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What Is The Biggest Crime in American History?? I Say "Whole Word"
RightSideNews.com ^ | Nov. 29, 2010 | Bruce Deitrick Price

Posted on 12/01/2010 3:29:16 PM PST by BruceDeitrickPrice

1955 is a pivotal year in American history. This was the year Rudolf Flesch published “Why Johnny Can’t Read,” a book that explained the country’s illiteracy crisis.

The biggest crime in American history didn’t start that year; but Flesch exposed it and forced people to confront it. The crime actually began 20 years earlier...

Historically, most Americans could read; literacy rates went up and up, until about 1935. That was when progressive educators discarded phonics and forced Look-say into the public schools. (This method made children memorize the shapes of words, while ignoring the letters and their sounds.)

Meanwhile, the country was suffering through the Great Depression from 1930 to 1940, World War II from 1940 to 1945, and then the slow recovery from both. People were busy and distracted, not paying much attention to education.

However, even by 1945, there was mounting evidence that something horrible was unfolding. The US military had to reject almost a million young men due to poor reading skills.

In 1950, Paul Witty, one of the foremost Look-say experts, mused: "Why are there so many poor readers in our schools?...Is it true that one-third of our high school students can't read at the fifth grade level? That's what one magazine writer estimated in 1946. Other articles have painted almost as bleak a picture."

Rudolf Flesch in 1955 explained the problem, noting, “I’m not accusing the reading ‘experts’ of wickedness or malice...All I’m saying is that their theories are wrong and that the application of those theories has done untold harm to our younger generation.”

Flesch’s book became a bestseller, one of the most talked-about books of the century. So at this point everyone knew the problem; and they knew the answer.

The Education Establishment reacted in a surprising way.....CONTINUES BELOW

(Excerpt) Read more at rightsidenews.com ...


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: education; k12; reading; socialism
...They savaged Flesch and formed the International Reading Association (IRA), a huge professional organization with one goal: to keep Look-say (later known as Whole Word) in the public schools.... This is where a scandal story (“Experts back wrong theory”) became a crime story (“Syndicate falsifies evidence, lies to public, intimidates witnesses”).

When the Education Establishment introduced Look-say circa 1935, there was only a rickety scaffolding of theory to justify this drastic move...The experts had done no rigorous testing. But by 1955, most of the nation’s children had been used as guinea pigs, thereby producing a vast library of gloomy data. That’s why 1955 is a pivot point. The educators had to know, even without Flesch, they were destroying children and decreasing literacy; but they went right on.

Flesch was stunned by these developments... He naively assumed that once the problem was explained, everyone would work together to change course. The opposite happened. He was in a war.

In 1958 two pro-phonics researchers published “Reading, Chaos and Cure,” a book that gives us a vivid sense of the period following Flesch’s book, as scandal morphed into crime. The authors (Terman and Walcutt) present a lot of statistics and anecdotes contrasting school districts using phonics versus those using Whole Word. They report that when reading is properly taught, virtually every five-year-old easily learns to read. These two experts were optimistic that the tide was turning, that everybody had to embrace the obvious solution, phonics.

Wrong again. The Education Establishment was actually able to discredit phonics and to keep Whole Word as the common way to teach reading from the late 1950s to 2000, despite declining literacy and a tsunami of weird mental and emotional problems such as dyslexia and ADHD.

Circa 2000 the Education Establishment retreated to the extent that they embraced a watered-down method called Balanced Literacy. But they were still forcing sight-words (also known as Dolch Words) into the first grade. So, from “Why Johnny Can’t Read” to now, that’s 55 years of unremitting stupidity and malfeasance.

If these people are ideological fanatics, everything makes perfect sense. Or If they are the most greedy little careerists ever. Or if they are the biggest fools in the universe. Unfortunately, none of these people has made a confession, so we don’t know for sure. My own guess is that the people at the very top had to be far-left ideologues. Nobody else could do to millions of children what these people did.

I tend to think that the bureaucrats in the middle and at lower levels were like guards in German prison camps: carrying out orders, trying to be good soldiers.

