chapter  9
13 Pages

The Principle for Competing Phonics Rules

Artificial notions of what phonics rules are supposed to look like lead inevitably to the formulation of empirically inadequate rules. We have already observed, for example, that some phonics rules connect letters to sounds on the basis of the word’s grammatical category, which means that the reader must first identify the word in order to set the phonics rules in motion. The notion that phonics rules are supposed to lead to word identification is, at least in those examples, thoroughly undermined. The only way an advocate of phonics as a tool for word identification can express the relevant letter-sound connection is to excise the grammatical information from the rule, thereby distorting it, and leaving it empirically compromised.