Dyslexia Is a Myth

Samuel Blumenfeld (1927-2015) is one of the few really great educators that this country has had.  He wrote twelve books and hundreds of articles explaining the country's educational decline. He was an expert on reading and phonics.

If Blumenfeld had a flaw, it was that he generally published articles that were longer than most people wanted to deal with.  So his great wisdom did not reach the influence it deserved.

For one very good example, he wrote a terrifying 3,200-word article telling this country just about everything there is to know about dyslexia.  The sardonic title was "Creating Dyslexia: It's as Easy as Pie."

Every parent, every teacher, and everyone connected with education should know what Blumenfeld has to say.  To make that easy, here are the most important paragraphs in this article:

E. W. Dolch was a professor of education in the early 1920s who composed a list of the most frequently used words used in English. It was thought that if children learned several hundred of these words by sight, that is, by whole-word recognition, before they even knew the alphabet or the letter sounds, they would have a jumping ahead start in learning to read. But what Dolch did not realize is that once the children began automatically to look at English printed words as whole configurations, like Chinese characters, the child would develop a holistic reflex or habit that would then become a block against seeing our alphabetic words in their phonetic structure. And that block would cause the symptoms of what is known as dyslexia. ...

Professor Walter Dearborn of Harvard, wrote in 1940: "The principle which we have used to explain the acquisition of a sight vocabulary is, of course, the one suggested by Pavlov's well known-experiments on the conditioned response. This is as it should be. The basic process involved in conditioning and in learning to read is the same."

But the development of a holistic reflex, as described by Professor Dearborn, creates an obstacle to the development of the phonetic reflex. It is this conflict, or collision, of reflexes that causes dyslexia. Undoubtedly, the professors of reading were well-aware that this conflict would develop, for they were acquainted with Pavlov's experiments in artificially creating behavioral disorganization by creating a conflict of reflexes. ...

And so we know from the experiments conducted by Pavlov and Luria in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and '30s that the psychologists had developed the means to artificially create behavioral disorganization. I submit that the symptoms of dyslexia developed in perfectly normal, physically healthy school children are the result of a collision of reflexes that occurs as the child advanced to the second and third grades. ...

This is how it works. The child is given a sight vocabulary to memorize before he has acquired any phonetic knowledge of our writing system. ...

But when the child reaches the second and third grade where the number of words to be learned taxes the memory beyond its capacity, the child experiences a learning breakdown somewhat akin to a nervous breakdown. When the child is then taught some phonics, some letter sounds, ("new stimuli or instruction") as a means of assisting the sight process, the child experiences a conflict or collision of reflexes and develops dyslexia ("disorganization of behavior"), the inability to see the phonetic structure of our words. ...

By teaching this five-year-old child a sight vocabulary before he could master the letter sounds, he was being put on the road to dyslexia. This is particularly harmful because the child's brain at that early age is still in the process of organizing its patterns of thinking, its cerebral habits, habits that are very difficult to unlearn later in life. That accounts for the great difficulty dyslexics as they grow older and their thinking patterns become more firmly established. It is possible that the brain can be permanently deformed by early development of thinking patterns based on faulty teaching methods.

Today, millions of American children are being taught to memorize sight words before they even know the alphabet, let alone the letter sounds. ...

Thus, you can see how easy it is to cause dyslexia. Simply have your child memorize a sight vocabulary and develop a holistic reflex. That's all there is to it. That professors of education have perfected the process indicates that they know how it works and what its results in. That is why parents are never warned about teaching their children sight vocabularies. It's a vital part of the dumbing down process that underlies curriculum development in our education system and is supported by professional associations, journals, publishers, federal programs and funding, and the establishment as a whole.

All of this explains why toward the end of his life, Blumenfeld summed up our national predicament this way: "K-12 education is a criminal enterprise from top to bottom."

Isn't it disgusting to find that our Education Establishment relied on the "research" of psycho-sadists Pavlov and Luria?  In order to serve their Motherland, these guys would torment humans and animals until they cracked.

Throughout our culture, dyslexia is typically treated as a genetic defect that a child brings to the school.  If the child has this defect more or less from birth, it certainly can't be the school's fault if he doesn't learn to read.  How convenient!

The same malfeasant Education Establishment that promotes sight-word memorization then promotes dyslexia as an all-purpose excuse for widespread illiteracy.  This is really diabolical.  Raise people in a dark cellar, and then complain when their vision is bad.

Dyslexia organizations like to claim that dyslexics have different brain patterns, and that's the big problem.  Blumenfeld and phonics experts (such as Don Potter) claim that sight-word memorization creates those altered brain patterns, and that is the big problem.  As Siegfried Engelmann put it, "when a respected 'educator' indicates that a plan is based on new research into the development of the brain, the typical parent is not in a good position to say, 'Baloney,' but odds are pretty good that it is baloney."  Engelmann coined the phrase "academic child abuse."  So-called dyslexia is a prime example of the results.

Reading and phonics should be thought of as more or less synonymous.  That's the way it was from the time of the Hebrews and Greeks forward.  Starting around 1930, even though they already knew it wouldn't work, our education experts forced Look-say on the country, and we have had an illiteracy crisis ever since.  Cause and effect are clear enough for anybody who can handle the truth.

Bruce Deitrick Price explains theories and methods on his education sites Improve-Education.org.  (For info on his four new novels, see his literary site Lit4u.com.)

If you experience technical problems, please write to helpdesk@americanthinker.com