Phonics vs. Sight Words Related Tags: K-2 Primary,3-5 Upper Elementary More Related Discussions Bruce Deitrick Price , Founder, Improve-Education.org Posted 12/16/2010 2:29PM | Last Commented 06/11/2014 7:01PM 36 Replies 7042 Views Sign in to vote! Sign in to Flag as Spam Share 36 Share Comments (36 Replies)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS Newest Related Discussions Posted 12/16/2010 2:55pm Bruce Deitrick PriceFounder, Improve-Education.org If you go to YouTube you will see that the Reading Wars rage on. To my surprise, there are a lot of videos that present sight-words (or Dolch words) as a good and necessary thing. I would've thought that "Why Johnny Can't Read" disproved that a long time ago. Be that as it may, if you are looking for arguments against sight-words and for phonics, I have a dozen videos on YouTube that explore these issues. (These are short graphic videos for the most part.) The newest one is called "Why Sight Words Prevent Reading and Cause Dyslexia." Basically, English has far too many words and far too many typefaces for anyone to learn to read with sight-words. Automaticity might be achieved for a few hundred designs, but not for thousands, especially when the designs are constantly changing due to our uppercase, lowercase, etc. It's astonishing that the experts pushing Dolch words pretended for decades that automaticity can be routinely achieved; and they did this without ever once suggesting how students are supposed to cope with our fairly astonishing range of fonts. For one tiny example, if a child memorized this configuration, far, would the child recognize this configuration: FAR? How could he? The two designs have little in common. They are much further apart than, say, S and $. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkPHrr5VGSU Sign in to vote! Posted 12/16/2010 3:09pm Bruce Deitrick PriceFounder, Improve-Education.org Sorry about the double posting and the typo in the first try. The site just did what it wanted. You know how computers can be. Sign in to vote! Posted 2/8/2011 6:50pm karen smithfirst grade teacher from Chattanooga, TN I agree that phonics is absolutely essential. However, don't you think with the way our English language has so many rule breaking sounds that many of our words are indeed "sight words"? I teach a strong phonics based curriculum, but we also teach 20 new sight words every 2 weeks. Sign in to vote! Posted 2/8/2011 10:45pm Lyanne I teach in Delta, British Columbia grades 1/2. We use Words Their Way - a phonics and sight word based program. Excellent to balance both methods and teach kids the patterns of the English language. Sign in to vote! Posted 5/4/2011 8:56pm Ms. A. Words Their Way is phonics - It uses the onset - rime and word family approach. You are sorting words based on word families. Sight word reading takes me back to - Dick Jane Sally and Spot. I was taught to recognize words that didn't relate to one another; the flash card approach. Some children will learn to read regardless which approach you use, but without phonics, they will struggle with English spelling. The children I teach are special education English language learners. The sequence of instruction is, concepts about print - phonemic awareness and phonics. Sight words are taught for those words that aren't phonetic. Sign in to vote! Posted 5/4/2011 9:19pm Mary Kate LandMontessori 4-6th grade teacher Blogger 2014 I agree that some English words must be taught by sight. Most students also respond well to phonics instruction, especially when it is embedded in a rich literary environment. I have worked with a few kids who really did not "get" phonics at all and learned to read by memorizing word shapes. Some of these kids are very good readers as upper el students, so it must have worked for them. But it can be a real struggle for them to get started as readers. One of the most precarious dangers in this realm is the assumption that there is one way to teach reading. There are many strategies to learn which will help people to decode words. We all depend on these strategies to different degrees. We ought to be thinking about diversifying reading instruction to reach multiple modalities and presenting information through a variety of activities. There is always more than one way to learn something because there are always so many different approaches to learning. Keep in mind that learning involves students making a change in their brains. The quickest route is to relate new information to old stuff already in storage. That means that the curriculum we present is only half the story of any learning situation. The other half comes from the student, occurs in endless variety, and constitutes a substantial portion of the challenge of our profession. One size is never gonna fit all when every brain is so unique! MK Sign in to vote! Discussion "I'm Done": Meaningful Work for Classroom DowntimeLast comment 6 hours 7 min ago in Classroom Management Schools that Work Travel Journals: Student-Created TextbooksLast comment 2 days 29 min ago in Integrated Studies Schools that Work Using Exhibits as AssessmentLast comment 6 days 5 hours ago in Assessment blog A Cornucopia of Multidisciplinary TeachingLast comment 1 week 2 days ago in Integrated Studies blog Developing Students' Trust: The Key to a Learning PartnershipLast comment 6 years 6 months ago in Student Engagement Sign in and Join the Discussion! Not a member? Register to join the discussion. Sign in using social networks Or sign in here: Email address * Password * Forgot your password?