my lap while I read their books to them. One learned phonically from my reading and pointing at the words, the other by whole words. The latter learned a little faster, but the former had less trouble with new words.

6 posted on 04/21/2010 5:09:59 PM PDT by expatpat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: expatpat
Some kids learn best with phonics, some with sight words.

really? people who only learn by "sight words" really do become readers? avid readers? i used both to teach my kids... mainly phonics, with some sight words thrown in... i don't know how you can do absolutely no sight words... my youngest was reading at 2.5 yrs... my older son, who was 5-years old when we adopted him, learned to read in less than 5 months... the youngest had no idea he was learning to read being that he was so young...

7 posted on 04/21/2010 5:16:50 PM PDT by latina4dubya ( self-proclaimed tequila snob)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

I have a hard time understanding this article, because I don’t know the terminology. When I learned to read, we learned with the Dick and Jane books. It was easy for me, maybe not for some of the others, but it always made sense for me. They got progressively harder, I remember one time peeking in the back of the book (which we weren’t supposed to do) and saw the word magnificent. I was able to figure it out all by myself, and could hardly wait til we got to that point in the book. But I don’t know what “method” they were using - whatever it was, it worked.


8 posted on 04/21/2010 5:24:45 PM PDT by smalltownslick
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: smalltownslick

If phonics is so great, how come they don’t spell it f o n i k s?


9 posted on 04/21/2010 5:34:23 PM PDT by rickomatic
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: smalltownslick

Dick and Jane books are sight words - controlled vocabulary. Not phonics


10 posted on 04/21/2010 5:35:30 PM PDT by SoftballMominVA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: SoftballMominVA; smalltownslick; BruceDeitrickPrice
You were saying ...

Dick and Jane books are sight words - controlled vocabulary. Not phonics

What would the King James Bible be? ... just wondering... as that seemed to work well for us, for a long time ... :-)

11 posted on 04/21/2010 5:38:30 PM PDT by Star Traveler (Remember to keep the Messiah of Israel in the One-World Government that we look forward to coming)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: GeorgeSaden
English looks to be following the path of latin -- a global language that is losing native speakers and then dies out completely.

Where in tarnation did you come up with that one.

The number of English speakers grows daily. It's the international language. Sorry that the spelling is tough for you; but that doesn't justify spouting silly predictions about its demise.

Sheesh.

12 posted on 04/21/2010 5:40:06 PM PDT by BfloGuy (It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect . . .)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: smalltownslick

Dick and Jane had magnificent? Are you sure?
If you could figure out that word, you already knew phonics. That’s the beauty of phonics. You can figure out very big words.
With sight-words, you can read magnificent only if you have already memorized the shape or design of this long configuration.

As for the article, it’s not for the casual reader, as I said. It’s for people who have struggled with this issue, and want another take.


13 posted on 04/21/2010 5:42:22 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice (education reform)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Star Traveler

Using the Bible to teach reading would be a form of Sight Word teaching.

The old “horn” books are the best example of old school phonics education


14 posted on 04/21/2010 5:43:41 PM PDT by SoftballMominVA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: FateAmenableToChange
But you have to teach some sight words.

No, you don't.

A properly-designed phonics curriculum would have taught your daughter about the phonetic rules governing words like "taught" and "light". English is, despite the conventional wisdom, a perfectly phonetic language.

The phonetic rules, however, are more complex than many other languages.

15 posted on 04/21/2010 5:45:14 PM PDT by BfloGuy (It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect . . .)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: GeorgeSaden
I'm really afraid we're going to lose the English language to other languages that have easier spelling rules, like Italian or more likely, Spanish.

No way.

English is the second language in every major country in the world. Italian or Spanish speakers better hope they know enough English to get by when they venture into the world.

16 posted on 04/21/2010 5:45:50 PM PDT by Doe Eyes
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: GeorgeSaden

Sorry, it must not happen. You’d have a different language in Australia, London, Boston, Georgia, etc. It’s the printed language that holds us together.

Additionally, you would render obsolete all books, libraries, archives, etc.

English is just mildly inconsistent and annoying. Almost all of the so-called problems are part of the propaganda campaign against phonics. There’s no lie those people won’t tell!

If look-say had never been concocted, virtually everyone would be happily literate, not knowing they had somehow done something difficult. This was the case circa 1920.


17 posted on 04/21/2010 5:54:48 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice (education reform)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: rickomatic

I get the satire of your remark; however, the term “phonics” was derived from the Phoenicians, who were among the first to create symbols to represent sounds. These symbols later became the alphabet.


18 posted on 04/21/2010 5:55:52 PM PDT by tamster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: BfloGuy

Even the Orton-Gillingham method of phonics instruction acknowledges the need to teach some sight words.

