Is the Whole Language Approach Behind Dyslexia?
The New American's Sam Blumenfeld thinks so — Dr. Seuss and Dyslexia. The author quotes a researcher whom he says "discovered that when preschoolers memorize as sight words the entire texts of such popular books as Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham, they develop a block against seeing the words phonetically and thus become 'dyslexic,'" continuing,
- They become sight readers with a holistic reflex rather than phonetic readers with a phonetic reflex. A holistic reader looks at each word as a little picture, a configuration, much like a Chinese ideograph, and tries to think of the word it represents. A phonetic reader associates letters with sounds and can sound out the syllabic units that blend into an articulated word.
What this means is that parents should teach their children to read phonetically before giving them the Dr. Seuss books to read. They should avoid having their children memorize words by their configurations alone, because once that mode of viewing words becomes an automatic reflex, it will create a block against phonics.