I got this in my inbox this morning (Sunday Nov. 8 2009) and it caused me to get all righteous and riled, so I did what any normal person would do and put it on my blog.  With comments, of course.

Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

I love things like this…this kind of thing is one of the arsenals in my gallery of teaching tools.  Every time there’s a kid who can’t read well, a teacher will tell me, “He (she) isn’t sounding out the words!”, to which I say, “Thank God, ’cause I’d hate to hear him / her sound out psyche!”  It’s all such a load of crap, this phonics stuff.  I concentrate on the beginning and ending sound of each word, then on the shapes of the middle letters.  That way, they get a picture of the word in their minds.  And it works: my success rate in getting kids to read at or above grade level is over 95% every year, averaged over the past 10 years.  (I’ve left three kids back and was forced to let one go on who couldn’t read at grade level.)  So don’t let anyone tell you that the problem with kids is that they don’t know their phonics: the problem IS PHONICS.  It was not taught before the late 1950’s — and guess when reading scores began to decline?  Phonics got a big boost from federal Title 1 programs in the ’60s, and we all know what happened to literacy then.

The point is, if 55% of people can make perfect sense out of this email, then 55% do not need phonics at all.  The other 45% need to be brought to a level of awareness about beginning and ending sounds.


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