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The point of the article is not that teaching phonics is necessary but that the three-cueing system is detrimental to children learning to read. Phonics is a better system.

The article makes the explicit point that significant percentages of children can learn to read despite being sabotaged by a bad learning system. (In part because some students figured out how to spell words out phonetically in their own.)

The formal phonics system might be recent, but the phonetic nature of our writing system is ancient.

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