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Missouri: Still Making Them Illiterate After All These Years
August 15, 2011 | Bruce Deitrick Price

Posted on 08/15/2011 3:49:34 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice

A reading coach in Missouri told me a revealing story.

A nine-year-old boy, unable to read; showed up for remedial help. Pointing at “bead,” the tutor explained, “When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking.”

The puzzled third-grader looked up and asked: “What’s a vowel?”

Which prompts the question: “Has the state of Missouri lost its mind?”

Specifically, the school board members, administrators, superintendents, principals, politicians, civic leaders, and all the other people in charge of public education, all the people who let a smart boy reach the third-grade without being able to read. What process of deliberate non-education allows this?

“What’s a vowel??” Isn’t that like asking what’s a number, what’s a street, what’s an hour?

I blame all these officials, these Hard Hearted Hannahs, who seem not to care that reading is the one essential skill. What are these officials afraid of, that American children might actually become literate? That they might become engineers or skilled workers, people who can build a TV or something else to help us compete against the Chinese. On the other hand, such kids might learn to think for themselves. Perhaps some officials don’t want to take that chance.

Of course, this anecdote indicts only a single school in one Missouri city. To be fair, literacy statistics suggest that tens of thousands of schools, all over the country, are equally indictable. Here is what must be the single most-repeated phrase in all of American journalism for the past 50 years: “One-third of fourth graders can’t read at grade level.” That’s the third that won’t finish high school, many ending up in jail after stealing your car.

To recap: this is a smart kid. He’s nine years old. He’s in the third grade. He can’t read. And he wants to know, “What’s a vowel?” He should’ve learned what a vowel is in the first-grade at the same time he was learning to read.

How does this happen? Because many schools refuse to teach reading in the common sense, practical way generally known as phonics. All phonics experts say that kids routinely learn to read in the first grade or, for sure, by the second. Who in their right mind would choose a method that’s slower, much slower? By third-grade children should be reading simple (but real) books that they select for themselves.

Some in the Education Establishment are still addicted to Whole Word, Sight-Words and Dolch Words (all the same). This rigamarole pushes phonics out of the schools, exactly the opposite of sane practice. When you’re talking about a phonetic language, phonics is just another word for common sense. Conversely, sight-words are the artificial, exotic, alien, weird, sophistical, more or less sociopathic plan. That’s not too strong a word. Whole Word does not work; second, it invariably creates psychological difficulties (e.g., ADHD, dyslexia). Hard Hearted Hannahs, indeed.

Around 1950 top educators were quite candid about their goals. They wanted to remove academic content from the schools. Instead, they wanted to stress “real needs” and “life adjustment”--practical things like filling out application forms. Literacy was not a priority. One principal famously said that his colleagues looked forward to a time when reading would not be considered any more valuable a skill than sewing or baking. This quack’s intellectual descendants are winning.

Learning to bake a cake leads to baking a cake. Reading opens up a universe of possibilities, including thousands of career options.

Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld summed up the whole sorry story in a few sentences: “The top educators took power over the education system by promoting their own disciples and excluding all others. They took control of the major colleges of education: Columbia, Chicago, Palo Alto, etc. They commissioned books to be written promoting whole-word instruction. And they got publishers to publish the new programs because the professors were in a position to get these new primers purchased by virtually every public school system in the country. Many whole-language advocates are simply the latest of the socialists who are willing to destroy this country in order to change it.”

Those are the people who run Missouri, evidently. And you can bet that huge sums of money are wasted on bad programs, even as the leaders of this state announce in speeches and on websites their deep devotion to education.

Kind of reminds you of a song, doesn’t it?

They got a gang there,
A mean old gang there,
With a heart just like a stone.


I saw them at the seashore with a great big pan.
There were Hannahs pouring water on a drowning man.


They call them Hard Hearted Hannahs,
These Scamps from Savannah,
The meanest gang in town.

