Regarding the opinion-page article "The Connection Between Failed Lives and Reading Failure," July 8: We live in a respected and well-funded school district which embraces the "whole language" approach to teaching. But our first grader slid from being a competent beginning reader to being a frustrated non-reader.In our research to discover why this was happening, we found a commonsense answer. Quite a body of research is available on this, once you start to investigate. It has been shown that the illiteracy rate has risen hand-in-hand with the spread of whole language. But despite the widely acknowledged statistics of massive illiteracy, educators staunchly continue to defend their approach to teaching reading and writing. When we gave our child phonetic teaching, she became, again, a competent reader. Danis and Wayne Mutchler, Peterborough, N.H. Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.