Phonics versus Whole Word? No contest. Whole Word is a vicious sophistry that generates illiteracy and cognitive problems. Whole Word, first pushed big time in the 1920's, is still with us today. Increasingly, we know the toll extracted by this social engineering scheme. For example, 50,000,000 functional illiterates. Apparently, the idea was to level people into a more homogeneous group by impeding literacy. Is this evil or just incompetent? Both, I'd say. Educators have no right to be toying with people's minds. But here's the kicker: these so-called progressives actually ended up waging war against the poorest, most defenseless children. The smarter kids from richer families escaped... (Google "The War Against Reading" for more.)