--------------------

(Technical note: many schools brag that they teach “intrinsic phonics” or “embedded phonics,” both being examples of partial phonics. What’s needed is real phonics, that, is, children learn the alphabet, then the sounds of the letters, then the simple blends (ba-), then more complex blends (bat-), then they’re reading. If kids in your local schools aren’t learning to read by second grade, find out what bad program is being used and why.

Protect your children from bad reading programs. For a short description of the steps most people follow in learning to read, see “56: Preemptive Reading--Teach Your Child Early."
http://www.improve-education.org/id81.html )

//////


TOPICS: Education; History; Reference; Society
KEYWORDS: education; k12; learningtoread; primaryschools; publicschools; read; reading
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1 posted on 08/15/2011 3:49:42 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

A nine-year-old boy, unable to read; showed up for remedial help. Pointing at “bead,” the tutor explained, “When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking.” The puzzled third-grader looked up and asked: “What’s a vowel?”

He probably meant “what do a vowel be?”


2 posted on 08/15/2011 3:52:21 PM PDT by jessduntno (Obama shanks. America tanks.)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice
“When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking.”

That rule works for "bead", but not for "chief" or "brief" or even "Shiite."

3 posted on 08/15/2011 3:53:06 PM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: metmom; wintertime; Impy; fieldmarshaldj

The public schools have never been bastions of educational excellence. Americans were complaining about them from their first day. Obviously, they’re getting worse. In my own case, I was helped by shows like Sesame Street, Zoom, and The Electric Company, as well as my mother teaching me to read. If not for them, I can’t imagine how little I’d know.


4 posted on 08/15/2011 3:56:21 PM PDT by Clintonfatigued (Illegal aliens collect welfare checks that Americans won't collect)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

What, in Heaven’s name, is a “Dolch” word?

We need more schools like this one:

http://www.ridgeviewclassical.com/


5 posted on 08/15/2011 3:57:35 PM PDT by goldi (')
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46 Days And FR Is Still Short Of Its Goal

We Are In A Fight For Our Republic

Are You In Or Are You Out?

Support Free Republic

6 posted on 08/15/2011 4:01:22 PM PDT by DJ MacWoW (America! The wolves are here! What will you do?)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice
Around 1950 top educators were quite candid about their goals.

Socialist revolution first (through the minds of the children) - academics later.

This is why the children coming out of the government schools are ignorant and more like untamed animals than humans. No morals, no ethics, no reason, no laws.

7 posted on 08/15/2011 4:02:52 PM PDT by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: Pearls Before Swine

There are always exceptions to the spelling/phonics rules and good teachers point that out. This is no reason to throw out the entire system as they did starting in the 60’s.


8 posted on 08/15/2011 4:11:25 PM PDT by FrdmLvr (culture, language, borders)
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To: goldi

Look-say, Sight Words, Whole Word, Whole Language, Dolch words, and others —all mean the same thing.

The Education Establishment constantly invented new marketing terms for their favorite gimmick, so parents would be too confused to resist.

You can Google “sight words” or “dolch words” and find hundreds of websites that are promoting the same lists of words that kids are supposed to memorize.

(Edward Dolch was an educator.)


9 posted on 08/15/2011 4:16:21 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice (education reform)
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To: goldi

Look-say, Sight Words, Whole Word, Whole Language, Dolch words, and others —all mean essentially the same thing.

The Education Establishment constantly invented new marketing terms for their favorite gimmick, so parents would be too confused to resist.

You can Google “sight words” or “dolch words” and find hundreds of websites that are promoting the same lists of words that kids are supposed to memorize.

(Edward Dolch was an educator.)


10 posted on 08/15/2011 4:17:01 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice (education reform)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

“What are these officials afraid of, that American children might actually become literate? “

Honestly, yes.


11 posted on 08/15/2011 4:21:00 PM PDT by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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To: FrdmLvr
There are always exceptions to the spelling/phonics rules and good teachers point that out.

I agree--I'm a big phonics fan. I don't remember the stated rule of the leading vowel running the show from my learning days, tho.

