Is reading a struggle for your youngster? Is he or she getting frustrated and losing self esteem because of a lack of reading and writing skills? The problem may be the method of teaching reading in the school system.
Thirty years ago educators adopted the “Whole Word” approach to teaching reading all across North America. Unfortunately history has shown that thirty percent of students can’t learn by this method. We are graduating functionally illiterate students that fail to meet their potential because of an inability to read easily.
I became a Volunteer Literacy Tutor and was fortunate that the program that I became involved with was one that is based on the original phonics based method designed in the 1940’s. this is not the program that is currently commercially available. It’s the same program that was taught in the schools when I was young, yet I found it challenging to learn to teach it.
My first student was a very bright Spanish speaking adult who had taken 4 years of English at a University in her home country. She could carry on only a basic conversation in English and was becoming increasingly frustrated.
The basic premise of this program is to teach the sounds of each letter, vowel, consonant, groups of vowel/consonants, or groups of consonants used in the English Language. I was astounded how many there were, though I use them on a daily basis.
I don’t remember it being a struggle to learn them as a child, I guess because they were introduced over a period of time.
My student was unable to pronounce bot familiar and unfamiliar words and couldn’t spell words that were familiar without resorting to the Spanish spelling at times.
After about four months of meeting in one-on-one tutoring, two to three times a week she could carry on, understand and participate in a three way conversation about politics in her home country. Her pronunciation and spelling had improved dramatically. Even the director of the program was impressed. Her English speaking husband was delighted.
She is now pursuing her profession and enjoying life with new confidence.