Good things come from East BaltimoreI resent the statement...


January 10, 1998

Good things come from East Baltimore

I resent the statement that former Baltimore County Executive Theodore G. Venetoulis made in the Jan. 5 obituary for his brother, Nicholas Venetoulis.

He commented on how his brother had the guts and talent to "dig out of our blue-collar neighborhood in East Baltimore," as if it were a hole.

A lot of successful people, including myself, have come from East Baltimore, which at one time was considered a decent area to live in.

When we reach success, we tend to deprecate the area in which our parents planted our roots.

S. Z. Breeden


Teaching reading isn't that simple

As a third-grade teacher, I have read each "Reading by 9" article with interest. "Phonics" and "whole language" are not exclusive. Phonics is an important component of reading instruction, but I am deeply disturbed that many tout phonics as the method of teaching reading.

Noted whole-language educator Regie Routman says, "It would be irresponsible and inexcusable not to teach phonics." Research shows that there are three main cuing systems for reading. As listed by Mem Fox in "Radical Reflections," these are, "knowledge of the world (semantic), knowledge of language (syntactic) and knowledge of print (graphonomic)."

Please consider how you, as an adult, read. Most likely, you use the strategies of re-reading, context, prior knowledge and phonics.

Whole-language teachers instruct students to use all of the above strategies to derive meaning from print. Whole language does not involve "outright guessing," as reported in the Nov. 2 edition of The Sun. Whole language is, in part, using appropriate literature (fiction and non-fiction); teaching reading skills in the context of meaningful literature; teaching writing by demonstrating conventions of language, handwriting and spelling; and involving students in authentic writing activities.

We strive to create literate students who can read and who choose to read, who can write and who choose to write. "Sounding it out" is part of the story, but it is not the whole story.

Barbara A. Hensel


Caption error was made by newspaper

In a Jan. 6 letter, Willard R. Mumford of Annapolis rightly points out that a photo caption accompanying a Jan. 2 article about "American Originals," a major exhibition at the National Archives and Records Administration, incorrectly identified the child in the photograph.

It is important to note, however, that the error in The Sun did not appear in the exhibition.

The exhibition features one of Lewis Hine's famous photographs of child workers from the early 20th century and correctly cites the photograph as that of Laura Petty, a 6-year old who worked on a farm near Baltimore.

Susan Cooper


The writer is director of public affairs for the National Archives and Records Administration.

Real estate fees are negotiable

Two real estate companies recently announced that they would be charging home sellers a $150 administrative fee in addition to their 6 or 7 percent rate of commission.

Jim O'Conor of O'Conor, Piper and Flynn Realtors and D. R. Grempler, president of Coldwell Banker Grempler, cited as reasons the rising costs associated with government regulations well as the shrinking commission split by the agent and broker.

The real estate business is a lucrative business and some real estate companies find it necessary to inflate commission rates by adding on other fees to support their outrageous overhead.

The Consumer Federation of America contends that home sellers pay too much for services by about $4 billion a year.

On a typical $100,000 sale, the so-called "prevailing rate" earns a real estate company $7,000. If home sellers were informed that commission rates are negotiable they could get a much better deal and save 2 percent if they insisted. Home sellers should also shop for a lower rate of commission. A reduction of 2 percent would be a substantial savings to a seller.

Some real estate companies are taking advantage of the uninformed consumer, similar to the funeral business until it became state and federally regulated.

The home seller should shop for the best rate of commission, just as we do for any other product or service.

The seller should also know that if a house is priced right, it will almost sell itself and a real estate agent has very little work to do. There is no reason whatsoever that a real estate company should make more money than the seller from the sale of the house.

Frank W. Soltis

Bel Air

Pub Date: 1/10/98

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