Friday, September 08, 2006
NOT TO PICK ON BLAIR,
BUT FIRST GRADE PAPERS
SCREAM READING MISTEACHING
I'm sure these same kinds of mistakes are made in first-grade classrooms statewide, but I happen to have seen this in the Washington County Enterprise, and while I don't mean to pick on the Blair Public Schools, I have to point it out:
The newspaper featured four simple little "All About Me" projects by first-graders at South Elementary School in Blair. The artwork is darling and the handwriting is actually pretty good, but here are misspellings on three of the four little projects:
"play my Lito Pome" (play My Little Pony)
"play wif daisy" (play with Daisy)
"red bux" (read books)
If these children were being taught to read using only the phonograms -- the sounds the letters make, and how they are written -- with the rules of spelling for easy, commonly-found first-grade words like these, they wouldn't be making those unphonetic, wildly inaccurate misspellings.
They are being mistaught by misguided, ineffective Whole Language reading methods. Anything other than phonics-only reading instruction will do this to kids. There's no way around it. They're being locked in to lifelong near-illiteracy without the skills to pull themselves up and away from that pit. It's like giving them a 10,000-calorie-a-day diet throughout grade school, and then wondering why they're obese by the time they hit junior high.
You may think it's adorable at this stage of the game . . . but believe me, it is anything BUT cute when these same reading and writing errors persist into late grade school and beyond. And they will, for far too many of these kids.
I'm putting on my bellbottoms, love beads, granny glasses and protest signs, and shouting:
How come kiddies read so slow?
How come none of them can spell?
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