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‘Sight Words’ are clue that school has defective phonics program

Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013 11:51 a.m. CST

To the editor:

If your school has a phonics program that relies on “sight words”, then it is a defective program that is keeping down student proficiency in reading, writing, and spelling because the correct rules for sounding out words are not being taught.  A good phonics curriculum recognizes that each letter and combination of letters creates a sound that helps in sounding out all words – something the phonics curriculum that was dropped in the 1950s did.  When phonics was dropped from the curriculum fifty years ago, training in effective teaching of the good phonics concepts was dropped from teacher training programs – replaced by the defective student theory to explain the severe drop in student achievement and proficiency.  

To help children properly learn the phonics concepts, you can purchase education apps, computer education programs, and/or education games with the correct rules (concepts) for grade level achievement and above.  When considering an app, program, or game, do an internal search for “sight words”.  If the search comes back with “no results” then you have a good program that can teach the correct concepts.  If you get anything else, then you are dealing with a program every bit as bad as the one in the schools.  Hooked on Phonics is one I have found that does not rely on “sight words”, making it one of the good choices to correctly teach students good phonics concepts.

Sue Atkinson, Ph.D.


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