Skip to comments.Boys do better than girls when taught under traditional reading methods (phonics)
Posted on 03/31/2010 5:08:44 AM PDT by reaganaut1
Boys can learn to beat girls at reading if they are given old-fashioned teaching methods, claim psychologists.
The use of more traditional phonetics-based lessons helps boys catch up with girls - even doing better on some tests - and prevents some children from needing 'special' schooling, according to new research findings.
A study of synthetic phonics also found children from disadvantaged backgrounds do as well as those from better off homes.
The research, presented at the British Psychological Society's annual conference in York, has underpinned changes being made in the nation's classrooms.
They have been introduced after damning revelations that four in 10 children have failed to master the three Rs by the time they leave primary school.
There has also been concern about the growing gender divide in achievement, starting in primary schools.
Under the synthetic phonics system, children are taught the sounds that make up words rather than guess at entire words from pictures and story context.
Rhona Johnston, a professor of psychology at Hull University, and Dr Joyce Watson of St Andrews University, studied the results from 300 children originally given training using synthetic phonics when they were five.
The progress of the group at primary schools in Clackmannanshire was compared with 237 children using the more usual analytic phonics approach.
Boys taught using synthetic phonics were able to read words significantly better than girls at the age of seven, with all pupils ahead of the standard for their age.
Boys were 20 months ahead while girls were 14 months more advanced than expected.
At the end of the study, boys' reading comprehension was as good as that of the girls, but their word reading and spelling was better.
(Excerpt) Read more at thisislondon.co.uk ...
Phonics has always been a superior way to learn. There is no substitute.
Some feminist/socialists probably realized this many years ago, and this was likely the reason that phonics was dropped. To give girls an advantage, cripple the boys.
Why wouldn’t teaching children how our alphabet works, work better than reducing words to pictograms that have to be guessed at and learned by sight?
Duh. These geniuses never cease to amaze me. It’s as if the entire educational establishment has been thrown over to gender war zealots.
Well, come to think of it, it has.
It's because they're disadvantaged.
It's because they're poor.
It's because they're minority.
It's because they're not well represented on mainstream TV.
It's because they're oppressed.
It's because they're hungry and need school lunches and breakfasts.
It's because they're without a computer.
It's because they're unmotivated.
... or something along those lines.
Whole word learning must not effect girls but it’s a disaster for boys. My son was unable to read in the third grade because of that and it took years to overcome the bad effects.
And this is why those who "know better" have tried really hard to not teach it.
I know they are not using it in my 2nd graders school, and he is a year behind the others in reading. We have to resort to after school teaching to help him.
And Oh my God, you would not believe the math curriculum
Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth
My second graders school district has adopted the Everyday Mathematics program shown in this video. It is as bad as the lady is saying, even at the second grade level. My wife and I have a very difficult time helping him with the homework, because quite frankly this crap is hard to understand. All those old algorithms you grew up with, are not taught. They are replaced by alternative ways of finding the answer, that may work fine for math geeks who are proficient already in the old ways but tossing away the old tried and true way and replacing it is a mistake in monstrous proportions.
It is onlt going to get worse for your second grader. My grandkid was taught global warming and jungle deforestation in Math class.
Hope your grandchild is getting the right teaching at home to counter that.
Here is a feel good about today's youth story...I got my 8 year old a transistor radio on Monday and you think he used it to play pop music? Nope, he tuned in conservative talk radio, just like Dad. I even asked him if he wanted to listen to a music station, and he said no. One of those great moments in a Dad's life. But it got better. At bed time a radio station plays old-time radio and he was listening to Charlie McCarthy as he went to bed, and laughing his head off at all the punchlines. Normally I would tell him to turn the radio off and go to sleep, but I said what the heck - enjoy
Of course I showed my kid the old-fashioned way to do it, and told him he'd understand why the method they were trying to teach him worked when he was in high school, but he'd never use it.
Girls are affected, too. My daughter was an indifferent reader and never read for pleasure until she took a phonics class.
Yes! It is called social justice math. I am not kidding; I was at a conference in Washington D.C. this past August and the phrase social justice math was used several times.
When I was young the Tucson school system was facing, “why Johnnie can’t read” stories, this was the late 40’s. They had done away with phonics so my folks sent me to a tutor so I could learn phonics. Can’t say how much I appreciated it over the years.
There is NO group with better reason to begin a Class Action Suit than the PARENTS OF AMERICAN CHILDREN. For over a hundred years American education taught the children of immigrants English, Math, Geography, History (world & US) grammar and even how to (gasp) SPELL correctly.
These children, from the 1800’s to the mid 50’s were the children of newcomers who could not speak English, people who were the “Tired, huddled masses, yearning to be free”. These children were the true children of poverty, children of people who had to work 50 to 60 hours per week to survive, children who each year saw a classmate die from a disease that today is prevented by a shot in the butt.
When I (born 1934) was in school, the death of a classmate, sometime during the year was, tragically expected. Today, two busloads of “counselors” descend on the school within hours.
In the latter 40’s new children came to school. Many had no parents, many had funny numbers tatooed on their arm, some had no idea what country they really came from.