Whatever the motives, the damage that these people did is vast. The figure typically used is 50 million functional illiterates.

American public schools became a twilight zone where common sense was sent into exile, and millions of children had to endure years of suffering as they slowly accepted the idea that they would never read a book. (Everyone else seems to read easily--that’s what makes it so devastating for the victims.) They might work another 50 years as second-class citizens, deprived in an operational sense of 5 to 15 IQ points, working at jobs a level or two below what should have been.

Remember, Whole Word not only hides from you the right way to read, it gives you a lot of bad habits that permanently prevent you from understanding your affliction or figuring a way out of it. Poor readers assume they were born without, so to speak, the reading gene.

People who can’t read can rarely be successful in our society. So the reading conspiracy, with its attendant plague of illiteracy, is for me clearly the greatest crime in American history. So many millions of victims, over so many decades, the crime and its dolorous effects occurring anew each day, dragging down the entire society.

What is a bigger crime?

(For more about reading, see “42: Reading Resources” on Improve-Education.org.)

-----------

That's article as it appears on RightSideNews. If you can refute this, please explain in comments.

If you can't refute it, then please tell everyone you know to read it.

1 posted on 12/01/2010 3:29:21 PM PST by BruceDeitrickPrice
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice
(Excerpt) Read more at rightsidenews.com ...

Why not just post it here?

Are we your free blog hit supply or what?

2 posted on 12/01/2010 3:32:28 PM PST by humblegunner (Pablo is very wily)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

I taught 1st grade in Boston from 1954-1956.

Phonics was used to teach reading.

When my own kids attended school in another city in the 60’s and 70’s phonics was out.


3 posted on 12/01/2010 3:37:52 PM PST by Mears
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice
I had an idiot liberal actually try to tell me this is good-

I asked how do you read a word that you've never seen before? he said “well then you sound out the letters”

and I asked him “How if you've never learned phonics???”

He assisted it was slower to sound out every syllable of every word- I had to explain that after you learn phonics and see a word a million times then you no longer are sounding it out, but doing your own ‘look-say’ by experience- but you never get that experience if you never learn phonics in the first place

This can ONLY be a liberal progressive attempt to undermine literacy

4 posted on 12/01/2010 3:38:56 PM PST by Mr. K ('Profiling' you would be worse than grabbing your balls!)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice
...literacy rates went up and up, until about 1935. That was when progressive educators discarded phonics and forced Look-say into the public schools. (This method made children memorize the shapes of words, while ignoring the letters and their sounds.)

I don't get it. I attended elementary school from 1943 until 1951 in Chicago, learning to read quite well by the late 40s. I don't recall being taught by the "whole-word, look-say method." I distinctly remember first learning the sounds of the letters of the alphabet and then sounding out the first words I read in "Dick and Jane."

5 posted on 12/01/2010 3:40:18 PM PST by luvbach1 (Stop Barry now. He can't help himself.)
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To: humblegunner

Did you bother to even read beyond the actual post? He put the rest of the article in his first comment. Why don’t you take the time to look at the entire thread before jumping on the guy about your favorite pet peeve?


6 posted on 12/01/2010 3:41:14 PM PST by The4thHorseman
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice
I learned to read early and very well by Whole Word - my poor parents had to read me Danny and the Dinosaur until I had it memorized. I wasn't very good at sounding out new words until I was 8 or so, and had problems with never-heard words until 11 or so (menacholy, anyone?) The phonics lessons in first and second grade baffled me. What was the point?

OTOH, you can't really teach Whole Word, not explicitly, just the way I learned it, so when my husband and I taught our children, it was phonics, rhymes and alliterations - and whatever Whole Word snuck in from reading out loud. Thnnk goodness it was not Danny very often, usually Are You My Mother?

7 posted on 12/01/2010 3:43:05 PM PST by heartwood
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To: Mears

I learned to read about 1950. Dick, Jane, Spot and Puff for me.


8 posted on 12/01/2010 3:47:41 PM PST by Graybeard58
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To: Graybeard58

Biggest crime in American History?

