I wrote this Ebook for parents who are puzzled about why their child can’t learn to read, yet other children can.
One of the first things you need to know is that struggling to learn to read is not an indication of a lack of intelligence, but an indication that the wrong method is probably being used to teach your child to read.
You’ll find answers and explanations for reading problems as you go into more depth on the subject here, but the information provided is in a clear and easy to understand form.
It will lead you to understand why you need a program like the Easy Reading Formula Course, how it works and why it’s so successful. You’ll become aware that it’s unique and that there’s nothing like it available to parents today. I wish you the very best as you work to help your struggling child.
‘Why can’t my child learn to read’ is a cry increasingly heard these days. With a reading failure rate of about 30% in the US (and throughout the Western world) it’s a cry which doesn’t seem to be reducing.
So, what exactly is going wrong?
Is it the teaching, the home environment, the child?
Or is it something else?
How about the method used to teach children to read? What exactly is this method and could it be the problem?
The method used to teach children to read in the US is the Phonics system. This same system was abandoned many years ago because statistics showed that around 30% of children leaving school were unable to read at much above a Grade 4 level.
Replacing it was another method called Whole Word (also known as Look and Say).
But that was found to have a similar failure rate, so that was abandoned in favor of Phonics again.
This is the method now used throughout the Western world. It has the almost inevitable result that, at the end of their schooling, around 30% of children can’t read with any degree of proficiency.
This shocking situation is ongoing, with no real improvement in sight.
No wonder Parents are confused.
The problem is that whether Phonics or Whole Word is used alone, no one single method will teach every child to read.
This accounts for the massive number of kids leaving school year after year, unable to even read the label on a washing powder box.
A survey by Wade and Moore, which had 5000 responses, asked teachers the question:
“Who is to blame for student’s failure to learn?’
65% of teachers blamed the child
32% blamed the home situation
Only 3% of teachers blamed teachers or the school system for learning problems”
In other word ‘blame the kids and the parents not us’.
What this means is that out of a class of 30 kids, approximately 10 will be labelled as dyslexic, ADHD, learning impaired, disruptive, uncooperative, rebellious, slow learners and all the other labels which the Education system likes to pin on children who are unable to read.
This also means that 30% of students will be carried forward from class to class, feeling failures, still unable to read until they finally leave school.
Statistics prove that left to the present system of teaching reading, they will NEVER catch up.
And these kids will be entering the workplace looking for jobs which will be increasingly replaced by automation.
Look at it this way. If a car manufacturer turned out 30 ‘lemons’ in every 100 cars manufactured, that company would go into liquidation. However, the Education system simply accepts a 30% reading failure rate and continues to push children who are unable to read out into an increasingly hostile, jobless world.
With a 30% reading failure rate you would think there was something wrong with using a method which had this as the best it could do.
So what’s the big deal about Phonics? How did Whole Word, the alternative to Phonics, get pushed into the background until it has now almost disappeared? How did it become a dirty word?
The answer is that Phonics has become big business. Whole industries have been built around it –a whole publishing industry devoted to publishing Phonics books and Phonics School Readers, instructions for Phonics courses, Phonics academics have built their careers on pushing Phonics, and not forgetting the tens of thousands of teachers all trained to teach kids to read using Phonics.
The final clincher is that Phonics is a whole lot cheaper to operate than Whole Word, which required specialist teachers to recover kids who couldn’t get off the starting block quickly enough. Governments love saving money, but what they get from that is a 30% failure rate.
You can feel really sorry for little kids who start their education looking forward to what they are going to learn. Only to find, as they progress through years of learning that they are failures compared with the other kids. Gradually they come to realize that their dreams of becoming a jet pilot or a doctor fade away.
Kids are educated for about ten years. This means that in the US about five million kids will leave school each year, and 30% of those will leave either unable to read or reading at about Grade 4 level. In other words, close to two million kids will leave school unable to read even simple text.
Nearly two million!!
It gets worse!!
According to surveys conducted by the American Management Association (AMA), 41% of employers test applicants for basic literacy and math skills and the number is increasing.
That’s a very significant figure.
That’s close to around one in two employers testing for literacy.
So here’s something to consider.
Nearly two million kids will leave school this year (and every year) unable to read even simple text, or read with difficulty. They will then apply for the jobs where the Employers use a literacy test, which will screen out most of the kids applying.
