To the editor: Not mentioned in The Age’s endorsement of intensive phonics (“’No student left behind’: phonics push for disadvantaged schools” (April 25) is the consistent research finding that intensive phonics instruction only helps children do better on tests in which they are asked to pronounce words presented on a list. Intensive phonics instruction makes no significant contribution to performance on tests in which children have to understand what they read. Study after study has confirmed that real reading ability is the result of actual reading, especially of books that readers find very interesting. Good readers eventually acquire nearly all the rules of phonics as a result of reading.
Stephen Krashen Professor Emeritus, Rossier School of Education. University of Southern California,