Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Bush’s reading wars

Hmmm. Bush has quietly declared a war on reading. 2 million bucks? My own experience with this new emphasis on phonics is it’s a major pain in the arse for the children who were doing quite dandy on the whole language route because you’re now under pressure to sound everything out, despite it being an extremely tedious way of learning. It reduces language to a packet of tic-tacs.

 Besides it’s hard not to be deeply suspicious of something Bush supports — he’s hardly an example of fluency himself. I must dig out the nuclear example. (There’s a great gaff during a speech on literacy floating about, not on this link though) or http://www.dubyagump.com/ (This fella, of f. u. Cheney fame, has a follow up Dubya moment on youtube that’s very funny.

(From New York Times) 

Across the country — in Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine and New Jersey — schools and districts with programs that did not stress phonics were either rejected for grants or pressured to change their methods even though some argued, as Madison did, that their programs met the law’s standard.

You can see the future, school budgets will be based on how many copies of the bible in the school library …  a bonus for statues and religious iconography. Jesus Camp (clips can be found on youtube) is a great view for anyone interested in the indoctrination of children. It’s not just religious anymore, the documentary exposes the politicisation of these children, who were shown praying for the election of particular Judge (with an anti abortion position), praying intensely for a right wing government. It’s a fascinating documentary.

2 Responses to “Bush’s reading wars”

  • Liz Ditz says:

    I fear you have been taken in by Schemo’s sloppy, biased reporting. Allow me to share with you some rebuttals.

    http://www.ednews.org/articles/8998/1/READING-FIRST-FACTS-Diana-Jean-Schemos-recent-piece-about-the-Reading-First-program-In-War-Over-Teaching-Reading-Some-Districts-Clash-With-US-March-9/Page1.html


  • mrsokana says:

    Thanks v much for providing the link and rebuttals, which are a bit long to publish them all, so folks should click link to read them.

    My point was, is and will always be that phonics is a tedious way to learn to read. Even though, in the many rebuttals found at the link, authors insist these kinds of programs have multiple strands, my experience as a parent of a child in the classroom has sometimes been (depending on the teacher) an over emphasis on phonics and no flexibility nor little tolerance for whole language learners. Progress was measured on being able to correctly quack out the right sound on cue, and little else. Whole language readers become frustrated having to chop everything up. This quacking does not inspire a love of literature.

    I find this notion: “Reading First provides federal funding to those programs incorporating methods that are based on scientifically proven principles of instruction.” worrying. I’ve heard of children being able to decode an entire book, yet not comprehending much of what they’re reading. Are they going back twenty years later and examining the relationship that children who learned phonetically now enjoy with literature? Literature and the act of reading appear to me to be beyond scientific measurement because they continue to evolve over a lifetime.

    I do accept that struggling readers or children with learning disabilities require alternate systems of instruction and phonics has be shown to have a higher success rate and whole language approaches are not appropriate.
    But just because a child hails from an economically deprived background it shouldn’t mean that along with all their other disadvantages, language (or your reading acquisition/experience) may become reduced to a bunch of tic-tacs in those early years.


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