Skip to comments.In The Clutches of the Sight-Word Monster
Posted on 01/02/2012 7:18:49 PM PST by BruceDeitrickPrice
GOOD INSIGHTS ON WHY MILLIONS OF KIDS CAN'T READ. (A FOLLOW-UP FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN EARLIER POST TITLED "FAKE READING THEORY IS THE SLAVE TRADE OF OUR ERA.")
The country continues to be plagued by illiteracy. The reason is simple. The country continues to be under the heel of some of the most reckless and reprehensible experts imaginable.
They make little children memorize the SHAPES of words, which most little children simply cant do. Ergo, these children experience major reading and cognitive problems.
Don Potter, the phonics guru and as well a teacher in Texas, recently sent me this illuminating note: This has been a banner year for me. I have rescued dozens of students from the clutches of the sight-word monster. I am looking forward to rescuing more in the year to come. The parents marvel that I have been able to improve their children's reading with phonics in a very short time. They are also very upset to learn that their children were suffering, not genetic defects that screwed up neural pathways, but old fashioned artificially induced whole-word dyslexia caused by sight-word instruction. Every student coming to me has a copy of the Dolch Sight Vocabulary List in their Homework Folder.
Note that the parents had embraced the idea that their kids were mentally impaired (dyslexic) but are now shocked to find that the kids are normal! (In fact, its the school that is mentally impaired.) There in a few dozen words is the whole story of dyslexia in our time. Parents and kids accept the schools nutty diagnosis but in many cases will be angry with you if you tell them, sorry, youre fine but you are the victim of a hoax. (I have a video on YouTube called "The Strange Truth About Dyslexia." People leave really violent comments on it.)
QED: the Dolch Sight Vocabulary List should be removed from every school.
Now, I want to give you a little more detail about the reading debate...but not too much! Reading theory quickly becomes murky; and I believe our Education Establishment uses the general confusion to keep their bad ideas in play.
Happily, Ive found an excellent way to explore some of the subtleties. Raymond Laurita was a major crusader 40 years ago; in 1967 he published an article titled Errors Children Make in Reading. Ive cut his article down to the best parts; and I promise you will be glad you read them. They explain how Sight-Words do their evil work:
On hearing the errors of these unfortunate children, the first impulse is to attribute them to a lack of intelligence or even some form of mental aberration. The linguistic monstrosities these children perpetrate appear to be without semblance of logic or consistency...
The primary cause of reading difficulties in virtually all of the over 700 cases of reading disability I have treated over the years was related to difficulties the child encountered in attempting to cope with the problems imposed by whole configurations....
When a child is exposed to a whole word configuration such as could for example, without sufficient preparation, we are literally opening a Pandoras Box of possible confusions....
To the immature child who hasnt developed adequate visual and auditory identity and association between individual language symbols and the words they form, the word could will undoubtedly be confused later with a variety of configurations; among them: cold, called, cloud, canned, cooled, clawed, cord, would, should, etc....It isnt difficult for the more than casual observer to understand why so many children become reading problems. They simply cannot cope fast enough with the need to learn numerous and unrelated whole word configurations on a purely visual basis.
It must be remembered that children who learn by the sight method, and this constitutes the majority of children in the United States, have been scientifically conditioned during the initial exposure period to a learning experience which by its very nature elicits a purely visual response to a configuration without assistance from auditory clues. No sincere educator can pretend that this initial exposure period hasnt a most profound and enduring effect on the immature child, for by a series of carefully arranged stimulus-response activities, he has been literally conditioned to a visual, configurational attack on language. The result is inevitable.
The argument of those who persist in exposing all children indiscriminately to a visual configurational attack is usually based on post-facto reasoning, for they tend to cite the large numbers of children who have learned to read without first making auditory and visual associations with the individual letters of the alphabet. It is my belief and that of others that children who learn to read using a gestalt approach which exposes them to whole word configurations at the outset, are children who have had either prior preparation which prepared them for the experience or are those children gifted with better than average capacities of visual perception, discrimination and memory....
Alex Bannatyne writing in The Disabled Reader, states This latter method, commonly called look-and-say, may be effective with those two thirds of first- and second-grade pupils who are sufficiently gifted in the realm of language to be able to learn to read quickly. I believe that these verbally capable children rapidly teach themselves to analyze words phonetically in spite of a deliberate non-phonetic approach on the part of the teacher. That this is so can easily be tested by asking children who have learned to read well using the look-and-say method to sound out difficult words; this they usually do quite competently....
The subtlety and infinite diversity of the errors that the child becomes subject to in his developing confusion have to be seen to be believed....
Another example saw a child respond to the word grab with the response drag. This is an extremely common type of error for it has in addition to the visual confusion an overlay of confused auditory association. The consonant blends gr and dr are extremely difficult to differentiate for the child with inadequate auditory perception and discrimination. The two sounds are very similar as are the lip movements which are made to create them. In addition to the auditory confusion and the close configurational pattern of the two words, the child was also reversing the initial and final consonants. This child also referred to a furry animal as a funny animal and read about a character who went swimming in the winter instead of in the water. Both of these errors had a configurational base with the error involving the words furry and funny complicated by a discrimination confusion between the n and the r. This child also made the following progression in mistaking the word Oh. He went from oh to on to no and finally concluded the series with not.
