Learn to Read Book

Teaching reading using this book means learning to read isn’t an endless process. Instead, it can take as little as 25 hours.

See the Phonemic Awareness Course page for more information about the Procedure I Recommend You Follow.

To see a Sample of this reading course, click the blue link: Building Blocks of Reading Sample Package



Although teaching reading by using my learn to read book usually takes only a total of about 25 hours, it’s important you use your commonsense. If your child is 4 years old, he or she will probably learn most effectively by learning in very short lessons – perhaps for 10 minutes most days. At that rate, completing the course will take about 7.5 months. (I don’t include working on the weekends in my calculations.)

If your small child is very keen, he or she might be able to do two 10 minute lessons a day – which would mean the course would be completed in less than 4 months.

If you’re teaching someone who can do 40 minutes a day, your student is likely to complete the course in 2.5 months.

It doesn’t matter if your student works more slowly, though. There are NO prizes for going faster than your child or student can cope with, and thereby setting  him or her up to fail! Just move forward at the pace which suits your student, and you will reach your goal. Everything you need is in the course; you don’t need to invent work or do more than a few seconds of homework (if any).


This learn to read book covers teaching reading to children, teens, and adults – because they all need to know the same information. This course has been used with students as young as 4 years old, and as old as 65.

My course works with such a wide range of ages because in order to be able to read well, people of all ages need the same core knowledge and skills. Young students need the same phonics knowledge as older people, because real books for children use the same vocabulary as books for older people!

While my course will work for school-aged children (aged about 6), I don’t usually recommend it for children younger than 4 or 5 unless they’re very keen, because most very young children are not sufficiently mentally mature to understand the underlying concepts.

But, as we all know, there are always exceptions; I know a girl who taught herself to read at the age of 2, and another who taught herself to read at the age of 3! But all the same, these materials were not designed to be used to teach babies to read; I think babies have more important things to learn.

And, no, you don’t need to start very young in order to make sure your child can read. People of any age can learn to read.



Waiting, and hoping a school-aged child will magically become ‘reading-ready’ is NOT an option. It won’t happen.

A child who is failing to learn to read, is failing because he or she is lacking specific knowledge and skills. All these skills are taught as part of this reading course.


In this learn to read book, students work through the lessons in the order they are set out, and go from not being able to read a single word, to being competent readers of thousands of single words. I have found that concentrating on learning to sound out, blend, and read single words first (rather than reading lots of sentences), the most effective way to learn to read because it moves students through the learning to read stages VERY rapidly.

And, no, students don’t have to learn thousands of individual words off by heart! That’s not how written English was designed to work. Instead, students learn the building blocks of reading – the sound/letter combinations on which written English is based. That means, by the time students start reading lots of sentences they already know they can read thousands of words, so they’re confident right from the start.

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In this learn to read course, students learn:

  • the letter (or letter team) commonly used to represent each of the 40+ sounds in English;
  • to read words that use each new letter or letter team, as they are learned;
  • the basic code – the common ‘one sound represented by one letter’ part of English;
  • the intermediate code – ‘the sounds represented by a letter team’, AND ‘the common rules/patterns’ parts of English;
  • these rules or patterns are used to explain why a word has been written a certain way, and to help students remember which sound to say when they see a particular letter – so students are better equipped to figure out new words for themselves, and can become increasingly independent readers;
  • the advanced code – ‘the way we write sounds in foreign words’ part of English; 
  • the 150 most common sound/letter combinations and other essential knowledge and skills (such as punctuation marks);
  • to read longer words;
  • to read hundreds of words; and
  • how to apply all the above to read real words.

