The Phonics Cure?
A small contingent of reading instructors, educators, and reading researchers claim that poor or non-existent phonics instruction coupled with a predominantly whole language approach to instruction will create the brain patterns seen in dyslexics. And while it is almost certainly true that whole language instruction will create a different student brain than phonics instruction, in that the synapses constructed for reading will almost certainly be different, perhaps wildly different, such instruction could hardly be considered to have created a dyslexic; a dyslexic, incidentally, that can then be easily “cured” by proper instruction in phonics, by providing the missing ingredient, if you will.
Some do claim most struggling readers were created by providing insufficient phonics instruction, but dyslexia does exist.While whole language instruction has created some inefficient readers, and many really horrible spellers as well, I don’t consider that to be a case of creating dyslexics. Perhaps a style of reading instruction is capable of generating symptoms of dyslexic behavior, and even of creating its own unique pattern of brain waves, but whole language reading instruction by itself is not going to generate the pattern of delayed development across several developmental fronts that is common to the dyslexic child. Furthermore, if the dyslexic child can be identified even before reading instruction begins, how could any style of reading instruction have created the dyslexia?
So, in short, phonics instruction is not a cure for dyslexia, simply because whole language instruction cannot be considered a cause of dyslexia, unless dyslexia is defined narrowly as simply poor reading, rather than broadly as a pattern of delayed development across several fronts.