WTF? Wouldn't you just tell the child to slow down, look at the letters that make up the word, and speak the word out loud? This makes zero sense whatsoever
I remember getting my bs and ds mixed up, that isnt going to be helped by spelling out the word.
Then theres the fact that English isn't a 100% phonic language. Spelling out 'knife' isn't going to get you to the correct pronunciation.
I could see this being applied to a slightly older child that has already learnt the sounds and is starting to recognise them as whole words. It seems to me that it's formalising what readers already do. You barely read each word, just scanning, inserting the word that fits in context. If there was a one page essay on houses, I doubt more than half (?) of people would notice the 'horse' in the middle of it.
Edit: commenter below links to Tom Lehrer's New Math, and yeah the crap they made me do in math class ("write a paragraph reflecting on what you learned about multiplication") is also an instance of this 60s reaction against rigorously and uncritically learning foundational material so you can do meaningful critical thought once you've mastered the basics.
Yeah. This was the cognitive revolution after a long period of (excessive, imho) behaviorism.
The pendulum swang too far in the other direction in some cases.
Shockingly, this has come back into style. My brother's high school math classes have been of this type for the past couple of years.
Note that Japanese has kana, and Chinese has pinyin and bopomofo/zhuyin.
Other than that... ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics?
Please let me know if you are aware of more.
Egyptian hieroglyphics did have a set of phonetic glyphs as well as the more complex logographic ones
As you said Sumerian could be an example of totally "three step cue" system.
This is harder than it appears. "House": [h] [ɒ] [ʊ] [s] [iː] (or whatever pronunciation they teach in phonics) ... [hɒʊsiː] isn't an English word. Or maybe it is, but you don't not it yet, because you're just beginning to learn to read and there are many words you don't know. But probably it's some word that sounds similar. "Horsie" [hɔɹsi]? Pretty close, that's probably it.
Of course there are additional rules that can help disambiguate (e.g. "e" at end is frequently silent), but a beginner isn't going to know them all. So telling them to think about whether the word they came up with fits with the context and using pictures to help with error correction isn't terribly wrong. Having the teacher intervene when the kid misreads something may be better, but it requires the teacher to be present in the first place.
Where the three-cue method fails seems to be in the order of presentation. By showing them the picture first, the kids learn to guess the text without reading at all. If the book is full of sentences like "Look at the X." next to a picture of X, you don't need to be able to read to figure out what the text next to the caterpillar is going to say. According to my flawed understanding of cognition, this is going to condition the kids to think that the picture is a more reliable predictor of what they have to read out loud than the letters on the page, so they're going to focus their attention on that.
If on the other hand the picture were on the next page, you could still use it to confirm you read correctly, while guaranteeing that the predictor-predicted relationship doesn't draw attention to the wrong place.
I wasn't suggesting that "house" vs "horse" is a particularly difficult distinction, but rather that just looking at the letters is not enough. Kids really do need those additional rules, and until they've learned them, some kind of error correction is necessary.