These confusions are not extreme examples of severely disabled children but are instead rather common samples that every remedial teacher will meet on a given day if the time is taken to record the mistakes children make.
Often a child will read a sentence such as: The little boy went into the jungle and saw a big giraffe. and substitute for the last word: elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus or even dinosaur. Most adults fail to realize the subtle yet logical cause for this kind of mistake. It is really very logical for the child who has been conditioned to respond to visual stimuli. He isnt thinking in terms of auditory clues, rather he is sure only that the little boy has seen some kind of large jungle animal. Unless he is a capable, linguistically talented child, his auditory associational training hasnt prepared him for a total attack on the word, thus why shouldnt it be a hippopotamus, elephant, rhinoceros or even a dinosaur. They are all big words in terms of size; they are all large animals and to the small child the possibility of a dinosaur residing in the depths of the jungle is a distinct possibility....
Observing a child who has lost some of this marvelous human capacity to respond with reasoning and logic, is a terribly depressing sight, and when one considers the number of times that human frailty in the form of faulty teaching and inadequate methodology has been the cause of this loss, the situation takes on the aspects of a tragedy....
QED: the Dolch Sight Vocabulary List is the reason we have 50 million functional illiterates. It should be removed from every school. All the phonics experts say that children learn to read in the first grade. The Whole Word maniacs say that children will read some day, maybe, perhaps in middle school, but dont be surprised if they experience ADHD, depression, dyslexia, and chronic illiteracy.
Don Potter publishes this article and many like it on donpotter.net. His site is an archive of historically important material.
My own focus is on providing artillery for parents to use in their daily battles with school administrators. Many of these officials may actually have no idea how far over to the dark side they have drifted. (They make the mistake of trusting the pronouncements coming down from on high.) So send them a copy of this post or the article titled: Fake Reading Theory is the Slave Trade of Our Era. (on RightSideNews)
(Improve-Education.org also has 10 articles about reading.)
thank you teachers union
So what happens in sight reading when you spot a word you haven’t sighted before. Yeah( I know it should be seen, LOL)
the teachers union is evil incarnate
“...sight reading is same/same as reading Chinese or other Asian languages”
Not really, if it was, we wouldn’t have the reading mess - after all, they do quite well learning their languages. No, the Asian languages are visual-based. There are no capital letters in “zjur” or whatever the hell they call it, there isn’t italics, there isn’t anything to confuse them. Those languages do work by sight.
No, English is a Phonics-based language. The schools tried Whole Language (sight-reading) and it failed. So what did they do? They got rid of Whole Language (yea) and replaced it with Sight-Words (sight-reading), through THIRD GRADE - a whole 315 of them words. Then they go to phonics (i.e., after the kid is 9 YEARS OLD). By then, they’ve accomplished their goal - the AMERICAN kid will be a crappy reader for life, thus helping to make up for our past sins around the world.
So I will only say to people out there with young kids - DO NOT LET THEM ‘LEARN’ READING THIS WAY!!! I realize that a lot of you will still send you kids to public school, and I’m not here to judge you on that, but whatever you do, DO NOT let them be taught sight words before they learn to actually read - it will destroy them (same advice for kids going to private schools).
Any normal kid can learn to read through phonics by Age 5. Teach them - or have them taught, but make darn sure that they can read BEFORE they step into Kindergarten. You get ONE CHANCE to get this right for each of your kids, don’t blow it.
Bump for later reading.
This reads like the la leche league nazis who drove my wife into nearly fatal post partem depression. It's sick.
I'm no fan of the public schools, but blind faith in a system of "phonics" rules in a language that's been blended from Romance, Germanic, and Celtic tongues is just stupid. You're as bad as the Dolch only crowd.
Phonics only is just as abusive to kids as training them up on sight words only. Get a life. Use the tools that work, when they work. Parts of English are phonics based. Parts are not. Get over it.
“Phonics only is just as abusive to kids as training them up on sight words only. Get a life. Use the tools that work, when they work. Parts of English are phonics based. Parts are not. Get over it. “
One of the hard things in life for a lot of conservatives to grasp is that things CAN be black and white. Phonics is clearly a case of that. Just as traditional math vs. fuzzy math is also a no-brainer.
I’m sorry if you put your faith in sight-words (or didn’t know better at the time)...but I’m really trying to reach parents that still have options.
My mom used to tell me that the first word I read out loud was “watermelon” from a grocery ad when I was 4 years old. That is a pretty easy word to sound out. A year afterwards I could spell “Albuquerque.” It was no big deal to me, but again it sounds out easily except for the “qu” quirk (and Q is virtually always followed by U in English so it is not a hard rule). It stuns me that this was considered precocious! English speaking parents ought to help kids sound out words from the earliest age they can begin to recognize letters in words. A non-phonics-aided approach stinks at producing competent spellers, let alone readers.
