How Reading Should Be Taught

A Good Reading Program Must…

Teach underlying skills

Since sounds (not syllables, blends, full words or rhyming combinations) are the key that unlocks our English writing system, successful readers must be taught to segment (pull apart), blend (put together), and analyze words at the sound (phonemic) level.

Use a sound-to-code basis

Good reading programs teach the sound code for the 43 phonemes (individual sounds) of the English language as well as the alternative spellings for those sounds. By learning that letters or letter combinations stand for specific sounds of speech, reading and spelling are taught concurrently.

Handle the alternative spellings of sounds and code overlap

After the student has learned the most probable spelling for each sound, the less probable (alternative) spelling should be introduced. Overlaps of the code, in which a letter or letter combinations represent more than one sound, must also be taught.