In spite of raising literates and whizzes, the “smart” populace (some 340 million?) got snake oiled by Obama. All the education in the world did not help save themselves.


9 posted on 12/01/2010 3:53:31 PM PST by himno hero
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To: Graybeard58

Biggest crime in American History?

In spite of raising literates and whizzes, the “smart” populace (some 340 million?) got snake oiled by Obama. All the education in the world did not help save themselves.


10 posted on 12/01/2010 3:53:54 PM PST by himno hero
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To: Mears

I was taught Phonics in the very late 50’s as I learned to read in a private school. Some years later in public school, my reading and comprehension was so good that it was off the scale. I still read a lot thats to a great start.


11 posted on 12/01/2010 4:01:52 PM PST by rightly_dividing (1 Cor. 15:1-4)
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To: Mr. K

Of course. And liberals apply the same logic to personal income as they do to reading. Where they expect people to read without first having a command of phonics and a grasp of spelling and syntax, they also expect people to earn substantial incomes (’a living wage’) without a decent education, a solid work ethic, experience, ability, talent, wisdom, and etc.

At least they don’t blame people who can read for the inabilities of people who can’t the same way they blame the successful for the failures of the chronically unsuccessful.


12 posted on 12/01/2010 4:06:01 PM PST by MeganC (January 20, 2013)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Alex - I’ll take “what is the Fed?” for a hundred trilion.


13 posted on 12/01/2010 4:08:53 PM PST by tired1 (Federalize the Fed)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

I was taught the alphabet at home and thankfully learned phonics at school. I started reading the newspaper by age six. My stumbling block was New Math. My mother taught me how to do long division the old fashioned way.


14 posted on 12/01/2010 4:12:06 PM PST by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: Graybeard58

If you have “Dick, Jane, Spot, and Puff” in your background, you were taught the ‘Look-Say” method.

Proof? Look at the words “Dick” and “Jane” Both words require more information than a brand new reader possesses. The beginning readers using phonics focus on phonemes and learn families. Such as the “at” family with varying consonanat beginnings.

So yes, “Dick and Jane” kids were not taught phonetically - now that doesn’t mean that individual teachers may have inserted phonics on their own, but they did it against the then current beliefs.


15 posted on 12/01/2010 4:16:36 PM PST by SoftballMominVA
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

I want to scream at the TV whenever I see those “Your Baby Can Read” commercials. My Mom learned to read by using the “Whole Word” method and it has been a huge frustration her throughout her life. She can’t figure a word out if she hasn’t seen it before so she ends up replacing it with a word that looks similar. Needless to say, that doesn’t work. Then she gets frustrated because it doesn’t make any sense.

I was taught with the phonics method and it’s what I used to teach my kids. Both were reading at extremely high elementary levels even before entering kindergarten and college levels before they entered middle school.

Phonics is the only system that makes logical sense to me. As noted above, using Whole Word, how can you know a word if you’ve never seen it before?


16 posted on 12/01/2010 4:42:08 PM PST by nodumbblonde ("The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity." - Ayn Rand)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice
"Whole word" was simply about giving cover to a certain class of functionally-illiterate, affirmative-actioned members of teachers unions.
17 posted on 12/01/2010 4:48:55 PM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (DEFCON I ALERT: The federal cancer has metastasized. All personnel report to their battle stations.)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

You are so right. People don’t know what their kids aren’t being taught. All “whole word” does is provide employment for remedial reading teachers. The so-called schools of education at our universities should be burned down.


18 posted on 12/01/2010 5:01:24 PM PST by La Lydia
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To: SoftballMominVA

My school used Dick and Jane(mid-50’s), but I was reading before I started kindergarten. When the teacher found out I could read, she used me to keep the class occupied whenever she had to go out of the room (smoke, bathroom, whatever).


19 posted on 12/01/2010 5:03:15 PM PST by Lynne
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice
i reed just fine.

I talk good too.

