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LETTER: Teaching phonics is not a panacea

In response to Mona Charen’s Tuesday column supporting phonics reading instruction:

The idea that English is a phonetic language is laughable. One symbol, one sound is a great idea. But that’s not English. It is also not French. Spanish, German and Italian come closer. Our kids have a spelling contest and so do the French. In the other countries most kids learn to spell words quickly and correctly because letters either separately or in certain combinations have unique sounds. In English a combination of phonetic learning and “sight reading” is needed. How else can a kid distinguish wind from wind? And after the spelling bee how does one decide which one won?

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