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Tim Shanahan: 'How to Knock Down Five Strawman Arguments Against Phonics'

Posted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:27 pm
by Debbie_Hepplewhite
Literacy specialist Tim Shanahan has an excellent blog and this is one of his contributions - it's important because it features very common issues raised that, in effect, resist and discredit phonics provision:

How to Knock Down Five Strawman Arguments Against Phonics

https://www.shanahanonliteracy.com/blog ... st-phonics

Recently, the Washington Post published an article about the latest hostilities in the “reading wars.” Washington Post Article.

I noticed it because the columnist, Jay Matthews, quoted from this blog.

The column did a good job of surfacing the disagreements, but what really caught my eye was the comments section. More than 50 readers had weighed in – defending phonics or trying to clothesline it.

As a longtime phonics advocate, I was especially sensitive to the illogical arguments against decoding instruction. They were mostly the same arguments I’ve heard for the last 50 years of my career.

I might think these to be illogical arguments, but they appear to be persuasive to someone or they wouldn’t keep getting repeated. That’s the thing about logically fallacious arguments – they sound a lot like logically reasonable ones. That’s particularly true for people who may not have a depth of knowledge on the topic, like a first-time mom whose kids are just reaching phonics age, or the experienced high school teacher who knows education, but is not well-versed on decoding.