Phonics in High School! – Marginal REVOLUTION – Marginal Revolution

It stuns me that the United States educational establishment tried to teach reading by thinking of words as pictures (whole word) or by literally using pictures to decode words (cueing). These are anti-conceptual methods and the result has been such a disaster that phonics is now being taught in high school in a (laudable) attempt to remediate.
NYTimes: In the early to mid-2010s, when high schoolers today were in elementary school, many schools practiced — and still practice — “balanced literacy,” which focuses on fostering a love of books and storytelling. Instruction may include some phonics, but also other strategies, like prompting children to use context clues — such as pictures — to guess words, a technique that has been heavily criticized for turning children away from the letters themselves.
…For some Oakhaven students, filling in gaps means going back to the beginning.
In an intensive class focused on phonics, ninth graders [AT] recently learned about adjacent consonants that make one sound, as in “rabbit,” and silent vowels. Students were mostly enthusiastic, competing to spell “repel” and giggling through an example about “dandruff.” After years of frustration, breakthroughs can feel exciting — and empowering.
One student said her grades had improved, and she was thinking about reading “The Vampire Diaries” novels, an undertaking, she said, that she previously would not have considered.
See my previous posts on Direct Instruction for more.
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Alex Tabarrok
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Tyler Cowen
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