Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hooked On Phonics

A big thank you to Erica's friend Erin who is posting for Erica this week. You may remember Erin from her guest post she did back in May. Enjoy!

My husband and I went to a comedy show the other night. While I was sitting there I spotted a sign, “Huked on fonics wurked fer mee.” It gave me the chuckle it always does. I remember vividly watching the commercials with all of the children proclaiming, “Hooked on Phonics worked for me!” and wondering why they had problems reading.

I was obviously reading 2 grades higher than my level and too young to realize that illiteracy was a problem with some children. Now, as an “adult” I realize that it is a problem! My 14 year old sister is a perfect example. And she will probably kill me for saying that. She texts me and half of the time I have no idea what she is saying. My husband and I joke around texting each other saying, “btw I lurve u 2 d max!” I must be old because composing a sentence like that takes about 4 times longer to substitute numbers for letters, remember acronyms and take out letters from words.

I did some research (meaning I just looked it up on Wikipedia) and apparently Hooked On Phonics was grossing over a hundred million a year! So what happened, right? 

Dateline NBC did an episode on the product which included an investigation and accusation from the Federal Trade Commission claiming the program held “deceptive advertising”. Unfortunately for Hooked On Phonics this plummeted their sales to bankruptcy protection, even though the FDC took back it’s accusation. But did those perky kids who could now read and write give up? No way! They just moved to Smarterville. 

That’s right. Smarterville, Inc. And in case you don’t know about this wonderful place called Smarterville, it’s because it’s privatized now and probably only the kids who could spell and write from their programs are there, being sheltered from today’s growing problem of texting illiteracy.

I wonder if they realize that the name Smarterville sounds, well, not smart. I’m pretty sure the correct way of naming should be Smartville, but maybe I’m wrong. I never used the Hooked on Phonics program, so how should I know?

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