To see a sample of this book, click the blue link below:
Building Blocks of Reading Sample Package



  • arranging the course so your student starts at the beginning of the book and works through to the end – so you’re not confused about what to do next;
  • making the new work build on previous work;
  • breaking the work into very short, easy lessons so it’s not difficult to fit a lesson into an already busy schedule;
  • having only a small amount of new knowledge to learn in each lesson;
  • supplying enough revision work to enable students to apply that new learning automatically;
  • using memory aids to help students remember the sounds, letters, and rules;
  • leaving you in charge – so you can have your child repeat a lesson he or she didn’t understand, and you control the speed at which your child progresses;
  • making available an optional video-based instruction in phonemic awareness and how to read letters (that also teaches you how to teach reading), so your child has the pre-reading skills and an understanding of how letters work, before you teach the rest of the sound/letter combinations; and
  • making help available – I’m available via email, if you get stuck or have a question.

All these things work together to help English make much more sense. These types of assistance are especially helpful when you’re learning something that’s highly complex. And make no mistake – English is highly complex; but if the work makes sense most of the time, then students are much more likely to succeed, and they feel much more confident that they will succeed.



This material is so simple to teach that I’ve used it to teach a young mother to read, and then had her turn around and immediately use it to teach her little girl to read. (This mother made sure all her children could read before they went to school, because she didn’t want them to get right through school and be illiterate, as she had! I’ve heard several of her children read, and were all brilliant readers.)

The lessons are so easy to learn that students have been known to complain that they are too easy. But they don’t say that to me more than once, because my reply is that if the work’s so easy, they could be doing more lessons a day!

The course takes such a short amount of time because no time is spent on entertainment or mindless rote learning of words. My aim has been to help students understand how English works, so they make maximum progress for the amount of time and effort they put in. There is nothing more motivating than progress, and rapid progress is especially exciting for people who have struggled for years!

Remember, just because you, an experienced reader, find sounding out and blending boring, doesn’t mean your student does. Students who are learning to read, find it very exciting to see a word, sound it out, blend it, and work out what it is all by themselves!



When students have completed this course, they understand how written English really works. Many people are surprised to learn that guessing is not the way we’re meant to read, and neither is finding the little words within longer words and stringing these short words together – and hoping to come up with something that makes sense!

And many more people are surprised at how well-behaved English usually is, when we’re constantly being told that English is bizarre and unpredictable.

By the time students get to the end of the course, they can read several thousand individual words – so many students just take off and read fluently. The words they are able to read include: brochure, parachute, European, quantum, carbohydrate, symmetrical, amphibian, and bacteria. 

A number of younger students have told me they don’t care much about being able to read those words. Instead, they’re happy to read: sandwich, sedan, mermaid, football, hamburger, fairground, strawberry, astronaut, dinosaur, and brontosaurus.

And many adult students are delighted to be able to read: Ferrari, refrigerator/freezer, Toyota Corolla, Mercedes-Benz, special, discount, stone counter tops, AND notes from their child’s teacher!

There are also a few adult new readers who head in the opposite direction; they start reading: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Madeline, The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, Pete the Sheep, and The Hobbit – so they can read bedtime stories to their children or grandchildren.



Please note: This learn to read book is designed to be read on large-ish screens, or printed on A4 paper, rather than on small screens such as mobile phone screens or ereaders. The videos work on any sized screen.



I have recommended on the Phonemic Awareness Course page, that parents let me teach the Phonemic Awareness (Pre-reading skills) on video, before parents teach reading. You know your child, and will be able to decide whether or not that’s a good idea. Even watching the free videos (listed under Video Introduction to Phonemic Awareness) in the navigation bar, and the free videos listed under Phonemic Awareness on the Articles page will probably be all you need.

Some students find videos too much to cope with because they suffer from sensory overload. If that’s so for your child, you could watch the videos yourself, so you learn to teach the phonemic awareness skills, and how to teach reading – then use the Building Blocks of Reading book to teach your child.

In the book itself, the sound and hand sign are taught at the same time as the letter, which suits many students who are in difficulty much better.



This learn to read book based course is a set of 19 downloadable PDFs designed to be printed onto A4 paper. This work could be done on the computer, but I don’t think doing it that way is as convenient as using a hard copy – and many students in difficulty find the computer screen too bright. If your child finds white paper too bright, print the book onto pages of a pastel shade – cream or blue seem to work best.

To see a sample of this book, click the blue link below:
Building Blocks of Reading Sample Package.

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