Every child can and should read. Here’s why.
If learning to read is your child’s biggest problem, I have good news for you. Reading is never going to be an issue again once you learn the science behind it.
The reason so many children struggle with their reading is because they have been taught methods that do not line up with how scientists have discovered humans learn best. And that is through systematic phonics instruction.
Because learning to talk is a natural occurrence when surrounded by spoken language, people (including language experts) assume reading to be the same. However, reading requires children to somehow connect the words they are saying to the words on print – a much more complex and structured process.
Siegfried Engelmann, author of the book “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”, conducted an experiment where he tracked 75,000 children from kindergarten to third grade in the US, comparing nine methods of teaching reading.
Undoubtedly, the method that proved most effective was based on phonics – teaching children how to sound words out, letter by letter, rather than encouraging students to recognise words as single-chunks, also known as the whole-word system.
Yet, despite the results from this study and countless other studies proving phonetic instruction as the most fool-proof method of reading, language experts and institutions still debunk this system for its structured approach – especially in an area of learning many feel should be about discovery and exploration.
And yes, reading is about discovering and exploring – discovering new worlds and new words. However, this works for children who have the privilege and access to hundreds of books where they have the luxury of recognising similar-looking words and using context to build up their reading vocabulary. But what about the rest?
This is where phonics comes in – with its mechanical, structured and progressive approach to linking sound to letters, and then grouping them into blends. This method has consistently worked on children of all backgrounds because it is a science. And then, when the confidence of sounding out words replaces guesswork, that is where discovery and exploration can factor in, and reading becomes an adventure.