Why Are We Still Teaching Reading the Wrong Way?

Reading is the most important skill young elementary students can learn yet, according to the Nation’s Report Card, six out of 10 fourth graders in the U.S. are not reading at grade level.

Research shows that students who don’t learn to read by the end of third grade likely won’t ever catch up, and they’re apt to fall behind in other academic areas. Struggling readers are less likely to graduate high school, enter college and earn more money over their lifetime.

With so much at stake, what’s going wrong?

Why Millions of Kids Can’t Read

Our brains are wired to talk, but not to read. Kids learn to talk simply by being surrounded by spoken language because talking is natural. Written language is man-made. We have to teach our brains to read.

The problem isn’t what students are being taught. It’s how they’re being taught. Most curriculum publishers take a whole language approach that actually creates a gap between reading readiness and actual reading. Advanced concepts are thrown at emerging young readers before they have a base knowledge of the mechanics of reading, such as the most common letter sounds and blending.

Whole language learning relies on the belief that reading comes naturally – a frustrating approach that curriculum publishers have been taking for decades. A balanced approach to reading readiness, on the other hand, combines phonemic awareness and phonics with quality reading materials as the basic building blocks of learning to read. Phonemic awareness is the ability to break down words into individual sounds. Phonics is skills-based and teaches children how letters represent these sounds.

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The Starting Point for Reading is Sound

To become readers, young children must understand how the letter sounds they hear translate to words on a page. Once they can identify letter sounds they begin to understand how different combinations of letters make words. Preschool and kindergarten children need to develop language and comprehension skills through engaging activities that teach sequencing, rhyming, classification, same/different, and opposites – and it all begins with letter sounds.

According to research from the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD), “the order of the introduction of letter-sound relationships should be planned to allow reading material composed of meaningful words and stories as soon as possible.” This means that rather than introducing sounds alphabetically, as is common in most publisher curriculums, Learning Dynamics Reading begins with the most common letters (m, a, p, s, t) that provide children with the opportunity to make the most words.

Materials focus on just one phoneme per lesson that is introduced through verbal and audible repetition, songs, games, characters, and coloring worksheets. With each new letter and reading rule, children practice only what has been learned so they gain confidence quickly and show measurable results with each lesson.

A Reading System That Works

If you want a child to read on their own, they need confidence in the skills they are learning. The Learning Dynamics Reading System helps children aged 3 to 7 build a solid reading foundation by developing the language and comprehension skills needed to gain confidence and avoid frustration.

Students are struggling yet schools continue to spend millions of dollars on the same programs that just don’t work. Why don’t they work? Because they are based on the theories of adults who have never worked in a classroom, and they teach to school district-approved, standards-based testing.

Learning Dynamics Reading has a 98% success rate with tens of thousands of students of all skill levels and abilities. After 17 years of testing and teaching, each Learning Dynamics Reading lesson has been optimized to help every child take steps toward reading success with fun, results-driven instruction.

For more information on 4 Weeks To Read, please visit 4weekstoread.com.