And the OLD METHODS, proven by generations that built the “once” greatest country in the world taught them.
Today monies that would simply stun old time educators are wasted to teach children who cannot read their own diplomas, cannot find their own country on a world map, or their home states on a blank map of the USA.
In the holy name of the “NEW” our education system proudly proclaims that “ONLY” a large percentage of our children will not learn.
Who would fly an airline that advertised that ONLY 24% of their planes crashed last month?
Who would go (voluntarily) to a hospital that boasted that ONLY 32% of their patients died during surgery?
The teachers of my youth, many “elderly” people of 35 and 40, TAUGHT, and by heaven you learned.
Is it true that students get drowsy trying to read the whole language way? It must be exhausting. Someone once told me that since the word is basically considered a picture and the shape of it is memorized, it goes to the wrong side of the brain. How confusing is that?
Crazy math and reading programs do a lot of damage. I can see why kids act up in school. They are being driven crazy.
“It is called social justice math.”
I learn something new here every day.
I’m not sure about the drowsy part, but I agree with what I saw posted on another thread some time go that phonics is better suited to languages like English because our letters represent sounds. A character based language like Chinese would require a different approach.
I had phonics when I was going through grade school (early 80s plaid covered books). My wife didn’t and she went through grade school in the late 80s. As a result she has more trouble spelling words while I do fairly well.
It does make a difference. When we have kids, we’re likely to home school and phonics will definitely be part of our curriculum.
Dick, Jane and Sally was the best Reader ever devised. But they were White, so they had to go.
Maybe that’s why the schools went away from phonics - as another aspect of the war on boys and men.
Learning to read opens the door to gathering information besides that which the left wants to spoon feed our children.
Let’s see, our school systems do away with phonics, cut recess, and cut any competitive sports. They the educators write articles about how superior girls do in school.
You get drowsy when you get bored. Anyone would get bored performing a task in an artificially slow and difficult manner.
I still have my 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade readers with Dick and Jane and Sally
Maybe it has more to do with different types of learners, too.
I have twin girls who were subjected to the whole word method during their early years.
The one who was an abstract learner did okay, while the one who was a logical learner continued to have problems for a few years.
Boys tend to be logical learners too, so it would affect boys more.
I finally got my daughter back on track by investing in a set of McGuffy Readers.
You know...those pesky phonics books that was used in America for a hundred odd years before we became 'progressive'. [yak!]
A Nation that cannot read and comprehend is easily controlled. Thanks Chicago, Columbia Univ,and all those PROGRESSIVE educators who designed this monstrosity.
Dick and Jane was a sight reading method, not phonics.
McGuffy Readers were phonics based.
I started first grade (1961) with Dick, Jane, and Sally readers. The series used the "See and Say" method that superceded phonics but I can remember my teacher using phonics as a supplement for the class to ensure that nobody was left behind. I recall doing small group reading out loud where a student that struggled with a word was coached through a "sound it out" process that was phonics-based. Generally, I believe that most students became functional readers unless held back by IQ.
BTW, my first grade class was a combined 1st and 2d grade group so the teacher had to have excellent skills in order to manage a mixed group with multiple reading levels. She did groups by reading level rather than grade level so slow 2d graders could catch up and fast 1st graders wouldn't get bored.
Imagine how effective teaching phonetics would be if English spellings were actually consistently phonetic, as they are in some languages. Still, it gives a child a starting point, at least - something to build upon as they move forward.
“The “new approaches” to math computation are a complete joke. About a dozen years ago I was at a 5th grade open house, and the math teacher, for some reason, was proudly showing the way they taught division. If you know algebra, you could see that conceptually what they were doing was breaking down the division algorithm for regular numbers the same way you would for synthetic division of polynomials”
I watched the video and I can sort of see what the creators of those math curricula are trying to get at. Learning algorithms to do calculations is not the same thing as learning mathematics. However, they’re trying, as you say, to use algebraic concepts like the distributive and associative properties to do basic calculations, without the students likely having any understanding of these concepts - and I doubt that any but a very few students are likely to infer these concepts on their own in any sort of useful way. Looks like the sort of mush-headed approach to teaching we’ve come to expect from the graduates of schools of education, unfounded in any real understanding of the subject matter, or how children may actually learn.
But to repeat my original point, learning to do multi-digit multiplication or long division doesn’t really teach you anything about mathematics per se. It’s a somewhat useful skill to have though, so that you can do simple calculations with pen and paper without needing an electronic aid, reasonably efficiently. Of course, at one time (before calculators) a reasonably educated student would have been expected to learn how to calculate square roots with pen and paper in a reasonably efficient manner, too. How many people do that anymore?
“Dick, Jane and Sally was the best Reader ever devised.”
If I recall correctly, the Dick and Jane books were actually part of a “look-say” whole language reading curriculum.
“It does make a difference. When we have kids, were likely to home school and phonics will definitely be part of our curriculum.”
PHONICS is the only way to go! My daughter, who is almost three years younger than her brother, was jealous that her 1st grade brother was learning to read books and she could not read.
