Sunday, January 22, 2012

More reading program frustrations...

Can you tell I'm building a reading program right now?


I've looked at dozens (if not hundreds) of "how to read" activities online, and I have found a consistent pattern: the teachers think that in order to learn how to read, the students have to have a fundamental understanding of how reading works. (And this is categorically not true.)

So the activities have students doing things like identifying the diphthongs and the digraphs--using those vocabulary words, even--or identifying different phonemes.

The trouble is, it isn't necessary to know those things to learn how to read. It's necessary to know those words to discuss reading education, but to learn how to read? You don't need to know that "TH" is a digraph. You just need to know the sound it makes you when you come across it--both sounds, actually ("That" and "Teeth" have different TH sounds).

So these "brilliant" reading ed specialists who make these programs consistently teach things that are confusing and unnecessary, and they continue to insist that "ink" is an example of the short "i" sound--as in "pink"--and that "oo" is an example of the long U sound--as in "boot" and "foot" (because we pronounce them "beaut" and "fewt," right?) Someone needs to teach all these experts how to hear!

And then they wonder why the kids can't read.


Catherine Jones Carlson said...

Have you ever heard of Challenger Schools? Our kids don't go there but by dumb luck we got all of their reading program materials several years ago. It's a phonics based system set to music and it is really incredible. I am just as critical as you are when it comes to these things and I haven't found any issues with this program. You ought to see what you can find on the internet to use, although there may not be much since they have it all pretty heavily copyrighted. But it's worth a look.

Becca Jones said...

I'll definitely look them up. Thanks for the tip!