Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

January 05, 2003

Springfield center thanks community

On behalf of our patients, as well as staff, I would like to thank the many organizations, churches and individuals that made possible the Holiday 2002 here at Springfield Hospital Center. Our patients enjoyed every party and the entertainment, as well as all the gifts on Christmas Day.

This event-filled month was due to the community and staff. It brought much happiness to the patients. The weather even played an important part in making the day special.

Our goal in Volunteer Services throughout the year as well as during the holidays is to provide for the needs of our patients, and without each of you this would be impossible. We hope that each of you had the best holiday possible and that year 2003 will bring health, happiness, prosperity and your continued involvement with our patients. We all need to know that someone cares.

Betty Jean Maus

Sykesville

(The writer is director of volunteer services at Springfield Hospital Center.)

Report on phonics neglects research

The Sun's enthusiastic report on Saxon phonics ("Phonics system gains support," Dec. 26) neglects the scientific research. In a recent book and in several journal papers, California State University Professor Elaine Garan concluded that systematic, intensive phonics instruction has a clear effect on reading only when tests consist of regularly spelled words in isolation. Intensive phonics has very little impact on tests of reading comprehension given after grade 1.

Some knowledge of phonics can help children get meaning from texts, but true reading competence comes from only one source: reading itself.

Stephen Krashen

(The writer is professor emeritus of education at the University of Southern California.)

Phonics is best tool for word recognition

As a longtime reading instruction specialist, I find deplorable the resistance among some teachers to direct, intensive, systematic, early, and comprehensive instruction of a prearranged hierarchy of phonics skills ("Phonics system gains support," Dec. 26). Teacher Ann Mintz was quoted in this regard as complaining that "reading is about making meaning," and not children's ability to recognize written words quickly and accurately.

It is irrational ideological beliefs about reading teaching such as this that largely account for children being denied a full opportunity to learn to read. Relevant scientific evidence makes clear that nothing relates more closely to children's reading comprehension than does automatic word recognition. And, beginning readers' ability to apply phonics rules is found to be the most time-effective means for them to attain it.

Patrick Groff

(The writer is professor emeritus of education at San Diego State University.)

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