Public Schools Can Cripple Your Children's Ability To Read

Written by Joel Turtel

For many adults, reading a book or newspaper seems effortless. Yet reading effortlessly comes from constant use of basic skills learned at an early age. Once children learn these basic skills, they can eventually read complex books like War and Peace.

What are these skills? To read, one must recognize thousands of words. Since all English words are built from only twenty-six letters,repparttar huge task of recognizing letters and their sounds and putting them together to form words becomes greatly simplified. An English-speaking child only has to sound outrepparttar 144104 letters and then putrepparttar 144105 sounds together to readrepparttar 144106 word.

I do not wish to over-simplifyrepparttar 144107 complexity of our rich English language, however. Like other western languages, English has its peculiarities. For example, many vowels have more than one sound, and many sounds can be spelled more than one way. However, even with these complexities, English is far easier to learn than Chinese, where children have to memorize thousands of word pictures, rather than twenty-six letters and their sounds.

Reading is difficult at first, but, once learned,repparttar 144108 process becomes automatic and unconscious. When we can read quickly without sounding out every letter of every word, allrepparttar 144109 knowledge ofrepparttar 144110 world opens to us. However, like learning to drive a car, if we donít learnrepparttar 144111 basic skills, we donít learn to read, or we read poorly.

Enter public-school education theorists who think otherwise. Don't adults read without sounding out every letter of every word, they ask? So why teach children phonics? Why put children throughrepparttar 144112 alleged boredom, drudgery, and hard work of learning letter-sounds? How can reading be joyful if literature becomes drills? If children memorize whole words instead of putting together letter sounds, all this pain will be gone. Rather than teaching kidsrepparttar 144113 alphabet and how to sound out M-O-T-H-E-R, teach them to recognize MOTHER and other whole words in a book, like Chinese word-pictures or ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Haverepparttar 144114 child read simple books that repeat each word over and over, so that they come to recognizerepparttar 144115 word. Do this for each word, they claim, andrepparttar 144116 child will learn to read. This is called "whole-language" reading instruction.

The only problem is that whole-language doesn't work. It is a disaster. Most young children are only able to "memorize" a few hundred relatively simple words. Even an adult's mind can only memorize at most, a few thousand words. That'srepparttar 144117 limit ofrepparttar 144118 human mind's capacity to memorize abstract symbols. In contrast, children who learn to sound outrepparttar 144119 letters of words with phonics can read tens of thousands of words, and eventually read ANY word, because they can sound out each letter inrepparttar 144120 word and putrepparttar 144121 sounds together.

Parents' Complaints --- Arrogant Public Schools Turn a Deaf Ear

Written by Joel Turtel

School authorities continually claim that they want more parent cooperation and participation in their childrenís education. They complain when parents donít show up for parent-teacher conferences or push their children to do their homework.

Yet this constant cry for parent cooperation is often a smoke screen pretense to make parents think they have some control over their childrenís education. In most cases, parents have no such control. Teachers and principals may placate parents or ask for their cooperation, but they rarely makerepparttar important changes parents ask for.

For example, most parents want their children to learn to do basic arithmetic without using calculators as a crutch. A poll by Public Agenda found that 86 percent of parents want students to learn arithmetic by hand before they use calculators. However,repparttar 144103 math-teaching policy for most public schools today is that all children beginning in kindergarten have access to calculators at all times to do math problems.

Most school districts make important teaching-method or curriculum decisions in secret, without parentsí knowledge or approval. A parentís only recourse is to complain to principals or school authorities after these authorities have dictated their curriculum or teaching methods, andrepparttar 144104 parent seesrepparttar 144105 damage to their children. Unfortunately, such complaints are often futile.

Most parents donít realize that school authorities donít want their opinion. Too often, school authorities ignore parents' suggestions or complaints because they truly believe they arerepparttar 144106 experts and parents are just annoying amateurs. As a result, some teachers, principals, or administrators feel insulted when parents make suggestions or complaints.

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