K-12 and the Other RINO

In politics, when liberals pretend to be conservatives, these phonies are often labeled RINOs –  Republicans In Name Only.

In our public schools, we have a similar phenomenon – namely, the phony literacy instruction that teaches Reading In Name Only.

The last 80 years can be simply summarized.  The Education Establishment embraced a bogus method (ca. 1931) called Whole Word or Look-say.  The basic idea was that children must memorize sight-words (i.e., graphic designs).  Less than 20 years later, Rudolf Flesch wrote his famous Why Johnny Can't Read explaining that this method had quickly caused the country to sink into an illiteracy crisis that continues until today.  America was profoundly punked!

It is not unusual for an American opera singer to memorize Italian words and sing them beautifully without knowing what specific words mean or why they have those particular sounds.  The singer cannot "read" any other Italian – just the memorized sentences.

Similarly, Dr. Seuss wrote a small book with a very limited vocabulary – The Cat in the Hat – that most children could memorize.  With this RINO instruction, schools would pretend their students were learning to "read."  The children could "read" only in the sense that the opera singer can "read" Italian.  Show the children another passage; they can't read it.  Rearrange the words of The Cat in the Hat, and the children won't be able to read them.  You see how it works.  It's 100% fake.  It's RINO.

The basic gimmick in Whole Language for the last half-century is to make students go back and forth over the same passage – you have the pre-read, the discussion, the post-read, the re-read – until the children have, over a few weeks, memorized an entire little book.  They take that book home and "read" it to their parents.  The parents think, "My child has learned to read!"

Sure, if weasels and ferrets can fly.

"Reading" in K-12 since 1931 has been a continuous con and a scandal.  How these fake experts sleep at night is a provocative question.

More immediately, how do parents let their children be abused in this way year after year?  The truth about Whole Word was known decades before Rudolf Flesch came along.  A distinguished neurologist named Dr. Samuel Orton conducted a field study and concluded in 1927: "[T]his technique ... often proves an actual obstacle to reading progress. ... [These] faulty teaching methods may not only prevent the acquisition of academic education by children of average capacity but may also give rise to far reaching damage to their emotional life."

In his academic prose, Dr. Orton is screaming the bad news: your kids won't learn to read, and their brains will be scrambled.  Pay attention – otherwise, the blame lies not just with the school, but with you, the parent, for allowing this abuse to continue.

Memorizing sight-words is not reading nor a road to reading.  First of all, only someone with a near-photographic memory can memorize even 1,000 English sight-words.  (Ordinary kids sometimes top out at a few hundred.)  Second of all, in memorizing sight-words, the brain typically becomes blocked so it never learns to read phonetically, which is of course the correct way to read a phonetic language.

If you wish to give your child the best opportunity in academic matters, you must inoculate him against sight-words.  Make sure at the age of four or five that the child memorizes the alphabet with instant recognition.  Step two: Teach the child that each letter represents a sound.  For example, B is always more or less a buh sound.  At the start (bird), in the middle (robot), or at the end (rub), that symbol is always buh.  Every child, according to phonics experts, can grasp the concept and be reading by Christmas of the first year, no matter whether he is five, six, or seven.  Then children go from learning to read to reading to learn.

What the evil geniuses in our K-12 system have done is keep children forever at that first step of learning to read.  As they are using RINO methods, progress will be slow, spotty, and unreliable.  There are many children in America in the fourth grade who confuse even little words, such as the and are.  The kids see a short sight-word and guess, as they are trained to do!  This is sick.

It's easy to determine that children have been the victims of fake instruction.  Let them read any paragraph out of the newspaper.  If they drop words, add words, reverse syllables, or guess (that's the big one), then they are showing a skill that can best be called RINO.

Protect your children in a different way by  teaching them to read all the so-called Dolch words phonetically.  The official dogma is that all these words are so mysterious and strange that no rules can possibly explain them.  That's a big lie.  For one little example, consider the words his and is.  What a beautiful rhyme.  Obviously these words are phonetically linked.  In fact, s has two pronunciations; sometimes it's a z.  That's why we immediately read fanciful plurals such as guyz as if it were guys.  There is nothing mysterious about it.

Explaining how English works lets children master their language.  If you announce that everything is too irrational to understand, you guarantee they never will. 

The central gimmick of Reading In Name Only is sight-words.  Get rid of them.  English is 100% phonetic.  Start there.  If somebody wants to say that English is not 100% "consistent," agree.  What in life is?  Think about the word blue.  It covers at least 25 colors that have their own separate names.  But they're still blue.  What's the point of saying that indigo, slate, navy, denim, and other blues are irrational or impossible to understand?  No, there are little differences, and we easily learn to understand what they are.  The problem disappears.

The Whole Word hoax now approaches its 85th birthday.  When will our commissars feel they have done enough damage?  Please, everyone do what you can to eliminate sight-words, aka Dolch words, Fry words, Balanced Literacy, high-frequency words, and many other names. 

Criminals usually have many aliases.  Whole Word has had a dozen.  And why?  Because every five or ten years, the public starts to get smarter, so the Education Establishment re-brands its RINO sophistries.

Schools are starting again.  If you know parents with young children, please pass this article on to them.

Bruce Deitrick Price explains theories and methods on his education sites Improve-Education.org.  (For info on his four new novels, see his literary site Lit4u.com.)