12 posted on 08/15/2011 4:23:56 PM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Back in the 70s, my wife and I went to our daughter’s 9th grade open house at her junior high school. Mr. So-and-so gave all the parents the courtesy of showing up wearing a hunting shirt, jeans, and barefoot except for sandals . . . also unshaven. This slob (that’s exactly what I though he looked like), who was on the taxpayers’ payroll, looked like a he had no respect at all for his job or his students’ parents.

He passed out a 4-page handout to the parents. After a brief review of the handout, I found eight (8) grammar errors. I was furious. I teach English and math at a private school for far less pay and benefits than this ba$tard gets. My wife told me not to bring these errors to Mr. Slob’s attention, or he’d take it out on my daughter. So, I sat there just steaming.

When Mr. Hippie told us about their journals that they had to write and turn in each week (my opinions of journals could be the subject of another post). I asked him if he checked them for grammar and spelling errors before he turned them back to the students. “No,” said Mr. Jackass, “I don’t want to hurt their self-esteem.”

I could have screamed, but my wife was right . . . he’d probably single out my daughter (who, by the way was a straight A student). So I remained mute. To this day, I wish I’d have gone after this high-paid ba$tard who showed up looking like he’d just changed a tire.

And we wonder what’s going wrong with our screw-el systems.


13 posted on 08/15/2011 4:40:20 PM PDT by laweeks
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Sight words, whole words, Dolch words, all lead to the utter paucity of the American vocabulary.


14 posted on 08/15/2011 4:43:12 PM PDT by Qout
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Why should students memorize lists of words when they can easily sound out words phonetically?

Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill, and it’s so dishonest, too. I imagine schools can drag out reading instruction for years.


15 posted on 08/15/2011 4:52:03 PM PDT by goldi (')
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To: goldi

“Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill, and it’s so dishonest, too. I imagine schools can drag out reading instruction for years.”

EXACTLY.


16 posted on 08/15/2011 5:03:50 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice (education reform)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice; Impy; Clintonfatigued; Perdogg; GOPsterinMA

Vowel ? Silly foo. Dat’s where your poo go thru.


17 posted on 08/15/2011 5:03:56 PM PDT by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Amber Lamps !"~~)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

I learned to read whole words at four and a half. “look” and “see” were the first words.I learned, in a Dick.& Jane book. It was smooth sailing from there. Any kid who gets to third grade and doesn’t know what a vowel is has illiterate parents, not just a bad school.


18 posted on 08/15/2011 5:38:02 PM PDT by kabumpo (Kabumpo)
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To: fieldmarshaldj

¿que?


19 posted on 08/15/2011 6:23:00 PM PDT by GOPsterinMA (Perry/Bachmann 2012 - they can share hair care products.)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice
"Missouri: Still Making Them Illiterate After All These Years."

"A reading coach in Missouri told me a revealing story."

"[A] puzzled third-grader looked up and asked: 'What’s a vowel?' "

Bruce, suggest that next time you name the school, its location, and its principal.

There is no reason to politely and respectfully keep them anonymous.

If you shame them publicly, then they will change. The media will force them to.

20 posted on 08/15/2011 7:04:49 PM PDT by tom h
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice; 2Jedismom; 6amgelsmama; AAABEST; aberaussie; Aggie Mama; agrace; AliVeritas; ...

ANOTHER REASON TO HOMESCHOOL

This ping list is for the “other” articles of interest to homeschoolers about education and public school. This can occasionally be a fairly high volume list. Articles pinged to the Another Reason to Homeschool List will be given the keyword of ARTH. (If I remember. If I forget, please feel free to add it yourself)

The main Homeschool Ping List handles the homeschool-specific articles. I hold both the Homeschool Ping List and the Another Reason to Homeschool Ping list. Please freepmail me to let me know if you would like to be added to or removed from either list, or both.

21 posted on 08/15/2011 7:47:52 PM PDT by metmom (Be the kind of woman that when you wake in the morning, the devil says, "Oh crap, she's UP !!")
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To: tom h

My first obligation is to protect the tutor; so I was vague on location and gender. But it was a Missouri anecdote.

