The Newman Report by Alex Newman
Teaching phonics is crucial to teaching reading when dealing with a phonetic writing system such as the one used in the English language. Memorizing so-called “sight words,” by contrast, is mental poison, or Thalidomide for the brain as my friend and colleague Dr. Sam Blumenfeld used to say.
As if more evidence was needed of this, the recent Florida Standards Assessments results from Collier County, Florida, make it perfectly clear. One school, known as the Mason Classical Academy, shines bright in the district. It scored number one in English Language Arts (ELA) in the county, with 90 percent of its third graders scoring proficient.
By contrast, just 58 percent of third graders in the county were proficient, even using Common Core’s dumbed-down metrics. And incredibly, they are above the state average. (In California, just 43 percent of third graders were proficient. And six Baltimore public schools could not produce even one student proficient in ELA or math.) [Full Article]