To be fair, if you were an Employer, would you employ a kid who couldn’t read? In a survey not so long ago, 80% of Employers said that they wouldn’t because of workplace safety and other issues.
Well, that’s the system that Parents are stuck with. If you have a kid who is aged 9 and older who is still struggling with reading, you can’t expect the schools to help you. By that age your kid will be labelled a slow learner or something similar, which is an excuse to blame something other than either the School, the teachers or the method used for the reading failure rate.
Many Parents with kids who are falling further and further behind will finally realize that all the comments in successive Parent Teacher consults about ‘catching up’ are just not accurate. And if you’re one of them you might just think there’s nothing you can do.
But there is!
If your child is around Grade 4 or older, and is still struggling to learn to read, the questions to ask yourself are:
Has my child learned to read using just the Phonics method?
Will more Phonics help or will a combination of methods be better?
Is there any point in trying to force more Phonics on him/her if Phonics alone hasn’t worked so far?
What can I do about the situation?
If this is the situation you’re faced with, where to turn is your big problem.
Your first question needs to be “What is the reason my child can’t learn to read by the Phonics method?”
This will help to explain it.
Children who think logically and are good at Math and Music, who like to take things apart and do puzzles are usually good at learning to read using Phonics, because Phonics is a logic-based system.
On the other hand, some children find learning to read using Phonics difficult or almost impossible. They see a word simply as an object and not something to be taken apart letter by letter. These children simply can’t take apart a word and re-construct it so that it has meaning for them.
If the child can’t join the letters up to make a word, no picture goes into their Memory Bank.
They’re stuck and can’t move forward.
Phonics does play an important part in learning to read, but it isn’t, and can’t be, the complete answer because there are hundreds – yes hundreds of words, which can’t be deciphered using phonics.
Some Parents will know that beginning readers need to learn 100 basic ‘sight words’. These are words that your child needs to know whenever they’re seen, so they’re called ‘sight words’.
They form the essential basis of all further reading. However, the real problem for the beginning reader is that around thirty percent of these essential ‘sight words’ can’t be sounded out using Phonics.
The following words are taken from a 100 basic sight word list found on the internet which can’t easily be deciphered phonetically – said, who, your, was, where, all, when, one, could, would, their, what, out, put, other, because, are, come, here, you, two, have, some, they, their, saw, away, our, of, other.
All are commonly used words.
Using Phonics alone to teach early reading, when 30% of those sight words are not decipherable using Phonics, and a further 20% can only be deciphered with difficulty, is frankly incredible. But parents aren’t told that, only that Phonics is the modern day answer to all reading problems.
The 30% failure rate of Phonics alone today shows that it’s not.
Is there an answer to your problem?
Did you know that Whole Word is an alternative method to a Phonics-only method when teaching reading, and if used in conjunction with an appropriate reading program, is very successful? Well, if you listen to the ‘experts’ the Whole Word method of teaching kids to read is a failure – or so they claim.
The figures for the Whole Word method are there for anyone to see. Not so long ago, thousands of teachers were trained in the Whole Word method of teaching reading, and tens of thousands of children were taught to read successfully by that method.
The reality is that it’s simply another method of teaching children to read.
It wasn’t perfect, no one single method is, and there was a failure rate of about 25%. But that meant that 75% of children taught to read by the Whole Word method were reading successfully when they left school.
So why was the Whole Word method of teaching kids to read dropped, and the Phonics method sold as the answer to reading failure? It took some time for me to figure this out, but in the end it became clear.
The answer came to me when I looked at the attendance list of a meeting of Education academics not so long ago.
Every single one of the attendees had either a doctorate or a professorship or some similar qualification. These were the people who were the movers and shakers in the education world and these were the ones with the influence to move or change things.
When looking at this list of attendees where every single one had a university qualification, it became obvious that they all had to have a logical brain, to have gained their degrees.
They wouldn’t have gained their degrees without a logic-based brain which enabled them to work through much of the subject matter of their degrees.
It accounts for the blind belief that Phonics adherents have, that the only way to teach children to read is by Phonics. They find it almost impossible to put themselves into the shoes of a child who doesn’t think the way they do.
If you accept conventional wisdom, there are two types of people. Those with a logical brain who enjoy statistics, puzzles and are usually good at music and Math. These people find the Phonics method of learning to read easy.
