Still Teaching Reading the Wrong Way

Toddler playing with Alphabet
Children internalize letters by playing with them.

Ever since the 1950s when Rudolf Flesch published Why Johnny Can’t Read and What You Can Do About It, the basics of effective reading instruction have been available to any adult who has the desire to teach a child to read.

Nevertheless, a method of instruction that works with some children, but not with all, has become the default method in most public schools.

The method that works with all children has been relegated to the remedial classroom. Children who can’t learn to read with the “whole language” method are required to fail before they can be introduced to a method that works with them. By then, of course, the very idea of reading makes them sick to their stomachs.

Three of every ten children who begin school in the United States will drop out without completing high school. If they have not learned to read by the time they drop out, they will be forever limited in their prospects for a desirable life.

Among those who stay to complete their senior year of high school, only a third will graduate as proficient readers.

Of the approximately 100,000 public schools in the United States, some have better resources and leadership than others. Some provide better language instruction than others. Some, in an effort to improve technical and vocational training, have curtailed instruction in reading, writing, basic grammar, and literature.

Parents who want their children to achieve a level of literacy that will enable them to thrive in school and in life must involve themselves in their early education. Regardless of their own level of education or the amount of time they have available, parents can do much to protect  their children from reading failure.

Recent New York Times article: Why Are We Still Teaching Reading the Wrong Way?