Why We Haven't Significantly Improved the Teaching of Reading

Posted by on September 18, 2012 in blog | 0 comments

Part of the objection to changing the teaching of reading is that almost all of us who can read learned to read as children and have long ago forgotten the difficulty we had. Our eyes glide easily over a multitude of traps for those learning to read. We tell ourselves, "I learned to read with the present method of teaching reading. I'm no genius. If I learned, so can anyone else."

We tend to think that if a student does not learn to read, it is the student's fault. We do not want to take on the more difficult task of determining that a better teaching method for reading is needed. The proposal of Literacy Research Associates, Inc. and NuEnglish, Inc., two non-profit educational corporations, makes it possible for all students — except the most seriously mentally handicapped — to learn to read in less than three months. At present, almost all U.S. adults can read a thousand or so simple words they learned by sight in the first three grades in school. But more than 48 percent of U.S. adults read so poorly that they do not like to read and seldom do so — they are functionally illiterate in English, that is, they read and write so poorly that they cannot hold an above-poverty-level-wage job. Furthermore, most of those who did learn to read required at least two years to learn to read. It is quite obvious to any informed observer that we badly need to end English functional illiteracy. By any reasonable person's definition, we have a very real literacy crisis.

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