Reading Magic by Mem Fox

I recently was given a book - Reading Magic by mem Fox. It was an initiative by Rotary with the Maternal Child nurse service. It has been on my reading list for a while but I have not had a chance to read it before.
Well I had to spend a long time in a hospital waiting room and I managed to read the book Reading Magic cover to cover. I knew the basic concept of reading aloud to my kids as often as possible. I am thankful for the tips on reading.
But what really blew me away was the chapter on phonics. I have changed my mind on the whole debate. She is so right there. But how do you convince people?!
The second thing that resonated with me was when she talked about school readers. I thought Dr Seuss killed off Dick and Jane. I almost fell off my chair when my son asked me to read a school reader that he had been given by his teacher. My son gets upset when I cannot contain my scorn for these readers. Apparently some writers have been inspired by Dick and Jane rather than Dr Seuss.
I am reading to my kids Green Eggs and Ham, Jungle Drums, Time for Bed and then my son asks me to read Dick and Jane. I read it to them but then get admonished afterwards- ‘Daddy, my teacher says ‘Don’t throw books!’. ‘Sorry sorry’ I have to say.
I was just reading up on phonics tests in the UK. I have a great name for a Kid’s book – ‘ZOG, SNEMP and VOT’s adventures.’
Those phonics tests are ludicrous.
I taught English in Japan for 3 years. I also learned Japanese while I was there. The Japanese language is very interesting. As soon as you know the alphabet of 48 characters you can pronounce every single word in Japanese by reading it. But as I tried to explain to some my high level English students – the same does not apply in English. If I am given an unfamiliar word or especially name I cannot be certain of the pronunciation of that word. I presume that ‘word’ snemp is on the list because I am meant to know that it should be pronounced like stamp and lamp not comb or lamb. But if someone had a name of Bobby Snemp and said the ‘p’ was silent you would accept that.
I now work in a job where I am looking up new company and business names. Many of them are made up. Many of them have non-English backgrounds. Some of them are both- made up company names from non-English backgrounds. All registered businesses. Needless to say many of them I mispronounce- as the owners tell me. Or I have no idea how they should be pronounced. You can try to guess the pronunciation but you will not know until you ask the business owners.
I forget now what was the use of phonics again.
I want to see every school in the country get rid of those school readers. Swap them all for Dr Seuss, Mem Fox, Pamela Allen and Brian Floca.

Thing is, you can learn all the sounds and learn to read. That’s how I learned. It’s just that you have to cover the irregularities, which themselves also have patterns.

I learned by using phonics, and I do not have the problem you decry. I do find that most schools do not teach the patterns in the irregulars, though.