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Reading Without Nonsense 4th Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Smith, using the most astoundingly clear language you will see a excruciatingly long time, lays a overwhelming case for a predominately whole-language approach for literacy instruction.
Every single one of these thirteen chapters equals every one of the others. I cannot pick out a superlative section; all sparkle and educate.
I think I have read the "dismantling & rebuilding" of phonics chapter (#4) the most because he amazes me with his ability to analytical render phonics a mess that needs fixing and re-focusing.
I put this book in my essentials library. Please read it. If nothing else, he will give you much food for thought before creating your emergent literacy lessons in your early childhood classroom.
Look up Decoding Dyslexia for your state on Facebook to join with other parents in the fight for change from these archaic publications.
Smith is famous for asserting, in this book, "Readers do not need the alphabet." I keep wondering how they would use a dictionary.
Smith wants you to ignore the phonetic clues within each word. He wants you to look only at the shapes of words. English thereby becomes a vast chaos of nearly one million logos.
Smith writes what I take to be a brilliant kind of sophistry. Everything seems so clear, so sincere. You have to read a paragraph several times to realize that the meaning is slipping away. In an odd way, I would recommend this book for people who want their minds stretched.
Finally, you have to wait for those flat assertions that you can compare to a reality you know. Smith states that children can acquire vocabularies of 50,000 sight words! I had read years before that only the smartest Chinese can master even 20,000 of their ideograms. (Note that these ideograms come in only one form--no upper case, lower case, script, etc.)
Smith claims that learning new sight words is easy--as when you see new cars or meet new people. Sounds good until you try to imagine somebody memorizing 10,000 cars or faces. Perhaps people with photographic memories could manage it. But not the average kid in school. And 10,000 words is just the threshold of literacy.
People not in education should know that twenty years ago, whole word was king, and Smith was an ed god. But now even California has figured out that reading without phonics is nonsense indeed.Read more ›
Smith does repeat himself, but to me that is fine as it re-enforces the points. We so often hear about phonics, a little extra on the opposing camp is necessary to balance things out.
It was my re-reading of the book that really sealed it for me. The first read, in places it seemed so radical I rejected it. "How can he say that about phonics? Phonics seems so natural to me. There is so much published on the importance of phonics". Don't take my word for it about Smith's assertions. Read the book and experiment with random words yourself.
Finally his point about Chinese writing is well taken and that English has many similarities to it. I've studied Chinese characters and see that they are often logical and built up of small pieces that relate to each other. The point here is even if English could be re-written to be phonetic only, it would lose so many clues as to the meaning of a word, it probably would have as many negatives as positives.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very helpful book when learning to become a reading specialist/literacy coach. Smith is easy to understand and connect to. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Rebecca Michalak
Excellent product. This is the best ever purchase of my life. I can't believe how lucky I am for buying this product. My life has changed for the best. For ever.Published 23 months ago by Rock
Should be required reading for anyone teaching reading. A non-standard slant on teaching and learning which makes a lot of sense. Hard to say why he isn't right...Published on December 9, 2012 by M. N. Rockwell
This was not a great read but it did have some very interesting thought however it was hard to get intoPublished on November 26, 2012 by Danielle Beck
This is a great book but that is not why this was a great buy. The shipping was quicker than I expected and free!! The book is new and it arrived in great conditions.Published on February 19, 2010 by Maria C. Escobedo
PLEASE CHECK MY WISH LIST FOR AMAZING REMEDIAL READING RESOURCES. Spelling and reading have only been around for about 5000 years. Read morePublished on April 28, 2009 by tangldupnblue