Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon 1 Tell A Friend (2 Shares)  

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   No comments
Life Arts

The Three Stooges Do Phonics!

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Laurie Endicott Thomas     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

Author 77366
Become a Fan
  (5 fans)

Here's a clip from the the Three Stooges' 1938 movie Violent Is the Word for Curly. 


The fact that Moe was supposedly teaching phonics to college students is particularly silly. Most of the people who were entering college in the late 1930s would have mastered phonics in the first few months of first grade. Of course, this particular song wouldn't be useful for teaching English phonics because it would cause confusion about soft and hard consonant sounds and long and short vowel sounds. Nevertheless, this scene illustrates the point that even Stooges used to know that students need to learn phonics. We started having serious epidemics of dyslexia and other "learning disabilities" in the United States when our educators decided to stop using phonics to teach children to read.

The process of turning letter combinations into syllables is one of the most important things for an English-speaking child to learn. English-speaking children who have mastered that skill can read well; those who haven't, can't. It's really that simple.

Back in the 1970s, an advertising executive named David McCall noticed that his son had trouble remembering his multiplication tables but could easily remember the lyrics to popular rock-and-roll songs. The McCaffrey and McCall agency eventually produced an extensive series of short animated educational segments that were shown on Saturday mornings. Their Grammar Rock! segments were particularly valuable. These cartoons helped fill the void created when the English teachers in the United States decided to stop teaching grammar. Here's the cartoon that explains what an interjection is:

Many people who have been trained in our schools of education insist that the formal study of grammar does not improve a student's ability to write. I don't believe them. In my years as an editor, I have worked with many bad writers. Bad writers are generally unaware of how bad their writing is, and they have no way of knowing why their writing is bad or how to improve it. They lack this knowledge because they do not know the rules of English grammar and therefore cannot apply them. Whenever I taught someone these rules and how to apply them, that individual's writing would improve dramatically. I suspect that the person's ability to think logically also improved. That's because logic is the study of the structure of arguments, and arguments are based on sentences.

Progressive educators claim that they want to help students develop higher-order thinking skills. Yet students will find it difficult or impossible to develop such skills unless they know how to read and how to analyze the structure of sentences. In other words, students have to master phonics and grammar before they can go on to learn higher-order skills. Learning the basic skills doesn't have to be boring. Just ask the Three Stooges and the creators of Schoolhouse Rock!


- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

Laurie taught herself to read at age 4 by analyzing the spelling of the rhyming words in Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss. She has worked as an editor in medical and academic publishing for more than 25 years. She is the author of five books: (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
/* The Petition Site */
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Unspeakable Original Intent of the Second Amendment

Eating Meat, Dairy, Eggs, and Fish Can Make Your Breath Stink!

Can Donald Trump Read?

Even Small Amounts of Any Animal-Source Foods Are Bad for You

Is Dyslexia Really a Learning Disability?

You Can Fix Stupid