September 23, 2022

Emily Hanford became famous over the last several years for talking constantly about the Science of Reading.  That’s where children learn to read in the simplest, most efficient way and go on to enjoy many hundreds of books.  Long story short, what she means by the Science of Reading is phonics — nothing less, nothing else.

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The problem is that the left in our country forced phonics into oblivion starting in 1931.  So what was going on for those 90 years from 1931 to now?  A titanic and quite stupid con, that’s what.

Basically, the professors of education at Harvard and such places identified and codified the things that work — and then (this is my summary) they made sure that none of those things are allowed in the schools.  Only methods known not to work are praised in our classrooms.  The simplest, most appropriate name for this approach is the Science of Illiteracy.

Sometimes the impression is given that these professors drifted around from one method to another.  That’s actually not true.  They have only one method — but it has many names (such as sight-words and Whole Word) — and they are content to hide inside the confusion they create. 

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Reading consists of learning two things: letters and sounds.  If you’re not focusing on letters and sounds, you don’t have phonetic instruction of a phonetic language.

Note how precise the pseudo-reading program is.  You get rid of letters and sounds.  You don’t mention an alphabet, and you don’t teach children what the alphabet represents.  The Science of Illiteracy is really easy.  You just leave out the valuable parts and let kids struggle.

One of the oddest spectacles you’ll ever see is the top brains in American education all agreeing that the alphabet serves no useful purpose.  How do you find fanatics like this?

These professors were monolithic; each one parroted the wisdom of the others.  Each one finds a slightly different way of making the same dubious claims.  Notice the smug, Olympian tone.

“Current practice in the teaching of reading does not require a knowledge of the letters,” says Dr. Donald D. Darrell.

“The skillful teacher will be reluctant to use any phonetic method with all children,” says Dr. Paul Witty.