August 18, 2022
(To join our email list, click here.)
Time Magazine reports there is an internal struggle among teachers and school systems across America—in an attempt to turn back the clock and teach the basics of reading to first and second grade students.
It seems that phonics was dropped by the side of the road years ago, because many teachers didn’t have the patience for it. They wouldn’t go through the laborious step by step process of imparting the basic sounds of letters and letter combinations to young minds.
And trying to read without learning those sounds is a complete failure for all but a relatively few students.
But now, phonics is on the way back in some school districts. I guess it’s too embarrassing to show parents reading-test scores that come in lower than sea-bottom.
I recall learning phonics day after day in the first and second grade, in 1943 and 1944.
Memo to school boards buying text books these days: We had no text books.
The teacher taught phonics using the blackboard.
When we’d progressed far enough, we read, bit by bit, from Dick and Jane books. And those books weren’t new. They were handed down from class to class every year.
My earliest memory of reading instruction (first grade): Each student had a little box containing small squares of cardboard. On each square was a letter. The teacher printed a simple sentence on the blackboard. We dug into our boxes, pulled out the squares, and laid out that sentence on our desks.
Those were the primitive conditions of yesteryear.
They were more than adequate. The TEACHERS were the key.
As we moved up from grade to grade, there was the excitement of knowing we could go to the school library, find books, check them out, and read them. We knew how to read.
When I was 11, I was on a baseball team playing in a tournament in Niagara Falls. Just before climbing on the bus for the long ride back to New York, I ran into a store, spotted a book rack, and grabbed a paperback.
It was Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles.
Reading it on the way home, I thought about becoming a writer for the first time.
I still remember my first grade teacher, Miss Hampe. She was patient, disciplined, and kind. No student ever considered getting around her and avoiding schoolwork.
The child geniuses who inhabit classrooms these days can call us prisoners. But we did eventually throw off our chains.
When we were ready. When we had learned enough.
And no moron or monster ever asked us, “Have you thought about what gender you are?”
(Episode 19 of Rappoport Podcasts — “The FBI Mar-a-Lago raid, and much more; Three mind-boggling events this past week; Number 3 is virtually unknown, and it’s a massive crusher—FOR us, not against us” — is now posted on my substack. It’s a blockbuster. To listen, click here. To learn more about This Episode of Rappoport Podcasts, click here.)
(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, The Matrix Revealed, click here.)
To read Jon’s articles on Substack, click here.
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFa