Learn to Read Course

You can teach your student to read in 25 hours

You, an untrained parent or tutor, can teach reading successfully. If you use this course, your student will find that learning to read will become a quick and easy process that can take as little as 25 hours.

To be able to teach using this course, you need to read, write, and speak English, and your student needs to be able to speak at least some English.


There are two ways to do this:

If you are confident that you would be able to teach reading, if only you could find an easy-to-use course, I recommend you use my Building Blocks of Reading Course book. It takes students from not being able to read a single word, through to being able to read thousands of single words, as well as phrases and paragraphs. Included in the book is the pre-reading (or Phonemic Awareness Skills) work that is essential for success.

If you are NOT confident that you could teach reading, but can see that in your situation there is no other option,  you need to teach reading in 2 stages – first, by using  my Phonemic Awareness Video Course, where I:

  • teach students all the essential pre-reading skills;
  • teach tutors and students how written English REALLY works;
  • teach all the sounds in English; and
  • (in the Bonus section) teach students a few letters while teaching you how to teach, so you can teac:
    • the remaining letter/sound combinations in common use; as well as teaching
    • how to teach sounding out; and
    • how to teach blending.

Then, second, I recommend you teach my Learn to Read course – the Building Blocks of Reading Course book. By doing the Phonemic Awareness Video Course, students have, in effect, done a “crash course” in some parts of the Learn to Read Course, they will still finish the course in about 25 hours.

Here’s the link for the PDF that shows you how to teach reading using my method:
Building Blocks of Reading Introduction PDF


Please use your common sense

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 common sense. 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 student is older, and is able to do 40 minutes a day, he or she is likely to complete the course in 2.5 months. [At the moment, the record is 3 weeks. And, yes, he was reading fluently with comprehension at the end of the 3 weeks. The testimonial is lurking on the Testimonials page. I have to warn you that this result is not typical because – this mother cheated!]

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).

Your student’s age is irrelevant  

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 much the same vocabulary as books for older people!

While my course will work for school-aged children (aged about 5 or 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, learning to read is not such a complex skill that you need to “start at birth” in order to ensure that your child can read properly! People of any age can learn to read. If learning to read is taught in a way that is consistent with the way English was designed to work, and it’s taught in a way that makes sense, it’s easy to learn!

But even though you don’t need to start teaching reading to very small children, I have to admit that these days I do recommend that parents teach their children to read before the child commences formal schooling – because the likelihood of successfully learning to read at school is now approaching 50/50!


Doing nothing is not an option

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 my Phonemic Awareness Video Course. Once a student has successfully completed that work, he is reading ready. then he needs to do a Phonics course. See my Articles page for information about Courses and Phonics. 

Your child can learn to read thousands of words

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 concentrating on reading 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, then they say the sound for each letter (or letter team) in the word as they move from left to right.

Learning this way means that 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.


More information about my Learn to Read book-based course 

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 learn it;
  • 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 and 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 in a particular position in a word. This means that students are better equipped to figure out new words for themselves, and quickly become independent readers;
  • the advanced code – ‘the way we write sounds in words we’ve taken from other languages’ 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 how this course is taught, click this link: Building Blocks of Reading Introduction PDF.


This course makes teaching reading easy by: 

  • 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 hasn’t understood, and you can control the speed at which your child progresses;
  • teaching your student how written English works, and all the essential pre-reading skills in the Phonemic Awareness Video Course, as well as teaching a few letters – so your child has the pre-reading skills and an understanding of how letters really 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.

And you’ll feel very proud of yourself, too, having taught your child to read!


This course can help you and your student

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 they 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 each 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!


By the end of this course

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. Other people are amazed to learn that finding the little words within longer words, stringing these short words together, and hoping to come up with something that makes sense isn’t how reading works, either!

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 this 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.


A note about screen size

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


If your child suffers from sensory overload or Autism

I have recommended on the Phonemic Awareness page, that parents let me teach the Phonemic Awareness (Pre-reading skills) on video, before parents teach the letter/sound combinations. But you know your child, and may decide that videos would be too much for him or her to cope with.

Students with sensory overload problems find videos overwhelming. 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, because in the Building Blocks of Reading Course book, I’ve included all the phonemic awareness information – one letter at a time, which many students find more manageable. 

And if you have a problem, you can always email me. Please don’t be shy about contacting me for help if you have a problem with one of my courses.


Downloadable PDF

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 and glary. If your child finds white paper too bright, print the book onto pages of a pastel shade – cream or blue seem to work best. Or you could print the pages onto white paper, and overlay a sheet of cellophane of a colour that suits your student.

To see how the course is taught, click here.

Buy The Building Blocks of Reading Book Course


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