I'm a life-long teacher of mathematics, computer science, and reading. After teaching my own 3 children to read by their third birthdays, I became interested in reading instruction and tutoring in the 1990s. What I discovered in many schools baffled me: a method called Whole Language. Whole Language has since been discredited and abandoned. In its place, a method called Balanced Literacy is now used in most schools.
The "balance" in Balanced Literacy is between the discredited Whole Language approach of the 90s and some ineffective phonics learned through "discovery." Under Balanced Literacy, a child begins to "read" based upon memorized sight words, repetitive (predictable) "little books," and on a guessing strategy ineptly called "three cueing." Balanced Literacy is responsible for the fact that two out of three children never become proficient readers. (Google "Nation's Report Card").
I'm retired now, and I live in Boston with my wife, Celeste. Our children have all gone off to college and beyond. I'm giving my books away in an attempt to hasten change in the way children are taught to read and spell.
If you find my books useful, you can help me by spreading the word and by directing your friends and colleagues to ParkerPhonics.com.
The word "phonics" has multiple meanings. It can mean "analytic" phonics, "analogy" phonics, or "onset-and-rime" phonics. But none of these are methods for teaching reading. They all rely upon memorization of sight words, on guessing strategies, and on discovery learning.
Synthetic phonics, by contrast, is the only type of phonics that functions as a stand-alone method for teaching both reading and spelling. Synthetic phonics uses neither sight words nor guessing strategies. From the very start of reading instruction, children are taught the basic sounds of English and the letters that symbolize those sounds.
As soon as 5 - 8 such letter/sound correspondences are mastered, the child can begin authentic reading, that is, taking an unknown word and blending all the sounds of its individual letters, left to right, into a full pronunciation. This process is called "sounding out" a word. It is also called decoding.
Properly decoding a word a few times automatically creates a sight word in a process called orthographic mapping. It's the only way to teach reading in a manner that respects the reasoning ability of the child. Please see my blog for more information.