The United States has a long history of debate concerning the various methods used to teach reading, including Phonics. In 1999, The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U.S.A.) appears to conclude that systematic phonics programs are "significantly more effective" than non-phonics programs. It also concludes that they found no significant difference between the different phonics approaches, while suggesting that more evidence may be required.
The National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) has come out in support of phonics instruction. The institute conducts and supports research on all stages of human development. The institute conducted a meta-analysis and, in 2005, it published a report entitled Report of the National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read. Some findings and determinations of this report are:
- Teaching phonemic awareness(PA) to children was "highly effective" with a variety of learners under a variety of conditions. (Note: Phonemic Awareness/PA is the ability to manipulate phonemes in spoken syllables and words. Phonemes are the smallest units composing spoken language. For example, the words "go" and "she" each consist of two sounds or phonemes, /g/-/oe/ and /sh/-/ee/.)
- Reading instruction that taught PA improved the children's reading ability significantly more than those that lacked this instruction.
- PA helped normally achieving children to spell, but was not effective in helping disabled readers to spell better.
- "Systematic synthetic phonics" instruction had a positive and significant effect on helping disabled readers, low achieving students, and students with low socioeconomic status to read words more effectively than instruction methods that lacked this approach.
- Systematic Phonics instruction improved the ability of good readers to spell. Poor readers experienced a small improvement.
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—Westbrook Pegler (18941969)
“The biggest difference between ancient Rome and the USA is that in Rome the common man was treated like a dog. In America he sets the tone. This is the first country where the common man could stand erect.”
—I.F. (Isidor Feinstein)