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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

A 180-degree shift: New York plans on implementing phonics into English studies

+New+York+will+be+switching+up+their+public+school+reading+program+to+a+phonics-based+system+in+hopes+of+improving+reading+comprehension+for+younger+students
Shobini Iyer
New York will be switching up their public school reading program to a phonics-based system in hopes of improving reading comprehension for younger students

Learning how to read is a vital skill that is taught at a young age for most people. After children start speaking around 12 to 18 months, they begin to read from ages six to eight. Reading not only serves as an important measure of the first years of life, it has also become a test towards the determination of high school and college placement classes. 

Currently, children are taught to read from using context clues in order to guess words; however, this system is leaving many to question the priorities of the American education system.

Not including minority students, a whopping 51 percent of children can’t read and half the students in grades 3-8 perform poorly on reading tests. This is an immense problem considering the ACT and SAT both test over reading. 

Senior Sophia Ramaraju, who completed the AP Literature test, feels that it is important to have a strong background in reading to be successful. “I don’t think people fully understand the importance of having a good background in English. Learning a language that surrounds everyone daily and being able to read, write and speak well is a contributing factor to success in secondary education,” said Ramaraju. 

Instead of turning reading into a guessing game, public schools in New York plan to change to a phonics system. This system is programmed to help students decode letters in order to process and read. Instead of relying on memory or an educated guess, students base their reading off of previous facts and knowledge. 

Secondary level reading specialist, Kelby LaBarge, shared her excitement about giving students a better English background from the start. “I do see a phonics-based system as being beneficial in the beginning whereas a picture-based development of language could be a little more subjective,” said LaBarge.

Other states have also considered implementing this into their own educational system. California has been slowly achieving this method, but due to teacher strikes and recovering from the pandemic, adding a new way of teaching English is not a top priority. 

“There is obviously a problem with reading in America, but all we are doing is staring at the problem without fixing it. I think using the phonic-system is a great idea considering that what we are doing now isn’t working well,” said Ramaraju.

Reading is an ability that does not come naturally to children; it must be taught and trained. Having to guess a word given 26 options should not be implemented into the educational system that is currently in place. Over 15,000 syllables and the growing number of words is unjustifiable to expect children to learn. Adding in a phonics based system will eventually cause a shift in English learning and decrease the number of illiterate children. 

 

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About the Contributors
Libby Kamp
Libby Kamp, Sports Editor
Elizabeth “Libby” Kamp, is a senior at Pleasant Valley, and serves as the Sports Editor for the Spartan Shield. Since the age of five, Libby has participated in soccer. She also has played for the Spartans as goalie, and has joined her fellow teammates in two state appearances. Beyond athletics, Libby enjoys playing the ukulele, serving and drinking coffee, and having fun with her friends. Some of her favorite things include the show Gilmore Girls and the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. Fun fact about her is that she has a tendency to adopt stray cats, and she currently has three, Bootsie, Jules, and Quincy. Her best party trick is she can actually sing the alphabet backwards. Libby’s favorite class besides journalism is Anatomy and Physiology. After high school Libby plans on attending Quincy University to continue her academic and soccer career, with hopes of one day becoming a traveling nurse. 

Shobini Iyer
Shobini Iyer, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Shobini Iyer is currently a senior at Pleasant Valley and serves as the Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Spartan Shield. Aside from Honors Journalism, Shobini’s favorite classes consist of AP Physics and AP Calculus. In addition to her academics, Shobini immerses herself in activities such as First Tech Challenge, Math Club, and Ethics Bowl. Shobini is actively involved in the Arts at Pleasant Valley and takes part in choir, jazz choir, and plays violin in the local Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra. When she isn’t working for the Shield, Shobini enjoys mentoring young robotics teams, watching movies, and curating Spotify playlists for every mood. Outside of school, Shobini can be found working at Mathnasium or traveling with her family. Shobini is looking forward to working for the Shield this semester!
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A 180-degree shift: New York plans on implementing phonics into English studies