[Susan notes: Note: The parts of this good letter printed in bold are the parts the editors omitted when they published it.]
To the editor
The letter entitled, "Only true method" was both interesting and entertaining to say the least. To suggest that the only true method for reading is using phonics is based on an ill informed definition of not only what phonics is, but what reading is as well. First, phonics is not a method of teaching reading, but rather one of a number of ways a child can learn to read words. Using the context of the passage as well as the pictures on the page are ways that can help a child learn to read words. Frank Smith, an author on the subject, says that giving some concepts about phonics can help a child, but there are limits on phonics. Too many of the rules are very complex and there are many exceptions to the rules as well. The issue is not a lack of phonics, but a lack of books in both the classroom and the school library. Research shows us that when children have more access to books, achievement increases. Maybe the only true method is to do one simple thing which is give children books and lots of them to read. Itís so easy.
Tim K. Campbell
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