There are several programs and methods used in treating dyslexia. One of these is holistic reading. However, this method has undergone through a lot of research and testing, which led to the discovery of some issues against it.
A lot of experts believe that one main issue in field of dyslexia, is holistic reading. Because of holistic reading, a lot of people have come to be sight readers that have holistic reflex instead of phonetic readers that have a phonetic reflex.
A holistic reader is someone who perceives each word as if it’s a little picture. It is somewhat similar to the configuration of Chinese ideograph, where the reader would try to think what the word the symbol or character represents.
On the other hand, a phonetic reader is someone who associates letters to sounds. He or she would have to sound out each syllabic unit, which blends into one articulated word.
The Issue At Hand
The main concern here is that, failure to teach someone to read phonetically, but requiring him or her to memorize thousands of sight words isn’t really that helpful, since it can only produce educational dyslexia.
Sight words, by definition, are words that are learned without any reference to the sounds that the letters in the word stands for. Nowadays, a lot of publishers are selling books coupled with audio tapes so that, one can learn how to read using the sight method, even without the help of other people.
If this continues, the individual would only worsen his or her condition. A reading handicap is actually developed even more, without knowing it.
Experts have reached the conclusion that that when an inaccurate, subjective and ideographic teaching technique is imposed on a writing system that uses phonetic-alphabet and demands precise decoding, symbolic confusion is only created. Plus, frustration, cognitive conflict, and learning breakdown, also comes into play.
Knowing If You Are A Holistic Reader: The MWIA TEST
To know if you have become a holistic reader, you can try taking the MWIA test. This is a simple test that is used to measure the degree to which you have become a “subjective” reader.
This test was developed in North Carolina by Edward Miller, who is a former teacher and school administrator, back in the early 1990s. A lot of reading experts and school psychologists say that this method can help identify individuals that are schooled using the Holistic Reading method.
The MWIA test basically consists of two lists of words. The first list has words that are taken from the 220 most popular “sight words”; while the second list is taken from words in “Why Johnny Can’t Read” by Rudolph Flesch, which are phonetically-regular words used in the first-grade level.
The main difference is that the words found in the first list, although may include about two dozen or more multi-syllable or irregular words, will be very familiar to Holistic readers. However, surprisingly, those words found in the second list may not. A holistic reader does not only slow down while reading the second list, but also commits some mistakes.
On the other hand, a phonetic reader is able to read both of the lists equally good. In fact, the second list may be read faster than the first since the words are easier.