20 posted on 12/01/2010 5:04:22 PM PST by SIDENET ("If that's your best, your best won't do." -Dee Snider)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

When my oldest son was in first grade his teacher called and told me he was having difficulty with his reading. Since they didn’t send homework home I stopped into his class one morning to see what was going on. In those days they would let parents into the classroom unannounced. Within about 60 seconds I understood the problem...whole word technique.

When the child got home that afternoon we immediately started our tutoring on reading that lasted almost every evening for 4 years. My mother had been a teacher so I had some very old textbooks. The boy learned very well.

Imagine my amazement one day when the older son was at school and the 2 1/2 year old brought in one of his story books and said, “Mom, I’m going to read this to you.” And, he did. He stumbled over the word “tow” pronoucing it as if it rhymed with “cow” but other than that got every word right. So, I got another book from a box that I knew he’d never seen or had read to him. Again, he read it almost perfectly. He’d picked up reading just by watching the tutoring lessons. I am a firm beliver in phonics to start. Whole word is fine once the reader has become more experienced.


21 posted on 12/01/2010 5:14:15 PM PST by CH3CN
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To: heartwood

I also learned to read whole words all by myself, dont know how. Started at 4 years old. My parents read constantly, house was full of books.


22 posted on 12/01/2010 5:21:13 PM PST by kabumpo (Kabumpo)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

On the other hand, 1955 or thereabouts was when just about every household got a TV. My mother, who was a teacher, always blamed the downward trend on that, wouldnt have a TV in the house.


23 posted on 12/01/2010 5:25:33 PM PST by kabumpo (Kabumpo)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Very interesting article. All this nonsense makes a lot more sense once you understand that “public education” as we know it has never been about educating young people in this country.


24 posted on 12/01/2010 5:26:53 PM PST by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice
Well ... the biggest crime in American History is in the White House, THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT IN CHIEF!

But ...more to your point is the FACT that, their trying to no-longer teach Cursive "long-hand" writing or reading.

What better way to turn the United States youth into "Slaves" and destroy this country!!???!

25 posted on 12/01/2010 5:27:43 PM PST by Yosemitest (It's simple, fight or die.)
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To: Mears

I learned via phonics in the mid 50s, got in before the ship sailed.

We home schooled. Teaching phonics was easy. With very little effort our daughter (now 27) was reading at (public school) 12th grade level by age 11.

What turned out to be a sort of funny (unexpected) result was that she was able to read books quite well that were a lot ahead of her maturity level. It was a never ending stream of “Daddy what does (insert big word here) mean?” Finally we gave her a dictionary and asked her to look up at least some of the words.

It also meant we had to screen what she was reading because in order to get books that were on par with her reading ability, many times the *content* was somewhat ahead of what an 11 year old should be exposed to.


26 posted on 12/01/2010 5:31:38 PM PST by ChildOfThe60s ( If you can remember the 60s....you weren't really there)
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To: La Lydia
My cousin teaches fifth grade, and she's so angry that she is NOT "allowed" to document the failure of a student, because of the student's failure to pay attention in class, do homework, or even attend class.
She says the administration won't allow her to document that the student has no interest in school, and won't put forth any effort at all.
She can't discipline a student, she can only send them to the principle's office for disrupting the class.
She says that she's had enough!
She's retiring at 25 years of service at the age of 53, and her pension will be about $1,800 per month.
27 posted on 12/01/2010 5:36:35 PM PST by Yosemitest (It's simple, fight or die.)
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To: luvbach1

Schools in US vary quite tremendously, even neighborhood to neighborhood. I have to generalize.

Behind closed doors, many teachers saved people from Whole Word—perhaps you were one. And never forget: the smarter kids figure it out; the slower kids are destroyed.

The Terman-Walcutt book in 1958 studied school districts 25 miles apart that were doing opposite methods. Amazing. Even as Whole Word gained a stranglehold, there were always islands of sanity. But the IRA was able to pretend that phonics didn’t work. (If you want more, Google “30: The War Against Reading.”


