This site provides resources for parents, grandparents, and tutors who want a child or older student to learn to read at home.
The Articles page contains a list of resources, including: links, PDFs, resources, and videos – listed by topic.
On this site, you’ll find:
- inexpensive resources that help students learn to read at home in weeks, not years;
- materials that help students catch up to their peers in a few months;
- courses that teach the essentials, and help students make real progress;
- information that solves specific problems (such as confusion of b and d, or not knowing how to sound out). (See the Problems section of the Articles page); and
- material that makes sense, so that it’s easier for both you and your student to learn it and remember.
WHY STUDENTS HAVE TROUBLE READING
Students who have trouble with reading, usually struggle because:
- they lack basic knowledge about how writing works (the free Introduction to Phonemic Awareness for Parents video explains this to you in under 20 minutes, and the two Introduction to Phonemic Awareness for Students videos explain this to the student in under 20 minutes);
- they are not aware of the sounds in words; this is called Phonemic Awareness. To hear a list of the sounds (or phonemes) in English, you could watch my List of Phonemes video; and
- they haven’t made the link between the sound and its letter/s; this is called Phonics. To read the Phonics article, click here.
STUDENTS SHOULDN’T BLAME THEMSELVES
There’s no need for students to blame themselves for not being able to learn to read in the past, because none of the reasons why they couldn’t learn to read were their fault. The reasons that students fail to read are:
- what they were told didn’t make sense;
- the work was unnecessarily difficult so it was just too hard to learn;
- it took so long to learn that they kept forgetting what they’d been taught; and
- the most common reason – they had not been told how written really English works!
COMMON HOW TO READ INSTRUCTIONS – THAT ARE WRONG!
I’ve written some how-to-read instructions students are often given, below. After each one I’ve put in square brackets what the students are really being told to do. When most students are being taught to read – they are told:
- Don’t sound it out, just say the word [Guess!];
- Say the sound for the first letter, then say the rest of the word [Start off right, then substitute any word of the correct length or shape – Guess];
- Think what word would make sense here/You’ve got to create your own meaning! [Guess again];
- Try and remember this word – we learned it last week [Guess yet again];
- You know this story, you’ve read it to me before [Recite the story]; or
- What short words can you see in this long word? Say them, then put them together! [This is called part-word-assembling, and has nothing to do with reading longer words.]
All these very common instructions are WRONG. Instead, students should be told to say the sound for each letter (or letter team), then say the sounds closer together until the sounds blend into a word. As they become more experienced, they sound out and blend smoothly in one go!
So, if you want your child or student to (finally) learn how reading really works, look at the material available on this site, and help your student to learn to read at home. (A list of recommended online courses can be found here.)