Finally, after years of trying to understand Whole Word (a/k/a Sight Words, Dolch Words, etc.), I realized that the process the education professors were so in love with was like what the police do in a criminal investigation. Obviously, this is tedious work, with many false starts and dead-ends. It’s hard, exhausting work for mind and body.
At that instant Whole Word, the dominant theory for 80 ruinous years, was so clearly preposterous, time-consuming, and draining, so blatantly without a scrap of merit, that no one should take it seriously. The professors are prescribing unpleasant work, not reading as you and I understand this term.
Think, for contrast, how adults read. It is the most effortless activity of the day. It is easier than eating or driving. Hundreds of millions of people read for pleasure. They sink into a book the way an exhausted athlete settles into a hot bath. We have to use up all our words for effortless, restful, restorative, enjoyable, and just plain fun. Reading is all those things if, here’s the rub, one can actually read.
Now let’s look back at Whole Word, which requires that children memorize the shapes of words, an endless, agonizingly tedious process in itself. But even if on schedule, these children can hardly read at all, even in middle school. To compensate for this bizarre deficiency, the children are told to guess, to predict, to figure out meanings from context, in short, to play detective.
Finally it was the phrase “picture clues” that broke the case open for me. The only way you can look at a picture is to look away from the words. That’s the last thing a real reader wants to do, or needs to do.
All the techniques taught in Whole Word basically involve... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2011, 03). Reading Is Not Supposed to Be Detective Work. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 03, 2011, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Reading-Is-Not-Supposed-To-Be-610530.html
"Reading Is Not Supposed to Be Detective Work" StudyMode.com. 03 2011. 03 2011 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Reading-Is-Not-Supposed-To-Be-610530.html>.
"Reading Is Not Supposed to Be Detective Work." StudyMode.com. 03, 2011. Accessed 03, 2011. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Reading-Is-Not-Supposed-To-Be-610530.html.