Don’t put them into the public school period.....It is not only designed intentionally to destroy intelligence, but it is specifically designed to target morality and Christian/Jewish Ethics——destroy that paradigm and replace it with the moral relativism of Marx/heathens/pagans/muslims.
BK Eakman’s book, THe Cloning of the American Mind explains how the strands and methodologies are immersed in BF SKINNER behaviorism to elicit one response-—from children—the Marxist/hedonist one.
Billy Ayers and cultural Marxists from the 30’s on—have infiltrated all textbooks to totally transform us—remove the Christian paradigm that we have always operated under and replace it with Marxism-—where there is no difference between boys and girls-—they are interchangeable-—hell with science and biology and Truth—there is no God—no Right and Wrong.
Just what “feels good, Do it”-—the cultural Marxist pervert Marcuse. Destroy the morality of children-—corrupt them—fill their heads with nonsense—remove the Classics—everything which teaches Virtue—Duty =Justice Truth and replace it with sodomy and put up heroes like Milk who was a pederast and like the pederast and homosexual founder who was a Communist—Hays.
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
You’ve yet to answer this question, so I predict that you will ignore this one as well: how do you explain all those countries that out score us on literacy, yet have written languages that aren’t phonetic? Of choose you can’t, or won’t, because phonics is not the answer.
Rarely do I see such arrogance combined with such a profound lack of knowledge about a topic. Ah, but this is the internet, where everyone gets to pretend that his opinion is sound. You sound exactly like a government school employee.
Odd. I taught my children whole wood in Homeschool because I recognized that phonics is a sham, and as adults now, they are doing fine.
“all our kids learned to read phonetically at home and well before the rest of their class “
So here are my questions (based on my other response, which wasn’t as friendly):
1) Did you EVER try to get them to read ANY words by sight (i.e., memorizing the shape of the word) before they could sound out words?
2) Are any of them crappy readers today?
3) Do any of them have dyslexia?
4) Do you see ANY value at all in doing Sight Words first, or in parallel with phonics?
They dropped phonics because of Cultural Marxist infiltration-—Communists were writing and designing all curricula (Dr. Ruggs, Dr. Counts) and when parents in the 30’s revolted because for the first time in the history of America we were putting illiterates out—who went to school for years and still couldn’t read-—AND
THEY agreed to put “phonics” back in to appease the angry parents. What the parents didn’t understand was that the Marxists were intentionally destroying the ability to be educated-—and when they replaced it-—it was a pseudo-phonics-—to trick parents.
Look up the difference between Explicit and Implicit phonics. Many parents THINK there schools teach “Phonics” but they are WRONG-—FOOLED by the Billy Ayers type who are writing all the Curricula.
Read Beverly Eakman’s book-—it will make you sick and want to burn ALL TEXTBOOKS__DESTROY DOE—ALL UNIONS etc. We have to get local control of schools and go back to Classical Education. YESTERDAY!!!!!
If your schools (and most are) teaching IMPLICIT phonics GET IT OUT!!! These curricula writers are evil-—this is all intentional folks-—burn all of Billy Ayers stuff-—worldview is in all the texts and they will be little hedonists/atheists/marxist when they go through these textbooks.
“My mom used to tell me that the first word I read out loud was watermelon from a grocery ad when I was 4 years old. “
My oldest sounded out “book store” when he just under 4 years old. I remember it like it was yesterday, because prior to that, I really thought that I might be abusing him, by making him learn all these weird sounds. HE HATED IT!!! And I zero background in how to teach it and nothing assisting me - I was totally winging it (but I did read enough Thomas Sowell to know that I was taking the right approach).
One he sounded out that word, it was 6 months until he read Hamlet cover to cover, playing out the parts. He never looked back. Needless to say, I did the same with my other kids.
Yes, that’s my thesis: “DO NOT LET THEM LEARN READING THIS WAY!!...make darn sure that they can read BEFORE they step into Kindergarten!”
Exactly. The craziness continues in many schools. So inoculate children before they go to school. Ages 2-5. Plenty of time. Then, if the kid is shown a Dolch word but reads it phonetically, he’s safe.
I think this is the really simple, cheap way to save the country, and to defeat what Potter called “the sight-word monster.”
[This strategy is the basis of “54: Preemptive Reading” (just Google title) on Improve-Education.org. Also see something new: “61: Early Literacy Pack.”]
“Dont put them into the public school period.....It is not only designed intentionally to destroy intelligence, but it is specifically designed to target morality and Christian/Jewish Ethicsdestroy that paradigm and replace it with the moral relativism of Marx/heathens/pagans/muslims.”
Obviously I won’t argue with you...but, like it or not, most FReepers will do that. But even the private schools (at least here in Texas) get dragged down by the public schools...it is a mess. Parents really have to take control of at least the critical areas of education (i.e., math and reading).
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