While I agree that 75 percent of our language is perfectly phonetic, particularly the higher level vocabulary derived from Latin and Greek, there exists a number of words that must really be memorized.


19 posted on 04/21/2010 5:58:50 PM PDT by tamster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: GeorgeSaden
I'm really afraid we're going to lose the English language to other languages that have easier spelling rules, like Italian or more likely, Spanish.

Or more likely, since the most successful capitalist country gets to employ cultural imperialism: Mandarin Chinese. :)

20 posted on 04/21/2010 6:01:03 PM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ( "The right to offend is far more important than any right not to be offended." - Rowan Atkinson)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: smalltownslick

Some kids just pick up reading the way you did.

Two of my kids did the same.

My third child is not like the other 2. She has speech and language problems. She is actually very good at memorizing sight words, but there are too many words to memorize all of them.

First, my daughter couldn’t hear the differences in the sounds the words made. She had to be taught reading rules, so that she could read.

She did a multi-sensory, Orton-Gillingham reading program called Barton Reading. After she did that for 2 years, she became a good reader.


21 posted on 04/21/2010 6:02:00 PM PDT by luckystarmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind

Yes, of course. English is a phonetic language. A little battered and bruised after all these centuries. But as phonetic as ever. The Look-say sophistry was simply to declare that English was NOT a phonetic language and that our words must be learned as graphic designs. A non-sequitur that resulted in 50,000,000 functional illiterates.


22 posted on 04/21/2010 6:02:03 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice (education reform)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: luckystarmom

Barton is a good program, particularly for teachers who are not necessarily language therapists, but have students who need the Orton-Gillingham method.

It sounds like you and your child worked very hard to overcome the language processing and phonological processing difficulties that are so typical for those possessing language-based learning differences.

Congratulations on finding the necessary resources to help your child learn to read.


23 posted on 04/21/2010 6:07:15 PM PDT by tamster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: SoftballMominVA

Well, as I said, I didn’t know the terminology, but whatever it was, it sure worked.


24 posted on 04/21/2010 6:29:34 PM PDT by smalltownslick
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

“Dick and Jane had magnificent? Are you sure?”

Oh, yeah, extremely sure. It was such a guilty pleasure peeking in the back of the book before we were supposed to be ready for it and trying to figure it out!

“If you could figure out that word, you already knew phonics.”

That’s very possible, but because it was so long ago, and they didn’t give a name to what they were teaching us, we just went along with it and learned it. And we DID learn it. That’s the most important part.


25 posted on 04/21/2010 6:37:45 PM PDT by smalltownslick
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: smalltownslick

mag-ni-fi-cent can easily be coded phonetically.
All the kids need to know is that i in an unaccented syllable is short and the ce ci cy (s) rule.


26 posted on 04/21/2010 6:41:15 PM PDT by tamster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: tamster

“i in an unaccented syllable is short and the ce ci cy (s) rule.”

May be. But I have no idea what you’re talking about. I have never heard any of that in my entire life, yet I learned to read really easily. I’m now very curious what all of this means. Is it generational, or is there more to it?


27 posted on 04/21/2010 6:51:29 PM PDT by smalltownslick
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: luckystarmom

So this is what’s interesting to me - why was it easy for me and not easy for others? How do we fix it and make it easy for everyone? (Cause, really, it isn’t hard to learn to read) And, doggone it, with the internet and everything else we’re dealing with today, how do we bring back even the slightest sense of literacy?


28 posted on 04/21/2010 6:59:32 PM PDT by smalltownslick
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: smalltownslick

Readers are basically divided into threes...you have those who can learn the alphabet and sounds and start reading two weeks later...you have the second group who needs more practice and rules, but then they learn to read mid-first grade...then you have the third group who needs explicit phonics instruction to learn to read.

Out of that final third, you have a sub-group of our students with language disabilities who must have multi-sensory and explicit phonics instruction with lots of repetition and practice to be able to master reading.

If you’re one of the natural readers, then the phonetic rules can be very frustrating because they “seem” obvious. These are the students for whom the whole language method of reading instruction was originally developed.

So, to answer your question, there are a host of phonetic rules that can be explicitly taught. For example, if a syllable ends with a consonant, the vowel is short. If a syllable ends with a vowel, the vowel is typically long. If the syllable ends with a vowel, but it is unaccented, then the i will be short and the a will be lazy, as in a short u sound (like sofa (u)).

Anyway, the bottom line is that if you and your children have learned to read easily, please say a prayer of thanks. For those who struggle, it is really imperative that they have teachers who understand the foundation of the language and can teach phonics in both an explicit and multi-sensory manner.

:)


29 posted on 04/21/2010 7:00:47 PM PDT by tamster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: smalltownslick

I don’t think you can make it easy for everyone.

My daughter that had a hard time with reading is great at math. She just thinks that way. For other kids, it is very hard.

