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Mystery, what mys-ter-y?

There is no problem in teaching children to read. The English have always favoured "Look and say", which trains a child to memorise and connect pictures and words. The Scots favour phonetics, by which children are encouraged to break down words into syllables and sound out the syllables and letters until the whole word emerges.

The child who learns by "Look and say" will, as an adult, read faster - I believe the target is 650-850 words a minute - but there always will be slow learners who fail to jump the first fence.

The children learning by phonetics will have fewer failures but will find it more difficult to read and absorb intellectual matter quickly.

Surely the answer is a balance between the two methods? Some children will enjoy "Look and say" and succeed at it, while some will need phonetics.

There is no mystery.

Jean Stewart Davieburn House Drummuir Keith Banffshire

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