My hope is that the media there will notice somebody picking on Missouri, and we’ll see some of the response you envision. Not just toward one school but throughout the state.


22 posted on 08/15/2011 7:50:50 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice (education reform)
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To: tom h; BruceDeitrickPrice

Bruce, here’s why exposure works.

Years ago, we were living in the Bay Area (California, San Francisco suburbs) and had preschool children at the time. I was just waking up to the realities of public school education and noticed an expose that happened almost by accident.

It seems that a 5th grader — nay, more than one — received an “A” on an book report that was replete with errors in grammar, spelling, sentence construction, word usage, etc. Sentences from the essay were printed in the newspaper. The community — San Francisco at that — was outraged. The writing was truly wretched, even for a 5th grader.

The school was embarrassed in a major way. The teacher was identified — an idiot liberal, no doubt — and was driven to tears by the humiliation; she had an explanation, of course, something to do with self-esteem and expression and that some essays were only graded for creativity and expression, not for writing. Nevetheless, the principal backtracked for days and agreed that a teaching philosophy that forgave flawed English, no matter what the circumstance, was wrong. I don’t expect, and I wouldn’t wish, that the teacher be fired. But I would hope that she keeps her sweet little lefty, feel-good teaching practices inside her head and just teach the three Rs.

That’s why you should expose what happened in Missouri. Take no prisoners. Let the details see the light of day. Okay, don’t mention the boy’s name or the tutor’s. But don’t let the teacher, principal, the school, or the district administration escape without a wrist slap or more.


23 posted on 08/15/2011 8:00:23 PM PDT by tom h
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To: Pearls Before Swine

I was going to say that. It is so much easier to just teach what the vowels combinations say. That rule doesn’t work in work in MOST cases.


24 posted on 08/15/2011 8:01:14 PM PDT by christianhomeschoolmommaof3
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To: FrdmLvr; Pearls Before Swine

That “rule” is actually the exception. It only works about 27% of the time. It is a bogus rule. Why teach that when you can teach what the vowels combinations actually say?
My four year old is learning these sounds.

‘ea’ can say /E/ as in beat, /e/ as in bread or /A/ as in break.

‘ou’ has four sounds as in the words ‘our’, ‘fourth’, ‘tour’, ‘famous’

‘ai’,’oi’, ‘au’, and ‘oa’ only have one sound each and may not be used at the end of English words

‘oe’ says /O/ and may be used at the end

‘oo’ has three sounds as in ‘food’, ‘took’, ‘floor’

‘ie’ say /E/ as in ‘thief’ and this is it’s most common sound
it also say /I/ as in ‘tie’

The English language makes more sense than the cutesy bogus rules would have you believe. No wonder children have such a hard time learning to read if they are being remediated with rules that only work 27% of the time.


25 posted on 08/15/2011 8:17:14 PM PDT by christianhomeschoolmommaof3
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

If you know this tutor please send him this link. It may help the children he is tutoring. http://www.bhibooks.net/f/Senate_Speech.pdf


26 posted on 08/15/2011 8:21:15 PM PDT by christianhomeschoolmommaof3
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

What process of deliberate non-education allows this?

School districts have elaborate mission statements stating something like “all students will learn at their maximum potential in a changing global society...blah, blah, blah”

But the reality is that they work really hard to ensure that they are in compliance with state and federal regulations. Lots of paperwork and so on to document that they are following the law. When it comes to children like the one described (and yes there are many), many districts put more emphasis in documenting, so they can protect themselves, rather than teaching.

That boy might not be able to read, but his teachers probably have pretty good documentation that the mandated material has been covered in the prescribed manner. Sad but true.


27 posted on 08/15/2011 9:14:26 PM PDT by paint_your_wagon
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Thanks for posting this. These people are communists, that IS what they are.

And they’ve had great success so far.

They need to be stopped.

The teachers’ unions MUST be broken.


28 posted on 08/15/2011 9:59:20 PM PDT by jocon307
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To: christianhomeschoolmommaof3

said. paid.

road. broad.

laugh. haul.

poem.

