Here is the continuation of the discussion with Stephen Krashen, Professor Emiritus of the University of Southern California.
Stephen Krashen “About teaching basic phonics correctly I assume you mean accurately. I suspect that approximately right rules that work most of the time are OK. With reading, children acquire the more subtle rules. So many children have learned to read this way. Is there any research showing the proper way and demonstrating that it is better? Here is, of course, another Krashen paper you might be interested in: Defending Whole Language: The Limits of Phonics Instruction and the Efficacy of Whole Language Instruction
Luqman Michel: “Thank you Stephen Krashen. When I said correctly I meant 'in a way that is true, factual or appropriate; yes -accurately.'
I am afraid that I cannot agree with your "I suspect that approximately right rules that work most of the time are OK." We must not ignore the kids prone to disengaging from learning to read when they are confused. This is going to be lengthy to explain here. May I please write it in my blog post and give you the link. Please read it with an open mind and then we will be able to reduce illiteracy. I think I will be able to convince you that teaching phonics the way it is done throughout the world is the culprit of illiteracy. You said, "With reading, children acquire the more subtle rules." There should be no argument on this. I concur.
Yes, a majority of children during the 'Whole language' period did learn to read well. Many of them are teachers today. A majority of kids also learn to read today under the phonics method. It is the minority that is my concern. They are mostly smart kids who leave school as illiterates. They read well in Malay but are unable to read in English.
Luqman Michel: You said, "...but the song gives ONE pronunciation for each letter. And yes, we can easily find words in which this pronunciation is correct, but we can also find words that give a different pronunciation for some of the letters." (Stephen Krashen).
The vowels carry many different sounds. AND yes, this is yet another problem for kids predisposed to shutting down. Teachers do not tell kids that many of the alphabets in the English language carry more than one sound. Checking from the dictionary the alphabet 'A' has a few different sounds as in the word apple. arm, about, ace, also.
All vowels carry a minimum of three sounds. Most of the consonants also make more than one sound. 'C' as in cat and city. 'G' as in Giraffe, Giant and Grow. But are consonants in the clip above sounded out correctly? The obvious answer is 'NO' and this is the main cause of children not being able to read in English but are able to read in Malay and Mandarin written in Roman/Latin alphabets.
This is an interesting discussion and I am sure we will all be convinced that phonics (sounds of alphabets) taught properly and then listening to lots of stories will improve reading. Kids will be able to read at grade level within a few months of teaching. We will not have to wait for 4 or 6 years as stated by Stephen Krashen.