In politics, when liberals pretend to be conservatives, these phonies are often labeled RINOs –  Republicans In Name Only.

In our public schools, we have a similar phenomenon – namely, the phony literacy instruction that teaches Reading In Name Only.

The last 80 years can be simply summarized.  The Education Establishment embraced a bogus method (ca. 1931) called Whole Word or Look-say.  The basic idea was that children must memorize sight-words (i.e., graphic designs).  Less than 20 years later, Rudolf Flesch wrote his famous Why Johnny Can't Read explaining that this method had quickly caused the country to sink into an illiteracy crisis that continues until today.  America was profoundly punked!

It is not unusual for an American opera singer to memorize Italian words and sing them beautifully without knowing what specific words mean or why they have those particular sounds.  The singer cannot "read" any other Italian – just the memorized sentences.

Similarly, Dr. Seuss wrote a small book with a very limited vocabulary – The Cat in the Hat – that most children could memorize.  With this RINO instruction, schools would pretend their students were learning to "read."  The children could "read" only in the sense that the opera singer can "read" Italian.  Show the children another passage; they can't read it.  Rearrange the words of The Cat in the Hat, and the children won't be able to read them.  You see how it works.  It's 100% fake.  It's RINO.

The basic gimmick in Whole Language for the last half-century is to make students go back and forth over the same passage – you have the pre-read, the discussion, the post-read, the re-read – until the children have, over a few weeks, memorized an entire little book.  They take that book home and "read" it to their parents.  The parents think, "My child has learned to read!"

Sure, if weasels and ferrets can fly.

"Reading" in K-12 since 1931 has been a continuous con and a scandal.  How these fake experts sleep at night is a provocative question.

More immediately, how do parents let their children be abused in this way year after year?  The truth about Whole Word was known decades before Rudolf Flesch came along.  A distinguished neurologist named Dr. Samuel Orton conducted a field study and concluded in 1927: "[T]his technique ... often proves an actual obstacle to reading progress. ... [These] faulty teaching methods may not only prevent the acquisition of academic education by children of average capacity but may also give rise to far reaching damage to their emotional life."

In his academic prose, Dr. Orton is screaming the bad news: your kids won't learn to read, and their brains will be scrambled.  Pay attention – otherwise, the blame lies not just with the school, but with you, the parent, for allowing this abuse to continue.

Memorizing sight-words is not reading nor a road to reading.  First of all, only someone with a near-photographic memory can memorize even 1,000 English sight-words.  (Ordinary kids sometimes top out at a few hundred.)  Second of all, in memorizing sight-words, the brain typically becomes blocked so it never learns to read phonetically, which is of course the correct way to read a phonetic language.

If you wish to give your child the best opportunity in academic matters, you must inoculate him against sight-words.  Make sure at the age of four or five that the child memorizes the alphabet with instant recognition.  Step two: Teach the child that each letter represents a sound.  For example, B is always more or less a buh sound.  At the start (bird), in the middle (robot), or at the end (rub), that symbol is always buh.  Every child, according to phonics experts, can grasp the concept and be reading by Christmas of the first year, no matter whether he is five, six, or seven.  Then children go from learning to read to reading to learn.

What the evil geniuses in our K-12 system have done is keep children forever at that first step of learning to read.  As they are using RINO methods, progress will be slow, spotty, and unreliable.  There are many children in America in the fourth grade who confuse even little words, such as the and are.  The kids see a short sight-word and guess, as they are trained to do!  This is sick.

It's easy to determine that children have been the victims of fake instruction.  Let them read any paragraph out of the newspaper.  If they drop words, add words, reverse syllables, or guess (that's the big one), then they are showing a skill that can best be called RINO.

Protect your children in a different way by  teaching them to read all the so-called Dolch words phonetically.  The official dogma is that all these words are so mysterious and strange that no rules can possibly explain them.  That's a big lie.  For one little example, consider the words his and is.  What a beautiful rhyme.  Obviously these words are phonetically linked.  In fact, s has two pronunciations; sometimes it's a z.  That's why we immediately read fanciful plurals such as guyz as if it were guys.  There is nothing mysterious about it.

Explaining how English works lets children master their language.  If you announce that everything is too irrational to understand, you guarantee they never will. 

The central gimmick of Reading In Name Only is sight-words.  Get rid of them.  English is 100% phonetic.  Start there.  If somebody wants to say that English is not 100% "consistent," agree.  What in life is?  Think about the word blue.  It covers at least 25 colors that have their own separate names.  But they're still blue.  What's the point of saying that indigo, slate, navy, denim, and other blues are irrational or impossible to understand?  No, there are little differences, and we easily learn to understand what they are.  The problem disappears.

The Whole Word hoax now approaches its 85th birthday.  When will our commissars feel they have done enough damage?  Please, everyone do what you can to eliminate sight-words, aka Dolch words, Fry words, Balanced Literacy, high-frequency words, and many other names. 

Criminals usually have many aliases.  Whole Word has had a dozen.  And why?  Because every five or ten years, the public starts to get smarter, so the Education Establishment re-brands its RINO sophistries.

Schools are starting again.  If you know parents with young children, please pass this article on to them.

Bruce Deitrick Price explains theories and methods on his education sites Improve-Education.org.  (For info on his four new novels, see his literary site Lit4u.com.)