Journey to the Center of the Language

New York’s Democratic governor, having heard mysterious tales of vast, hidden vaults filled with the knowledge of all things, decides to mount a Journey to the Center of the Language: the idea that individual letters make individual sounds, and if you know the sound each letter makes, you should be able to work out how what that word is and how to pronounce it.

Phonics. It’s called phonics.

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David W Davis
January 20, 2024 4:05 PM

My children who are now 50 + yrs were taught the “new” non-phonetic way that was undeniably unsuccessful and I hope dropped from my school district some 40 years ago. Why has NY been using it today? Each new generation finds the old bad ways and reinstitutes them because they don’t research or report on actual history.

Susan Marcell
January 14, 2024 3:18 PM

I learned to read at 6 using phonics. At 8 i was reading my Mom’s college textbooks to her when she went to college and was cooking, etc. Not saying i understood it all or anything in psychology but. I could read or sound out everything but Freud, i still hate that guy.

Fluffy Goat
January 11, 2024 5:23 AM

I heard Scott say, “I turned to John Stossel in the Old Testament”.

Ron Swansons Alter Ego
January 9, 2024 7:30 AM

Just for fun, I looked this up.

January 9, 2024 4:37 AM

I used “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” to teach my daughter to read. Then we recorded every book she would read. When she was 5-6, a pre-K teacher asked her if she knew her colors and numbers. She replied, “I already read 100 books.” Expectations were so low in public school that we home-schooled through 6th grade.

George Walther
January 8, 2024 4:01 PM

“Sound it out” works very well most of the time. But at age 8 I came across the word epitome, which I for the very first time spoke out loud as “ep – ee – tome”. Fortunately my audience consisted solely of my mother, who corrected it to “e – pit – o -mee”. And with that one correction I realized there would be a whole slew of Greek derived words that did not follow my usual English phonetic instruction. And let’s consider if the initial written version of our language did not in fact start with bull-s**t. Take the… Read more »

Keith Jackson
Reply to  George Walther
January 8, 2024 6:34 PM

I read somewhere that cultures that had to lay out rice fields were necessarily better at math and 3-D patterns, hence the higher IQ. Their creativity lags, seemingly, possibly because of their predominant historical forms of government. English has some strange, illogical stuff, but rather this than wasting new symbols to memorize.

Ron Swansons Alter Ego
January 8, 2024 3:14 PM

My wife taught 5 year olds to read for 33 years. One of her biggest complaints was that every three to four years someone would bring in a “new” way to teach reading. She promptly ignored them and did mostly what Scott said; they read together. She sent books home with mom and dad and the only homework she ever assigned: read to your child and then let them read back. Sound it out. Can’t tell you how many adults she ended up helping because they had never learned to read. She finally hung it up due to not being… Read more »

Keith Jackson
January 8, 2024 2:29 PM

I yanked my kids out of public school just at the beginning of these anti-education changes. But my youngest got a heavy dose of political correctness from a school you would not have expected to go along with that crap, the former Georgia Military Academy now named Woodward Academy. As a result, even under the tutelage of this far-right curmudgeon, he winces at things said that shouldn’t be worrisome. His generation is going to be a tough nut to crack to re-animate the concepts of freedom and self-actualization.
And I thought NY state was busy not with phonics, but ebonics.

Last edited 1 month ago by Keith Jackson
Bart Lago
January 8, 2024 1:00 PM

The three words any engineer dread: ‘What if we’. Always spoken by a superior (?) whose authority is inversely proportional to his knowledge of the project. You want to slam your head into the table because the company frowns on slamming his head into the table.

John Staley
Reply to  Bart Lago
January 9, 2024 10:40 AM

I spent 35 years supervising hospital blood banks/transfusion centers in level II trauma centers. In one facility, we were burdened with a lab director who had a BS in business and owned a store specializing in soccer equipment. He got the job because he was the golfing buddy of the VP who was, among other things, over the lab. All that to say, very quickly the toughest part of my job was, every time that director came to me with a question, generally one he had been asked in a meeting, was to dumb down my answer to a point… Read more »

Karl Schweitzer
Reply to  Bart Lago
January 9, 2024 2:54 PM

I suppose the only correct, but not politically correct, answer to a question like that is the Lone Ranger based joke: “What do you mean ‘we’, kemosabe?”

Arthur Hotchkiss
January 8, 2024 12:18 PM

Giraffe. Girl? See Gallagher.