OK, Phombies, let’s consider phonics from the perspective of professional development. Phonics requires participants to memorize arbitrary sets of made-up things, like these:
~phonograms, which may be single graphemes, clusters, markers, syllables, parts of syllables affixes, rimes, or combinations thereof.
~syllable types, which are an unspecified mix of spoken and written patterns. Are there 6? 7? 8? I’ve heard it all.
~syllable division patterns, which are noncontrovserially artificial. Are there 4 patterns? 5? 6? 8? Where do you divide royal? How about roil? Or father? Is it fa.ther or fath.er? How do you know? What’s the evidence? If you divide de.ter.min.a.tion or ques.tion, you are totally missing everything about those words.
~phonemes for a grapheme, which may or may not actually be phonemes (like grouping <a> in with ‘short u’) or graphemes (like *<eigh> or *<ti>)
~copious, endless lies about etymology (I’ve documented this widely — go look — cry is not Anglo-Saxon and television is not Latin. The Romans HAD no televisions and they were so jealous of the Greeks about that).
~”guided questioning” which teachers are supposed to be able to pull out of their mental hat, and which are based on the rest of the false understanding: “what type of syllable is it?” “what is the vowel sound in a closed syllable?” “How many phonograms are there in nation?” “What spells */shun/?” Infinite questions, finite discoveries.
~red words or whatever you call this abomination. Words are not red or tricky or demons unless human beings make them that way. That is a fact. Give me any word you think is an exception and I will make your brain grow.
~symbols for pronunciation, which differ from one program to another, beyond the short and long vowels. If you represent medial consonant in ‘father’ as */th/, then how do you represent the medial consonant in ‘panther’ (also */th/?) or in ‘hothouse’ (also /th/?). Some programs use /TH/ or they underline it or bold it or whatever — as I said, not consistent.
Phonics makes you good at . . . phonics. It may improve your literacy performance, but it won’t make you good at other things.
And then there’s real language study, in which you get to gather the following things, organized in an elegant framework with finite set of scientific tools to understand and infinite discoveries to make:
~morphemes, which may be free (bases) or bound (bases, affixes)
~graphemes, which are actually visible and have been researched, analyzed, and published in my LEX deck, which my “peers” are welcome to “review” at any time. Graphemes reveal and pinpoint the messiness of the phonemes that are in our heads, about whose pronunciation phonics people are arguing ad nauseum. (How do you pronounce <wh>? Or the <a> in bang or bank? Is <ar> spelling one phoneme or two?)
~syllable types: there are only two: closed, which have a consonant coda, and open, which have no coda. We also get to understand that the nucleus of a syllable is not always a vowel, and under what circumstances. Linguists don’t disagree about this, at all.
~IPA: a comprehensive, real-world symbol system that works not only for English, but for any language, and that is used not only by linguists, but by lexicographers (proper dictionaries), musicians, speech pathologists, dialect coaches, actors, singers, computer programmers, communications researchers, university professors, language teachers and students, translators and interpreters, and more.
~word sums: these work the same way for any word, including checking the joins for suffixing patterns, and they are an established tool in linguistic science.
~matrices: infinite possibilities, finite guidelines, scientific tool.
~questions: Four. The same four, always. Nothing arbitary. Finite questions, infinite discoveries.
~attested roots and reconstructed roots: etymology is a linguistic science, not a triangle with false examples.
~explanations, not exceptions.
~InSights, not sight words
~Tools to form, test, and falsify hypotheses based on physical evidence
I am not interested in developing phonics professionals. I’m interested in developing professionals. Actually, I’m just interested in developing people and being developed by them.
If you want to cheerlead for phonics here, please do so with evidence, not with citations about some article you read or what some government is doing with its schools.