Teach Reading by Phonics? Or Whole Word? Come on, Folks . . . How about both?

To listen to talk-back radio, you’d SWEAR that a child’s entire future in literacy depended absolutely upon the reading method taught at school.

Wow! That’s like saying we should all be driving exactly the same make and model of car.

Or wear exactly the same clothes.

Or eat exactly the same food!

BUT . . . WHY?

Students learn in various ways. Don’t we all??

Sure, learning phonics helps a bit. But — how about sounding out “pneumonia”?

Then again, though, some words need a bit of sounding out.

So, why not teach BOTH?

Those of us fortunate enough to be reasonably proficient at reading immediately recognise that phonics doesn’t play a big part in our reading. Rather, we can identify words big and small simply by their letter shape and the overall shape of the word. Maybe the first and last letters help us a bit, but overall we read two or three words (or more) at a time in one eye-span.

To doggedly fall into the trap of sounding out every word is a fatal mistake. It leads to reading that lacks fluency and expression. It leads to lower comprehension standards.

Come on, you talk-back gurus. How about a bit of SENSIBLE consideration of this issue. Students deserve it, parents deserve it, and the community deserves it.

Hopefully, we’re all on the same side here. There shouldn’t be 50 shades of grey on this particular issue!

Are you pro? Or con?

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