Skip to comments.New Book On Phonics Explains How Logical English Is
Posted on 02/18/2011 1:01:50 PM PST by BruceDeitrickPrice
Following is review on Amazon:::::
"Memo To Teachers: Come Back To Real Reading--
Starting in 1931, the Education Establishment unleashed Look-Say upon the children of the United States. The result was a rising tide of illiteracy. The number of functional illiterates now exceeds 50,000,000.
The so-called experts who engineered this decline have shown a demonic cleverness in attacking the common sense of phonics, while piling up sophistries that supposedly justify the hoax of Whole Word or Sight Words. It is against this backdrop that Denise Eide writes her book "Uncovering the Logic of English."
Eide quantifies our unnecessary crisis: "The statistics are both numbing and consistent. 32% of fourth graders read well, 34% test below proficiency, and 34% cannot read. Every time I meet an elementary school teacher, I ask if this reflects their experience. They all say it does."
Think of Denise Eide as a professor of phonics. She has laid out all the rules that govern English spelling and pronunciation in an appealing way. Probably every elementary school teacher should have this book; and I suspect there might be some Scrabble and crossword-puzzle fanatics who would enjoy learning the technical aspects of English. (For example, did you know that no English words end with the letters i, u, v and j? Words that do have been borrowed from a foreign language.)
Eide acknowledges that "it is not as easy to learn and spell English as it is most other phonetic languages. Yet a finite number of tools unlock the mystery of 98% of the words in the English language. When these 104 tools are presented, all students can succeed." (Rudolf Flesch, in his 1981 book "Why Johnny STILL Can't Read," used a similar percentage, stating that 97.4% of English spelling is phonetic.)
REVIEW CONTINUES BELOW...
(Excerpt) Read more at amazon.com ...
Note that Eide's book is not a phonics course; it is better described as a phonics manual. I believe her upcoming book "Teaching the Logic of English to All Learners" completes the set. I must mention that there are a dozen excellent phonics programs available, and all the authors disagree, as we should expect, on many details. It is important not to get bogged down in the details, because what matters is the big picture: for 70 years the United States has wasted trillions of hours, and probably trillions of dollars, on a hoax.
The Education Establishment tells many lies about reading, but more and more I'm realizing that all of these lies can be distilled down to the biggest lie of all, which is: there are two ways to teach the reading of English, phonics or Sight Words. Virtually everyone in the school system believes this lie. (Balanced Literacy states specifically that both methods are excellent and we should blend them.)
Personally, I'm persuaded that almost no one reads fluently using Sight Words. Many people learn to read with Sight Words in the sense that they use them as a stepping stone, finally seeing the phonics inside the Sight Words. But probably not even one person in 100 has such a retentive memory that they can actually memorize thousands and thousands of Sight Words, and recall them instantly. In short, virtually all the success that Sight Word experts claim is really an illusion.
I would argue that Sight Words are not only useless but as destructive to the brain as Angel Dust, and should not be considered an option. Here is the true choice: intensive phonics, as outlined in Eide's prescription, or a more literary approach that emphasizes nursery rhymes, singing, sharing stories, etc. Many people learn to read almost spontaneously, just as musical people sing or play piano with little instruction. I published almost a million words without knowing a single phonics rule. As I've learned in dozens of anecdotes, the more verbal kids "figure it out." Remember that first-graders show up at school already recognizing 20,000 spoken words; they speak English words all day. The leap to reading these words is NOT so great as the Education Establishment likes to pretend when concocting excuses for its own dismal failures. (However, having said all this, I do know I would've been better off if I had learned about long A's, silent E's, and all that stuff. As Eide notes, the more you know about the logic of English, the easier it is to learn other languages.)
Here we've come to something I'm starting to call the Phonics Paradox. Smarter, more verbal children -- the very ones you would think could easily master all the phonics rules-- are actually the ones who need them least.
Conversely, the slower, less verbal kids -- the very ones you think would have the most trouble learning the phonics rules -- are precisely those children who most desperately need the phonics rules. The Whole Word charlatans always used the slower students as their alibi. Oh, we wouldn't want to abuse these poor darlings with low verbal skills. How could they possibly memorize 100 phonics rules? The obvious answer is we must make them memorize 10,000 English word-diagrams! But those slower children -- around whom the entire scam has been constructed--never advance very far in the program. They become functional illiterates.
