This book has been aimed at parents, teachers, and administrators looking for a more complete approach to the process of teaching reading. Nothing has been described that has not been tried in several schools and found to be successful.
The book may be shared with school board members and concerned taxpayers. It is hoped that the contents of this book will assist in improving the quality of education at the primary level in this country.
Taxpayers may believe they don't see any real improvement in education, despite more and more money being poured into the system for special programs and personnel. They see high school students unable to enter college due to poor reading skills, and some without enough ability to even fill out a job application form.
Much of the academic problem is at the beginning. Without a good foundation, the rest of the years of schooling are painful for the student and at least a partial waste of the student's time.
Probably as many as one third of a typical first grade class will need more pre-reading preparation than will be given them. The skills are teachable. The skills must be taught. If kindergarten teachers don't do it, then first grade teachers must.
The skills are visual discrimination of lower case letters, auditory memory, auditory blending, left-right orientation, and applied phonics. After the student masters the final phonics chart with a minimum of ten pluses (+ + + + + + + + + +), take a fresh #3 chart and reverse the process, so that the teacher says the sound and the student writes the correct letters of the sound. This will increase the student's spelling ability. These skills must be taught and mastered before the sense of failure sets in and the pain begins. Correctly taught phonics used as an application tool can begin to reemerge as a reading help in schools where phonics in general is making a comeback.
It will complete the developmental reading program that most teachers use, with the current emphasis on language development, multi-age grouping, portfolios, and out-come based activities favored by some.
The author is confident this approach will work ninety-nine percent of the time for a conscientious teacher (the exceptional one percent includes children with severe handicaps in speech, hearing, or vision, as well as those with a language age of less than six years). This system will save most children from ever being labeled dyslexic or identified as learning disabled, provided the recipe is carefully followed and all ingredients are included.