Surely VAS isn’t the only factor causing reading failure?
Of course not BUT: It affects large numbers of children, particularly in the early stages of learning to read. It is only a problem in ‘Whole Language’ or ‘Teach Everything’ classrooms. The problem does not occur in a ‘Phonics First’ classroom.
Young children arrive at school with a still developing VAS, with at least one third having a VAS level that will not support ‘whole word processing’. In order to compensate for this, Whole Language proponents attempted to supplement the approach. The child was asked to “Look at the picture.” This is hardly ‘reading’ and quickly came into disrepute. Children were then asked to “Read to the end of the sentence and see if you can work out what the word is.” I don’t know of a single cognitive researcher who would agree that such young learners can actually do this. Predictably, this request simply degenerates into inaccurate guessing. This quickly becomes a habitual response that is very difficult to remediate at a later date.
Unlike true learning deficits that come under the collective umbrella termed ‘dyslexia’, VAS belongs to the general population – it is a normal variable that won’t stop you learning to read and spell – IF you are given a ‘Phonics First’ opportunity to learn. A Phonic Approach does not require a high VAS.