On the other hand, those people whose brain is more creative and need to see the whole picture, not just a sum of its parts, find learning to read using Phonics difficult or almost impossible.
The theory is that some children’s brains learn better when taught in a different way. Some years ago this was called Left and Right Brain learning but this theory has been discredited by Educationalists.
However, you’ll still find information on the internet if you search for ‘Right and Left – Brain learners learning to read.’ If you recognize your child’s learning patterns , then you’re on the way to understanding why your child has so much difficulty in learning to read. In my view, whether it’s been discredited or not, if it makes sense to you, as it does to me, then go for it!
Research from Stanford University USA, has shown that the method used in schools, by tutors and in courses on the internet today, activates the left hemisphere of the brain. This is where visual and language regions are located. The research showed that an alternative reading instruction method, know as Whole Word, or Whole-language, activates the right side of the brain.
Think about this. If you read Stories to your child at an early age, the method you used was Whole Word. You simply read a story to your child and your child understood what you were reading.
You didn’t sound out every word as you would if you used Phonics to read to your child, you simply read to your child and used the Whole Word method to do it, and it worked well.
Fast-forward to the school years. It’s here that the idea of Phonics only was introduced to your child.
For some children, the Phonics-only method worked well, but for others Phonics-only as a method to learn to read was a failure. There has never been any suggestion that using both Whole Word and Phonics together would solve this problem.
But they would!
If your child was one that Phonics-only didn’t work for them that was just too bad. The education system had decreed that that was the method of teaching reading and every child had to learn by that method.
And so your child became part of the group of children who have struggled to learn to read.
As an adult, as you read this, it should be obvious that you’re using the Whole Word method of doing so. Whole Word is used everywhere to communicate and it’s only during the early school years that a Phonics-only method is used to teach children to read.
A light bulb moment perhaps!
In fact, the thing which makes me want to fall off my chair laughing is that the Phonics-only adherents, when claiming that Whole Word doesn’t work, use the Whole Word method in articles etc to tell us that Whole Word doesn’t work!
Somehow, the irony or stupidity of their claim doesn’t seem to register with them.
So what’s the secret?
There is no secret! Every child, regardless of whether being taught to read by the Phonics or Whole method, creates a Memory Bank of words as they learn them. When they subsequently read something they draw on this Memory Bank and reading makes sense.
Every Parent and child right from early childhood communicates using the Whole Word method.
For example, when you ask your child to get a knife and fork from the drawer and put them on the table s/he goes and does it.
Your child knows what a knife is and what a fork is. S/he knows what a drawer is and what a table is. In other words, a Memory Bank of words has been created which allows your child to carry out these tasks.
When your child goes outside to play with friends they all use the Whole Word method to communicate and play the latest game, in spite of not using Phonics to do so!
So what’s the difference between your child recognizing an everyday object such as a ball, or a picture of a ball, and the written word for ‘ball’? There’s no difference because your child is using visual recognition to identify what the object is.
Whether it’s a picture of a ‘ball’ or the written word for ‘ball’, both will give your child a mental picture of what the object is.
This is why the Phonics-only method doesn’t work for all kids. It’s because the word is broken down into letters and blends, and the child has to try and put all the parts together to make a word.
This doesn’t give the child a mental picture of what the word represents.
So the difference between the two methods is that:
Whole Word will give the child a mental picture of what the word represents, but Phonics-only gives them letters which are meaningless until they are joined up. And it’s at this point that they stop because they’re unable to put the letters together to make the word which represents something.
Using the Whole Word method the mental pictures that words represent are put in the child’s Memory Bank.
You don’t teach your child how to create a Memory Bank because it’s done automatically. Then your child fills the Memory Bank with words that have been learned by the Whole Word method.
That’s the Key!
Your child already has hundreds of words in his/her Memory Bank to start off learning to read and write by the Whole Word method.
Get a picture of a bird and write the word ‘bird’ on a card. Then point to both and tell your child that both mean ‘bird’. Do this two or three times over a day or two then remove the picture of the bird and ask your child what the written word says. Your child will recognize the written word which says ‘bird’.
Phonics is a very difficult concept for many children to learn to use. They have to start to learn this strange process where each word has to be broken down into strange sounds to make the word.