I think schools tend to teach a one size fits all, and that is wrong. I think kids with speech and language issues should be in a multi-sensory classroom room that uses auditory, visual and kinesthetic methods to teach them.

I think kids that are gifted should be moved quickly through subjects and engaged.

I think kids who struggle with math may need more hands on manipulatives to learn.

I think that is why homeschooling works so well is that the parents actually do adapt to the way their kids learn.

I think schools should be testing kids early on to see what kind of learner they are. Once they find out a kids strengths and weaknesses, the curriculum could be modified.


30 posted on 04/21/2010 7:55:35 PM PDT by luckystarmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: tamster

You must be a teacher.

I tell you the multi-sensory reading program was great for my daughter. It’s been so rewarding to see her go from a struggling reader to a very confident one.

The thing that is sad is that the public school did not provide the program.

We had to pull her out of public school and put her in a private school that had the program. It was well worth the money.

The programs are not even that expensive, and some of them could easily be implemented with a teacher overseeing them and aides and volunteers doing some of the work.


31 posted on 04/21/2010 7:59:15 PM PDT by luckystarmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: tamster
Readers are basically divided into threes...you have those who can learn the alphabet and sounds and start reading two weeks later...you have the second group who needs more practice and rules, but then they learn to read mid-first grade...then you have the third group who needs explicit phonics instruction to learn to read.

You forgot a 4th group. People like me who taught themselves how to read or learned how on their own. I started asking my mother questions about words by pointing at words in a book and then knowing what they were after she told me, for instance "the,and, or" and then more complicated words, words that were already a part of my vocabulary. Then from there I started reading, at age 4 and by age 5 I had my own library card and checked books out of the public library frequently. When I entered 1st grade(not many of us attended Kindergarten at that time)and got the Dick and Jane books I was bored silly with them.

That's the group I was in and I am sure there are many like me. I have no idea if I learned by phonics or sight, but I do know I learned mostly on my own with a little help from my mother, who was a voracious reader in her own right.

32 posted on 04/21/2010 8:07:28 PM PDT by calex59
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: BfloGuy
English is, despite the conventional wisdom, a perfectly phonetic language.

You seem to be using a different definition of "phonetic," and I will not argue with your lifestyle choices. I applaud your creativity and wish you success in whatever endeavor you wish to pursue.

33 posted on 04/22/2010 8:17:36 AM PDT by FateAmenableToChange
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: calex59

My son was also different. In kindergarten, he had trouble with reading. They wanted me to have him tested, but I didn’t.

Then the summer before 2nd grade, reading just clicked with him. When the school did their testing at the end of 2nd grade, he was reading at an 8th grade level. I honestly don’t know what made the difference for him. Just when he was ready to read, he did.


34 posted on 04/22/2010 9:18:51 AM PDT by luckystarmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: luckystarmom

I don’t think it has to do with IQ levels either. Although I have a high IQ, 141, it is not world shaking(such as 160 to 180 or so), my brother has within 2 points of me but he had to learn reading the old fashioned way. He never fell behind but he didn’t learn on his own and went through the Dick and Jane books at the normal pace. I think there is much about learning that our educators(and those of the past)have yet to discover.


35 posted on 04/22/2010 10:26:36 AM PDT by calex59
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: calex59

My son has a very high IQ, so I know it doesn’t have to do with IQ either. I do think some kids just read when they are ready to read.

What is interesting is that my daughter has a fairly low IQ because of a brain injury.

After she finished her special reading program, she really started doing well in school.

Now in middle school, she gets better grades than lots of kids. She is in honors math, and she had straight A’s the last quarter. (This quarter she has a few B’s, but she has been sick a lot this quarter.)


36 posted on 04/22/2010 11:30:51 AM PDT by luckystarmom
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: GeorgeSaden
I'm really afraid we're going to lose the English language to other languages that have easier spelling rules, like Italian or more likely, Spanish.

Italian doesn't seem to be much of a threat. When the emergence of new concepts require the adoption of new terminology, the Italians seem to turn to English. For example, most computer terms in Italian, including the word "computer," are from English.

37 posted on 05/25/2010 7:16:05 AM PDT by Fiji Hill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

One word: Kurzweil (Flesch discusss this in IIRC Why
Johnny Still Can’t Read).
P.S. yes I know this is a months old thread but I’ve been
looking up your earlier posts after that amazing Geography
discussion.


38 posted on 09/21/2010 2:08:39 AM PDT by cycjec
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: null and void; BruceDeitrickPrice

It won’t work a bit. Learning a rather minute amount
of spoken Latin helps a lot.


39 posted on 09/21/2010 2:10:11 AM PDT by cycjec
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Absolutely. (another late reply)


40 posted on 09/21/2010 2:12:52 AM PDT by cycjec
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Bloggers & Personal
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson