Phonics Phobia in Georgia: Bruce Dietrick Price

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Phonics Phobia in Georgia: Bruce Dietrick Price

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Mon Mar 09, 2015 11:17 am

Bruce Dietrick Price writes about phonics phobia and cheating in Georgia.

He says the results of an obsession with Dolch words is failure, send to Reading Recovery - and then Ritalin.

We've seen this so much. :sad:

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles ... state.html
Revealingly, the state of Georgia is phonics-phobic. Almost all school websites in Georgia specifically brag that they teach sight-words, or Dolch words. These sites talk about Dr. Dolch, a quack from 50 years ago, as if he were a god.

Here is a quote from a typical school website: "Essential Sight Words – Reading skill (fluency, accuracy and understanding) is increased when common or high frequency words used in text becomes automatic in a readers [sic] internal lexicon. ... Edward William Dolch, Ph.D. published a book in 1948 called Problems in Reading which devoted an entire chapter on sight words. Dolch identified a need for a sight word list as opposed to a standard word list[.]" Note that if sight-words are not quickly mastered, and that is what typically happens, the child is subjected to Reading Recovery, an expensive and mostly useless intervention. When that doesn't work, the child is subjected to psychiatric intervention, possibly including Ritalin.

The money's flowing, and the fix is in. Kids in Georgia don't have a chance. Inevitably you will have tens of thousands of children performing way below their potential. Common sense would suggest that Georgia start using the method that works best – i.e., systematic phonics.

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Re: Phonics Phobia in Georgia: Bruce Dietrick Price

Post by chew8 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:53 pm

It's interesting that the Spalding programme, The Writing Road to Reading, is based firmly on the Dolch list and yet gets excellent results. The Dolch list is actually printed in the Spalding manual and worked through (in order of frequency, I think) but the children don't learn the words as 'sight' words. What happens is that the grapheme-phoneme correspondences in all the words are explained and learnt, and the children get lots of practice at writing words with different GPCs.

Jenny C.

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Re: Phonics Phobia in Georgia: Bruce Dietrick Price

Post by yvonne meyer » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:18 am

My son was 'rescued' by the Spalding Method. I don't remember any sight words. I could be wrong as I was only starting to learn about phonics myself at that time but my memory is that there was intense focus on learning the 75 Spalding phonograms and only using decoding strategies. My son had survived up to that point by memorizing and guessing and his Spalding tutor worked really hard getting him to un-learn these ineffective strategies.

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Re: Phonics Phobia in Georgia: Bruce Dietrick Price

Post by chew8 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 1:23 pm

Apologies - I realised this morning that the Spalding approach is based on the Ayres word list rather than the Dolch list, but it is still a list of high-frequency words. My edition of the Spalding manual (2003) contains the following on p. 252:

'The Extended Ayres (EA) Word List consists of over 2,300 high-fequency words that are listed (1) in the order of instruction, (2) alphabetically, and (3) as parts of speech.'

The 'order of instruction' is the Spalding order, and the first 10 words are these: me, do, and, go, at on, a, it, is, she. That selection would not be typical at the start of a synthetic phonics programme, but Spalding teachers do teach children how letters correspond to sounds in all these words, so they are certainly not taught just as 'sight' words.

And, as Yvonne says, the programme is extremely effective.

Jenny C.

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Re: Phonics Phobia in Georgia: Bruce Dietrick Price

Post by maizie » Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:57 pm

yvonne meyer wrote: I don't remember any sight words.
Isn't that what Jenny is saying? That although it is based on a word list the words are not taught as 'sight' words (i.e as 'whole words') but as decodeable.

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