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Q&A: FW school board candidates share views/Question 4
Phonics has proven to be the most successful teaching method, but not for all. So it is important to supplement other styles as needed to help each individual student meet the grade-level reading standard.
Phonics must be a part of reading instruction, especially in the primary grades and remedial instruction. We need students not only able to decode the letter sounds and words but able to comprehend what they are reading and provide feedback on what they have read. A one-size fits all approach will not work with all students. Not only is the ability to read important, but also the enjoyment of reading is equally important.
Scott G. Best:
I support a phonics-based curriculum, which emphasizes the importance of understanding over memorizing. This method teaches beginners to read and pronounce words by having them relate to letter sounds.
Charles R. Hoff:
I am for a strong initial dose of phonics, followed by literacy skills involving critical thinking and learning from context. I was personally trained in Sight Reading 55 years ago but then took to reading with intensity. I am grateful it worked for me. However, today there are many distractions that keep young people from reading. Reading is vital to all other academic disciplines. After a mastery of the decoding that phonics targets, we have to move on to problem-solving and reasoning skills.
For the majority of children, I believe that phonetic learning is superior in the early years and the district should gear their classroom materials in that direction. A specific childs need of additional or alternative help can be addressed individually.
Earl Van Dorien Jr.:
I support a mostly phonics-based curriculum in the early years, like kindergarten to third- or fourth-grade There are too many definitions of whole language, constructivist language and new language, floating about. Definitions that can get clouded over time. I support teaching phonics early, and then using the reading knowledge gained to read about other subjects. Some actually call this whole language! Ive heard this referred to as learn to read, read
I was a product of the early Whole Language or Sight Reading approach which proved disastrous for me. I believe that a basic understanding of phonics coupled with the Whole Language vision will enhance and improve the students reading ability.
William A. May:
I think Phonics is likely to be more successful that other methods. I am not an educator and cannot make a clear claim to my opinion. The board will only make policy decisions, I would expect my policy would be to provide a preferred solution using Phonics, yet provide additional supports for other competing systems when individual students are not successful with Phonics.
I personally prefer Phonics as it has always seemed the most practical. I would accept a mixed reading program that incorporated both systems as some students may do better with one over the other. The important point here is to get the child reading at a young age, the sooner the better no matter which system gets the credit.