We have known for quite some time that there is a socialist political agenda behind the movement to do away with systematic phonics and replace it with Whole Language and other similar sight-reading programs.
A sight method, like Whole Language, teaches children to read English as if it were Chinese, that is, composed of word-pictures like Chinese characters, rather than letters that stand for sounds. Children are taught a “sight vocabulary,” a list of words they are supposed to memorize by their shape or association with a picture. They do not learn the letter sounds or how to decipher words by analyzing their phonetic structure and breaking multisyllabic words into their syllables, which is the proper way to teach a child to read.
And why do you suppose our educators would use the sight method to teach reading knowing that it is highly inefficient and causes reading problems? The answer is political. In an article in defense of Whole Language in Education Week of February 27, 1985, we read:
The accumulating evidence clearly indicates that a New Right philosophy of education has emerged in this country.... By limiting reading instruction to systematic phonics instruction, sound-symbol decoding, and literal comprehension, and by aiming its criticism at reading books’ story lines in an effort to influence content, the New Right’s philosophy runs counter to the research findings and theoretical perspectives of most noted reading authorities.
If this limited view of reading (and, implicitly, of thinking) continues to gain influence ... the New Right will have successfully impeded the progress of democratic governance founded on the ideal of an educated — and critically thinking — electorate.
Click here to read the entire article.
Sam Blumenfeld (photo)