Exceptions. Always exceptions. ;)


29 posted on 08/15/2011 11:22:23 PM PDT by heartwood
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To: Clintonfatigued; BillyBoy; fieldmarshaldj; GOPsterinMA

When I was little my grandma would watch me when my parents were at work and she taught me how to read, I have no memory of it.

If she hadn’t I may have been illiterate to this day cause they sure as hell weren’t doing a very good job teaching it in kindergarten and 1st grade.

I don’t recall anything more than the most basic stuff being taught till 3rd or 4th grade.

I remember all through 2nd grade they made us do color by numbers. And the math problems were 2+5 and stuff like like, ridiculous. The tedious coloring was harder. I’m sure it’s gotta even worse since then. Today’s 8th graders are probably learning what my mom’s generation learned in the earliest grades.

And then in HS they bury you in homework.

The poor kids in year-round school (called Track E here in Chicago) went back last week. Lucky for them the heatwave ended before they got back.

The whole system needs to be reexamined.


30 posted on 08/16/2011 1:03:57 AM PDT by Impy (Don't call me red.)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice

Why I thought the last president had that old now dead lion of the Senate Teddy fix the education problem. Let US NOT forget that the majority of 40 and younger college educated voters, voted for our present ruler.


31 posted on 08/16/2011 1:07:35 AM PDT by Just mythoughts (Luke 17:32 Remember Lot's wife.)
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To: laweeks

I can identify with your post!....I served on a local small town school board for many years...(Still hold the record for being out voted, but that’s another story) it used to infuriate me when we would receive the reams of paper hand-outs filled with spelling and grammatical errors.......I was lucky enough to attend a 4 room grammar school with 4 older and dedicated teachers serving 8 grades (that was before multi-classrooms had been invented)...our town would send 10-15 kids a year to a regional HS of 200-300 and invariably produce the valedictorian each year...(it eventually became an embarrassment to the larger town where the HS was located)


32 posted on 08/16/2011 2:44:36 AM PDT by M-cubed
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To: paint_your_wagon
School districts have elaborate mission statements <<<

Ahhh yes!...lol...if schools spent 1/2 the time and money they spend on flowery phrased “mission statements” teaching kids....little Johnny could read!!

33 posted on 08/16/2011 2:57:18 AM PDT by M-cubed
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To: Impy
The poor kids in year-round school (called Track E here in Chicago) <<

Whoa!!!!!...better change that to Track “A” or you'll ruin their self esteem..../s

34 posted on 08/16/2011 3:07:28 AM PDT by M-cubed
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To: christianhomeschoolmommaof3

Re 27% success of the two-vowel pronunciation rule:

Rules ought to work with very few exceptions, or they aren’t rules. I didn’t work out all of the combinations like you did, just enough to see it’s not a rule for teaching.

Thanks for carrying it all the way through. See, “ou” prounouces as “oo”, not as a “OH”, but you got that!


35 posted on 08/16/2011 4:18:32 AM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: christianhomeschoolmommaof3

...‘oa’ only have one sound each and may not be used at the end of English words.

Except for boa, where the ‘oa’ produces two sounds and is used at the end of an English word. : )


36 posted on 08/16/2011 4:25:17 AM PDT by paint_your_wagon
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To: Pearls Before Swine
That rule works for "bead", but not for "chief" or "brief"

That would be chife and brife.

or even "Shiite." Ah yes, islamic spelling...reject it.

See the Redneck Guide to islamic Spelling:

Shiite becomes either she-ite (or the obvious sh!+)....Either of which might be found in a mosk located in Guitar.

37 posted on 08/16/2011 4:45:59 AM PDT by ROCKLOBSTER ( Celebrate Republicans Freed the Slaves Month.)
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice
To recap: this is a smart kid. He’s nine years old. He’s in the third grade. He can’t read. And he wants to know, “What’s a vowel?”

He's nine years old and in third grade, illiterate in reading and probably math as well. Why should we describe him as 'a smart kid'? Smart how?