Whole Word, in operation, functions as a Ponzi scheme. The child learns to read 50 words or 100 words, and is soon able to "read" small books with controlled vocabularies. That apparent success keeps the parents quiet. Conversely, the phonics kids are struggling with little details for much of the first year. They can't read a book; some can barely read a sentence. Here's why I say Whole Word is a Ponzi scheme: the apparent early success is actually a lie, and is paid for many times over by years of failure. Meanwhile, the phonics kids who start slow and shaky, end up reading at extraordinary speeds in a year or two.
Another crucial part of the story is that the kids supposedly struggling with all the phonics rules actually ENJOY the process. They like gaining control over this monster that's all around them -- language.
Joan Dunn, a teacher, wrote in 1954 what I'm now taking to be the most profound truth about education: "The children...want to be taught step by step, so that they can see their progress. The duller they are, the more important and immediate is this need."
Virtually all of the scam and nonsense in the public schools is supposedly designed to appeal to the "duller" kids. Haven't you heard this pitch many times: easy school work will seduce them into being real students. The Education Establishment, as usual, has everything backward. Only by systematic, step-by-step instruction can the slower kids be brought up to speed.
Here's the weird truth: memorizing 100 phonics rules is probably the same mental work as memorizing 100 visual symbols. But the 100 graphic symbols are a slow start toward a dead end; while the 100 phonics rules are a true passport, letting children read anything. There's the evil absurdity of Whole Word.
This review is so long because Eide's book is not a world unto itself. It's part of a much bigger debate, known as the Reading Wars. My goal is to persuade all the people messing with Sight Words, Dolch Words and Balanced Literacy that they are wasting their time and hurting their students. Come back to real reading. Denise Eide can be your guide."
For a short look at the reading mess, see "42: Reading Resources" on Improve-Education.org. Article includes list of phonics programs.
Best gift ever, outside of salvation.
“no English words end with the letters i, u, v and j?”
Hmm, I wonder what the etymology of the word “you” is then.
Which is "fish" to those in Rio Linda.
Which is plainly evident across cyberspace, and even here on Free Republic.
I was reading the comments section of a Jackie Evancho video on YouTube last night, and the spelling and grammar of many of the posters was nearly unreadable.
FWIW, my wife and I taught our daughters to read English using the Carden reading method.
The read fluently. My second grader just finished all the Harry Potter books.
We are not native English speakers (Hebrew, Yiddish, French being the language with which I am most comfortable) — my wife being more comfortable than I with English due to spending more time in the USA.
I’ve been very impressed with it.
you is french... english is ye
as in ye odd mofo...
the french apparently, have a different word for everything...
english is a germanic language and the germans had no use for the soft vowels... especially when kicking french buttocks
I suspect it derives from the Romantic “tu,” the French “vous,” and/or the German “du”.
Now to consult the dictionary ...
The I Love Lucy episode with Ricky struggling with "ough" words is priceless.
To this day, I don't know how to pronounce "slough." I think a snake "sluffs" off an old skin, but when ducks land in a prairie marsh, do they land in a "sluff" or a "slaow" or a "sloo" or a what? I read Pilgrim's Progress and The Dog Who Wouldn't Be without a clue.
The Slough of Despond and Exceptions to the Rule, that's English.
It would be so easy to look it up, wouldn't it? But I'm not going to. I'm going to wait until I hear someone use the word in real life.
Please keep in mind that Chinese characters come in one form only (no UPPER CASE, lower case, script, exotic typefaces, etc.) Also, they often have pictorial components that make them easier to recall; English words are extremely difficult to recall as visual symbols.
Second, there are far fewer characters for the average person to deal with. (We say: “If you don’t have your ticket, you can’t get your laundry.” They in effect say; “No ticket, no laundry.” Only 3 characters.)
I’ve read that only the smartest Chinese have a sight-vocabulary of over 20,000 characters. But in English you need 100,000 words to be at the same level of literacy. It’s never going to happen except for Rain Man.
Ordinary American students actually seem to top out at 500-1000 Sight Words. They are classed as functional illiterates. This is the reason for Eide’s statistics that 2/3 of American children aren’t good readers.
The dictionary’s etymology has it as arising from the Old English “eow”, the Frisian “ju”, Saxon “iu”, Dutch “u”, and Old High German “iu” or “eu”.
And it comes in a Kindle edition, too, for $9.99.
Is “thru” really a word or an abbreviation of “through”?
Ghoti—just one shining example of Progressive “thinking.” Surely you’ve played the game; how many other words did you come up with? Flesch’s books were pooh-poohed in the 50s, too. Not by those who read and benefited from them but by the Deweyites that later payed union dues.
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