What Is Funny Phonics?

"Funny phonics" is the teaching of some of the sounds and their written representations so as to give the appearance of teaching the logic of the code. Rather than providing a logical picture, "funny phonics" generates more exceptions than rule-followers and leaves people feeling even more confused.

Though "funny phonics" programs have some benefit to helping students learn to read and are more helpful than asking students to memorize the vast language of English as individual sight words, "funny phonics" programs have unwittingly fueled the reading debates.

A majority of English speakers believe that English is illogical, crazy, and riddled with exceptions. These people have commonly learned a smattering of phonics and discovered the hundreds of thousands of exceptions to the rules they have been taught. They have rightly become cynical about phonics and its benefits.

Sadly, the word "phonics" is synonymous with "funny phonics" in most people's minds. This deep cynicism about phonics is often compounded by people's own individual struggles with learning to spell and/or read, or their struggling to help someone else learn to read. When faced with a series of rules that do not hold up and that generate countless exceptions, people are left feeling helpless, betrayed, and frustrated. "Funny phonics" has led to a  wide-spread misunderstanding that phonics is a learning style. Some people benefit from being taught phonics, while others do not.

In reality there are 75 phonograms and 31 spelling rules; 106 tools that describe 98% of English words. These tools are consistent and do not generate countless exceptions. Rather, they can be relied upon to logically describe our language.

It is time to begin a grassroots movement and tell people the good news: "funny phonics" is not the complete picture. There is a Logic to English.