Poems of the Week

Reinventing Phonics

by Orel Protopopescu

“[Led] by parents of children with dyslexia, a learning disability that makes reading and spelling difficult, some states are trying to change how reading is taught.”

Who knew that what my mother taught in nineteen fifty-two,
at P.S. 48 in Queens, would rise again, brand new?

In Eisenhower’s day, it seems, a teacher knew what worked,
not swayed by sexy theories, no matter how they twerked.

But then troops of constructivists invaded academe.
Fresh hordes of college graduates made little children scream.

Whole language was a mouthful baby teeth could barely chew,
along with other chunks of junk, now ripe for a redo.

The “writing process” method is a hit in seminars.
But kids like writing fantasy, not premature memoirs.

And while we are undoing bad ideas that drown the good,
let’s bring back fifties tax rates and give thanks to Robin Hood!

What’s next? Clean air and water? Can we manage toxic waste,
restore the thing called justice and, dare we dream, good taste?