38 posted on 08/16/2011 5:37:16 AM PDT by SoJoCo
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To: Pearls Before Swine

Isn’t “shiite” pronounced by saying the name of the first vowel? ;-P


39 posted on 08/16/2011 5:44:27 AM PDT by MortMan (What disease did cured ham used to have?)
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To: heartwood

Yes there are exceptions but the are rare. The two vowels go walking ‘rule’ rarely works.


40 posted on 08/16/2011 7:38:39 AM PDT by christianhomeschoolmommaof3
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To: paint_your_wagon

Your excerpt of my post makes it sound grammatically incorrect, lol.

I can’t remember if boa is an exception or if it is not an english word.


41 posted on 08/16/2011 7:43:46 AM PDT by christianhomeschoolmommaof3
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To: Pearls Before Swine; All

I didn’t work out the combinations myself. I got out my Spell to Write and Read phonogram cards. The program is genius. I used it to teach my children to read and spell. There are more advanced sounds for some of those combinations as well but I just stuck with the basics.

Here is Wanda Sanseri’s speech to the Senate. Excellent reading!
http://www.bhibooks.net/f/Senate_Speech.pdf


42 posted on 08/16/2011 7:48:03 AM PDT by christianhomeschoolmommaof3
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To: heartwood

I just noticed the word ‘poem’ in your list. That isn’t an exception. It follows the rule. It says /O/. The rule is that it MAY be used at the end of a word. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be used in the word.


43 posted on 08/16/2011 7:55:04 AM PDT by christianhomeschoolmommaof3
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To: BruceDeitrickPrice
I am from Missouri. My grand daughter is in the 3rd grade. She reads at a 7th grade level. This article in no way reflects her educational experience. Go pick on some other state.
44 posted on 08/16/2011 7:56:08 AM PDT by greeneyes (Moderation in defense of your country is NO virtue. Let Freedom Ring.)
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To: christianhomeschoolmommaof3

It’s just that “poem” isn’t “pome”, but “poe-em”. Not the same sound you have with “doe”, for instance. And that just made me think of “does”, “duhz” the verb that is, not the plural noun. I had better stop now. “Canoe.” Stopping NOW!


45 posted on 08/16/2011 8:17:40 AM PDT by heartwood
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To: Impy; Clintonfatigued; BillyBoy; fieldmarshaldj
My parents taught me letters, numbers, how to read. I blew away pretty much everyone when I got to Kindergarten (and I went to a Catholic school). The nuns did a GREAT job with the rest.

I thank God that I did get the education I did, because when I finally rebelled and said “I'm going to public high school!”, I was shocked at the number of dullards.

That was over 20 years ago; I shutter to think what things are like now in public school...”fag awareness month”, “white devils are the reason the world isn't fair month”...etc...

No thanks!!!

46 posted on 08/16/2011 9:50:50 AM PDT by GOPsterinMA (Perry/Bachmann 2012 - they can share hair care products.)
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To: heartwood

Lol. The ‘o’ in poem makes as /O/ sound. That was the point. ‘Does’ is irregular but ‘canoe’ is not an english word and wouldn’t follow an English rule.


47 posted on 08/16/2011 10:06:37 AM PDT by christianhomeschoolmommaof3
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To: christianhomeschoolmommaof3

Shoe?


48 posted on 08/16/2011 10:17:08 AM PDT by heartwood
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To: SoJoCo

The tutor sized up the kid as “smart.” That’s why the tutor thought the story was interesting.

Also, let me apologize to all the grammarians commenting on which vowel does or does not do the talking. Frankly, I don’t know. I’m not myself much of a grammarian and never learned or understood this generalization.

Right or wrong, the tutor used it; and it prompted the boy to say, “What’s a vowel?” The tutor and I had the same basic reaction: just three little words perfectly captured a huge national problem.


49 posted on 08/16/2011 12:43:18 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice (education reform)
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To: heartwood

Lol. This is all I am going to get in my pings for the next several days, isn’t it?

I am from West Virginia, what is a shoe? ;)


50 posted on 08/16/2011 1:26:01 PM PDT by christianhomeschoolmommaof3
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