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ERIC Number: ED370090
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Phonics Revisited.
Weaver, Constance
Various lines of research demonstrate that children do not need intensive phonics instruction to develop the functional command of letter/sound patterns that they need as readers. The fact that children normally learn highly complex processes and systems by merely interacting with the external world is perhaps the most important reason why children do not need systematic and intensive phonics instruction. Other reasons (based on research) are: (1) English is an alphabetic language, but by no means a phonetic one; (2) spelling/sound relationships are extremely complex, so complex that commonly taught phonics generalizations are not reliable; (3) patterns of letters are much more consistent than the relationships between single sounds and syllables; (4) it is much easier for young children to hear and grasp syllables and syllable-like units in written language than to hear separate letter sounds; (5) proficient reading involves using everything readers know to get words and construct meaning from text; (6) too much emphasis on phonics encourages children to use "sound it out" as their first and possibly only independent strategy for dealing with problem words; (7) many emergent readers are not good at learning analytically, abstractly, or auditorily; (8) research purporting to demonstrate the superiority of intensive systematic phonics over incidental phonics (most of which is pre-1967) is not very impressive; and (9) more recent research comparing whole language classrooms with traditional skills-based classrooms (including those that emphasize phonics) has found that children develop phonics skills as well or better in whole language classrooms as measured on standardized tests. (Contains 41 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A