Phonics is the best way to teach reading

I hope that the decision by New York City to change how teachers teach children to read is finally adopted elsewhere (“New York City Hopes Phonics Will Save It From National Reading Crisis,” The Wall Street Journal, May 10). Phonics has proved to be the answer, but critics maintain that balanced literacy is better.

I fail to understand why the use of cues and word memorization is superior.  When confronted with words they have never seen before, children need to be able to sound out the words. That’s how earlier generations of children learned to read.

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