She demanded that I teach her to read. I taught her to read through phonics when she was three. By the time she got to kindergarten, she was reading at grade levels that shocked her kindergarten teacher. My five year old was “tutoring” her classmates. She was confused as to why her friends couldn’t sound out the words.
On the flip side, this extrememly smart child came home with a note in the fifth or sixth grade (my memory fails me on the exact school year) that said she was FLUNKING math. Fortunately, she had an older teacher who really cared and tested her and investigated the situation. Turns out that my daughter and many many other classmates were all flunking math. This fabulous teacher helped me determine the cause. Massachusetts had recently begun their MCAS test. Their teachers in the 3rd and 4th grades were not teaching the multiplication tables to the children because multiplication wasn’t on the test. They were only “teaching to the test”. We all know that the times tables are the foundation of all math!
I am proud to report that after I tutored her for several weeks she mastered her math class. She is a high school senior graduating as a member of the high honor roll. She is heading to college to study nursing in the fall.
Unfortunately, the older teacher is retired now and the teachers union in town wants more and more of my money....
good luck with your future children. My advice is that parents need to be very proactive in teaching their children.
I’m sorry to hear the educational establishment victimized girls as well. I assumed that because this method so specifically is against the learning style of boys that at least it might be useful for girls.
To get my son reading, I used a method that was recommended on a home schooler TV show. He read out loud from a book with either no pictures or pictures you can cover over. What a struggle but over a few months he went from a kid who couldn’t read a whole sentence without serious errors to a kid who got most of the words right. I really had the sense that that “whole word” produced a kind of learning disability.
Thanks for the encouragement. My wife has been working with various materials already (she teaches 5th grade) and her school definitely puts the emphasis on the basics.
It reminds me a lot of my grade school years in Catholic school: phonics, spelling, vocabulary, multiplication tables, writing, memorization and recitation of poetry, diagramming sentences. All of these things are important for a solid foundation.
The practice of sending kids to the blackboard to do problems and having spelling bees in class are rites of passage that I remember fondly. I recall it was a little frightening to have to do a math problem in front of everyone or to have to recite a spelling word that you weren’t certain of but looking back I’m glad I had the experience.
Even in college my logic professor (definitely old school) sent us to the blackboard to demonstrate Venn diagrams and proofs. I got the same adrenaline rush then too. :)
Exactly! This is what socialism is all about anyways.
Which is why they have the standard features. Big pictures, small vocabulary.
Yeah instead of being only about 92 percent phonetic. Huge difference there. The exceptions are blown well out of proportion.
You think the purpose is to help them become independent? Hardly. There’s no money in it for the government.
Yes, but keep in mind that the non-phonics teaching methods disadvantaged both boys and girls: in both sexes, those who had less phonics, had lower literacy skills.
It's just that the boys were disadvantaged even more.
All this makes one wonder if there are education wonks out there who actually prefer subliteracy for both sexes and all ages.
Most would. They aren’t getting paid according to their performance.
It’s just like Harrison Bergeron. To make everyone equal you have to tie down the strong.
Because the alphabet is phonetic. It's designed that way. ANY other method of "learning to read" a language with a phonetic alphabet is doomed to mediocrity or outright failure, because it's ignoring the design of the system.
A pox on "look-say" and the marxist freaks who inflicted it on too many children.
Modern English is not a "pure" language, and never has been. It is a combination of Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Old French, Anglo-Saxon, Old English, Gaelic, Spanish, German, Hindi Japanese, Chinese, Korean, various African languages, various American aboriginal languages, and more that I don't want to bother thinking of.
It will only continue to grow.
You are correct. The stories repeat the words over and over so the children can memorize them. No reason not to let your beginning readers have them as long as they are sounding out and not using sight words though.
If children are taught not only the letter sounds but letter combination sounds (ex. “ai” says /A/) along with rules (that we may not use at the end of English words), they would encounter alot less “exceptions” than is believed.
Whole word is bad affects girls too. Those ‘taught’ by whole word become readers despite the method not because of it.
Of interest to homeschoolers
The purpose of government schools is to produce half-educated (at best), compliant drones for factory work and tax-paying. Non-phonics reading methods are part of the overall project of government schooling. Non-phonics reading methods have been adopted BECAUSE they don’t work.
I was actually somewhat incorrect. Even in its earliest forms, the “Dick and Jane” readers, while based on a whole-language concept, included some phonics. Later on, like the ones I was taught with in the early 70s (probably written in the 60s), even more phonetics was mixed in. Which makes sense, because while phonics are certainly very useful when learning to read, normal reading is mostly sight-based.
I have a friend at work who is Hungarian. He has explained to me how Hungarian spellings are pretty much consistently phonetic, so that not only can you tell how a word is to be pronounced from reading it, but if you have heard a word you can generally make a pretty safe guess at its spelling. Foreign words imported to the language get added to the language using Hungarian phonetics. This has its obvious good points, while the downside is that the linkage to the original word’s spelling is lost. Certainly such a system makes learning to read and write easier.
While English spellings are largely phonetic, there are typically multiple letter groups that represent the same phonemes, so that while figuring out pronunciation from spelling is mostly not too bad (other than the exceptions), the reverse is quite a bit more difficult.