28 posted on 12/01/2010 6:03:13 PM PST by BruceDeitrickPrice (education reform)
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To: Yosemitest

To La Lydia,

Here is a sad report from a Canadian newsletter: “As a retired high school teacher, from time to time I chat with former colleagues who are still in the trenches. They tell me that it has come to pass that grade 12 teachers now have to present and defend a full report on any student who fails his or her course. There is no suggestion that the student should have to justify his or her being elevated to a passing grade. Needless to say, it is in the interests of a quiet life for teachers not to present any failures...”

Canada bought into all our stupid ideas and tends to stay a little ahead of us. So I’m not feeling optimistic.


29 posted on 12/01/2010 6:22:34 PM PST by BruceDeitrickPrice (education reform)
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To: ChildOfThe60s

Good for you.

She sounds like a wonderful young woman.


30 posted on 12/01/2010 6:43:10 PM PST by Mears
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To: SoftballMominVA
now that doesn’t mean that individual teachers may have inserted phonics on their own, but they did it against the then current beliefs.

My teacher may have but that was 60 years ago. I now have to concentrate on remembering things like what I had for breakfast this morning.

I am now remembering that there was a "Sally" in that book also and "Zeke" who seemed to be always be raking leaves when the children stopped to chat with him.

31 posted on 12/01/2010 6:59:26 PM PST by Graybeard58
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

The biggest crime in America was the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank.


32 posted on 12/01/2010 7:45:23 PM PST by Chewbacca (woof woof. That's my other wookie impression.)
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To: Graybeard58

Those were the books I used teaching in the mid-fiftes———and don’t forget Baby Sally.


33 posted on 12/01/2010 8:01:12 PM PST by Mears
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To: Graybeard58

There was something about Zeke I always found unsettling.


34 posted on 12/01/2010 8:33:19 PM PST by Thrownatbirth (.....Iraq Invasion fan since '91.)
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To: luvbach1
I don't get it. I attended elementary school from 1943 until 1951 in Chicago, learning to read quite well by the late 40s. I don't recall being taught by the "whole-word, look-say method." I distinctly remember first learning the sounds of the letters of the alphabet and then sounding out the first words I read in "Dick and Jane."

Looky-Sayey was there, it was just that your teachers had still learnt by phonics and were still instinctively applying those methods.

But "Dick and Jane" is the whole word system: Books structured to use only those words the child is scheduled to be "taught to recognise". You don't imagine any child would read those books for entertainment, do you?

35 posted on 12/01/2010 10:35:02 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx)
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To: Oztrich Boy

I didn’t realize “Dick and Jane” was the whole-word method because my teacher obviously employed phonetics. And no, we did not read it for entertainment. We shortly reserved that To Edgsr Rice Burroughs and Mark Twain books, and many others, for this was the infancy of TV.


36 posted on 12/01/2010 10:48:05 PM PST by luvbach1 (Stop Barry now. He can't help himself.)
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To: Yosemitest

My friend’s wife quit the school system 3 years short of retirement just to get out of the maddness.


37 posted on 12/02/2010 4:02:36 AM PST by rightly_dividing (1 Cor. 15:1-4)
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To: Thrownatbirth
There was something about Zeke I always found unsettling.

Yeah, I kinda suspected that he was the neighborhood perv.

I remember the look in his eye when he was talking to Dick.

38 posted on 12/02/2010 4:46:31 AM PST by Graybeard58
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To: Chewbacca

Yes, I’ve heard that central banks are bad. But I don’t know where the damage shows up. Can you make a case that millions of individuals are physically, emotionally or financially hurt, as happens with Whole Word?


39 posted on 12/02/2010 12:08:17 PM PST by BruceDeitrickPrice (education reform)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

There’s an excellent chronology of research and publications
proving your claim at thephonicspage.org , “Reading History”
Brain imaging research is now feasible, that’s one recent
item. Rudolf Flesch’s update c. 1981 Why Johnny *Still*
Can’t Read is better than the original IMO. It has one
conclusive argument agains the whole word folks: Kurzweil
machines. These are the machines that read books to visually
impaired people. English has rather more rules, but reading
English is rule based. Machines can’t use intuition, they
need rules.


40 posted on 12/10/2010 4:29:47 AM PST by cycjec
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