There is a lot of denial going on at the moment. The major area of denial is in the domain of climate and climate change. Hopefully that matter will move beyond debate to action and the sooner the better.

Within the educational domain there are also deniers and a deep field of denialism. One of these fields embraces language acquisition and skills necessary for the development of reading skills. “Phonics” versus “whole word analysis” is the case in point. It’s an important debate, because so many children these days are well and truly behind the eight ball when it comes to reading competencies. That’s not just in the area of formal testing comparison, is but also within the domain of intelligent understanding and comprehension of the written word and messages being conveyed through text.

As a retired school principal and a person who for the whole of my teaching career was very keen that students receive the best possible teaching approach for the acquisition of understanding of language, I found the following except from an article very empowering.

The paragraph is lifted from an article by Greg Sheridan written into “The Week and Australian Review” of January 11 and 12th 2020.

In a few short words it reinforced my belief in phonics is a superior method of word understanding and language acquisition..

This is what Sheridan wrote.

“At Christmas, Tatiana received a book from her great grandmother, my wife’s mother. It was a children’s fantasy story, not a picture book, and full of pretty tough words and even some anachronistic English expressions. Tatiana read it out loud like an ABC newsreader. I am astonished at her fluency. The odd word she didn’t know she sounded out very effectively. Phonics really works. Perhaps one word in 80 I finally had to help her with. Her reading is attributed to her school and to her parents, and of course to her own innate curiosity.”

While the study of whole words is interesting it is a part of the way in which children satisfy the curiosity, it’s the “root” of learning that is so important and can be satisfied only by phonetic study.

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