- When a child fails to learn to read words quickly and automatically (without effort) that child fails to learn to read! When a child’s brain is occupied attempting to decode words, that child’s brain does not have the ability/capacity to comprehend what is read. Word fluency must become automatic in order for comprehension to occur.
- According to the Nation’s Report Card web site (http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2015/#reading/acl?grade=4) only 36% of American students in Grade 4 can read at a proficient or advanced level. 31% of American 4th graders read below a basic level. That leaves 33% reading at only a Basic Level.
- The bottom line is that 64% of children in our schools need a different approach to reading instruction in order to successfully read at a proficient or advanced level.
- These abysmal results spin off into many other problems including juvenile delinquency, diagnoses of learning disabilities and/or diseases such as dyslexia as well as all of the problems associated with children that grown up believing that life is hopeless and that they are helpless. This includes problems with suicide rates.
- The vast majority of today’s teachers and administrators are very left brain dominant (verbal/sequential) learners. They never needed the type of instruction that their right brain dominant (visual/spatial) students so desperately need in order to be successful. Our left brain teachers and administrators learned to read the way that their left brain teachers taught them in a rather effortless manner. Therefore, becoming a teacher or administrator seemed like a natural career path. Their right brain classmates failed to learn to read proficiently with that approach and instead learned to get away from schools as soon as possible.
- When you change the way you teach reading, the results you achieve will change. The solution to this very serious problem does involve change. Very often change is not welcome.
- A child’s word fluency grade level is easily and quickly measured with a choice of many word fluency tests. Therefore the results achieved by changing the approach to reading instruction can be readily measured as long as the same test is used each time a test is given.
- Recent brain research has shown that when a student’s brain has letter(s) and the sound associated with these letter(s) stored in their brains, then and only then will automatic word fluency be possible.
- Historically, when a child naturally processes right to left and/or bottom to top that child is often viewed as learning disabled and/or dyslexic. However, when that child receives the direct instruction necessary to learn how to process left to right and top to bottom that child does learn to decode words in the manner that they are written (left to right and top to bottom).
- Well over 50% of children either visualize naturally or can easily learn to visualize naturally. These visualization skills are utilized in order to store letter(s) and their sounds.
- Reading Connections’ multisensory direct instruction, along with the development and utilization of visualization skills allows struggling readers to become very successful readers and spellers. This major barrier to success in other subjects is then removed.
Not the Solution:
The following “solutions” may work well for the typical left brain learner that learns to read words quickly and automatically. However they are not the solution for the child that struggles with word decoding issues:
- “Read to Your Child”. This popular solution helps to assign blame to the parent(s) that didn’t spend significant time reading to their child before they enter the school system. Therefore without that time spent reading to their children, those children fail to learn to read. A typical 1/2 hour episode of SpongeBob SquarePants has over 100 words presented to the viewer on the screen and read to that viewer. However the more a child is right brain dominant the more they typically love the visual/spatial aspects of that cartoon. It is also true that these cartoon lovers are the least likely to come to school readily recognizing and reading words.
- “Lets Get Books Into the Homes of Poor Children”. This is similar to the above “solution”. It claims that if there aren’t books in poor people’s homes, the children in those homes fail to learn to read. This solution fails to recognize that the reason a right brain dominant child is that way is that their right brain dominant parents made them that way. These parents are usually having financial difficulties due to their own difficulties mastering reading.
- “Spend More Money”. This solution somehow believes that if you just keep doing more of what is not working it will suddenly start to work. It ignores the identification of the real problem and keeps parents, teachers and administrators plowing down the wrong path. This is also one of Albert Einstein’s definitions of insanity.
- Teach children to read by using “words within words”, rhyming, chunking and/or look at the pictures and start guessing what the word is. These “solutions” only lead to very frustrated readers that learn to hate reading.
- The use of “rules”. Probably the most common of these rules is the Vowel-Consonant-Vowel rule that claims that the first vowel says it’s name (the long vowel sound) and the last vowel is silent. Examples of this rule include the words “cave” and “bone”. However the rules are violated with very common word like “have” and “come”. Having so many exceptions to rules only frustrate struggling readers which again teaches them to hate reading.