The key to understanding why some kids simply can’t learn to read by the Phonics-only process is found here –
Children who think logically and are good at Math and Music, who like to take things apart and do puzzles, are usually good at learning to read using Phonics, because Phonics is a logic-based system.
On the other hand, the reason children who find learning to read difficult using the Phonics-only method, is because they see a word simply as an object and not something to be taken apart letter by letter. These children simply can’t take a word apart and re-construct it so that it has meaning for them. They’re stuck and can’t move forward.
That’s it! That’s the key!
It’s why Phonics-only doesn’t work for all children but a combination of alternative methods probably will.
For the kids who have hit the 8 – 12 age group and are still struggling to read using the current Phonics-only method used in Schools and almost all Reading Programs, the combination of alternative methods is needed.
The Easy Reading Formula Course is a combination of methods including Whole Word and Phonics. This combination will get your child on the road to reading success.
Once you realize that Phonics-only is one way of learning to read, but there are others that your child can use to create a Memory Bank, then, regardless of which method is used, the path to reading success becomes much clearer.
Another problem children who struggle with learning to read have is the Stories that they are given to them to read. It’s often overlooked just how important it is for struggling readers to learn to read with carefully written stories. They need just the right balance of known words and one or two new words introduced into the Stories.
It doesn’t matter whether a child is 6 or 12, the reading material needs to be interesting for the age group, yet easy enough to read successfully. This means that only known words plus one or, at most, two unknown words are used throughout the whole text.
But to make the Children’s Stories more interesting, authors throw in what are called ‘interest’ words.
These are not words that the child needs to know but are just there to make the story more interesting. However, if our struggling reader doesn’t know anything about the subject, and there are several of these ‘interest’ words in the text, they simply become another roadblock on the way to reading the text successfully.
There are very few Children’s Stories which are written specifically for struggling readers that cater for their needs. They tend to be written by adults who don’t have a sufficient depth of knowledge to know what a struggling reader needs to make progress. Yet that’s the point of the Stories in the Easy Reading Course – to make progress, not to entertain!
So, be aware – weird characters, flashy pictures, dragons and monsters don’t teach children to read. Like the fisherman buying his lures they catch the parent not the child.
If you’re looking for Stories to teach your child to read with, then you need to know what to look for.
Unfortunately, it’s going to be very difficult to find what you need.
Not only do you need Stories that fit the above criteria, you also need them to be a slow and steady progression of difficulty, so that you start where your child is now and work through the Stories until your child is a competent reader.
If there are only twenty or so Stories in the set, then you’ll know they aren’t what you’re looking for. You’ll need at least 70, depending on where your child’s reading level is now.
The Easy Reading Formula Course has 90 specially written Stories to overcome the inadequacy of many Stories which parents buy, in the hope that they will help their child learn to read. They seldom do. The Course also supplies videos for parents to learn how to use the Stories most effectively and instructions with every Story.
There are hundreds of individual Stories, and countless Courses available on the internet but there’s nothing to match the continuity or depth of early reading knowledge that the Easy Reading Formula Course displays!
A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE
There are two problems facing your child when s/he leaves school to look for employment. The first is that automation is increasingly eliminating jobs which children with reading problems or lower academic attainment standards used to go to.
The second is that employers these days are increasingly using literacy and numeracy tests to screen out unsuitable applicants even for the lower skilled roles.
For today’s children, the future is looking increasingly bleak for the type of jobs which were once found for non-academic children.
Increasingly, the type of manual jobs, which were once the staple for those children are disappearing through automation and increased robotics. Jobs on the railways, docks, land, factories, retail etc to name just a few.
So, too, are the jobs which the middle layer of society once called its own – bank tellers, shorthand typists, accounts clerks, all are under threat.
More and more industries are turning to automation every day. With no strikes, holiday pay, sick leave, 8-hour shifts, these machines work 24/7. Their cost is quickly recovered and the profits are increased.
Yes, there will be jobs, for those able to read and who are educated, but competition will be much greater than it is today.
The following statistics make very grim reading.
The US Justice Department states:
“The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure.” Over 70% of inmates in America’s prisons can’t read above a fourth grade level.
National Assessment of Adult Literacy:
Two thirds of students who can’t read proficiently by the end of the 4th Grade will end up in jail or on welfare.