Supporting Every Child’s Right to Read

Grasping at Straws – Opposition to the Right to Read Report

Probably all of you know that the The Ontario (Canada) Human Rights Commission conducted a Right to Read Inquiry

They published a Report of their findings on February 28.

The launch of the Report can be found at

 The executive Summary and full Report are available at

The Ottawa Citizen published a letter about the Report:

 ‘Right to read’ inquiry recommendations miss the mark, March 5.


After much discussion with the Ottawa Citizen, my letter was published.

The truth About the ‘Right to Read’ report

Re: ‘Right to read’ inquiry recommendations miss the mark, March 5.

A letter-writer mistakenly called the approach taken by the Right to Read Report of the Ontario Human Rights Commission “blinkered.” She ignored the report’s numerous discussions about the various processes involved in reading. The report states, “A comprehensive approach to early literacy recognizes that instruction that focuses on word-reading skills, oral language development, vocabulary and knowledge development, and writing are all important components of literacy.”

She wrote, “Teaching phonics not the only answer.” The report clearly stated that teaching phonological awareness and phonics is only one part of teaching reading. She also wrote, “Reading English is not phonetical; it is visual. If a child has a good visual memory, he or she will be able to read anything they can understand by the end of grade one.” In the English language (and all other alphabetic languages) letters have sounds. In English, one can sound out 85 to 90 per cent of words by knowing the sounds of the letters. English has more than 170,000 words. Should we memorize all these words and not use the powerful tool of sounding them out? It seems unnecessarily cruel to deny children access to good instruction in this valuable skill.

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