Did you know that most American children may not learn to read as well as they should?
Consider these facts about American education:
*Our children rank close to the bottom in math and science when compared to international scores.
*Our educational system has lower standards for our public schools, yet budgets for education and, of course, taxes seemingly grow continuously over time.
*Our current methods for teaching children how to learn to read are faulty and have increased the number of students who suffer from learning disorders.
*Our SAT verbal scores have descended into historic lows. In fact, it has been estimated that there are more than 11 million functionally illiterate adults in America today.
Why Has America Fallen Behind Other Industrialized Nations When It Comes To Education?
There is no foundation more important to education than learning how to read. Reading is the cornerstone of knowledge and wisdom. Without a solid understanding of how to read and comprehend words, children cannot properly read the books that are so fundamental in their perception of the world around them. They cannot study decently. They cannot develop to their full potential.
It’s obvious that a child’s ability to learn to read is vastly influential upon the success of his or her life. So why can’t America get its act together and teach its children to read as fluently as other industrialized nations?
The reason is simple. There are basically two main methods used in the United States for teaching children how to learn to read, but both of these methods have serious shortcomings that have not been properly addressed.
Method #1: The Phonics Method
The phonics method is the most widely known method for teaching children to learn to read. Basically, children must first learn the alphabet by memorizing the letters and the sounds that they make. Once students are familiar with each letter’s sound, they are taught to blend two letters together, and then three letters, and so on.
There are multiple problems with this method. One of the main problems is that learning these letters and their accompanying sounds is usually highly boring for such young children, so they often lose interest. Often, the children are so focused on sounding out each letter that they do not get around to learning the meaning of the word. For example, Amy may be able to figure out the word “cat” by slowly sounding out each letter as “cuh-aaa-tuh,” but she may not actually understand that she is pronouncing the word “cat.”
Another significant problem with using the phonics method is that, while most consonants have only one possible sound, all of the vowels can be long or short. When confronting a new word, it is hard for many adults to decide which vowel sound to use. Imagine the frustration for a young child who is just beginning to learn the rules of reading! When children experience this difficulty in discerning which vowel sound is correct, it is common for them to begin to feel that reading is a chore; in fact, they may even begin to resent having to learn at all!
Method #2: The Whole Word Method (a.k.a. The “Look-Say” Method)
With this method children are taught to recognize entire words or sentences rather than individual letters. Instead of teaching children how to sound out words, this way forces them to learn through rote memorization.
In fact, the look-say method was developed in the early 1800s, and it was originally designed to help deaf children to learn to read. While it does seem to be effective for deaf individuals, why use it to teach those who don’t have hearing disabilities?
The New “Syllabics Method” May Be The Solution!
We can avoid the problems associated with both the phonics method and the whole word method by implementing the new syllabics method. This method for teaching children to learn to read includes focusing on a single syllable at a time, not just one letter and not the entire word. Any English syllable usually contains both a consonant and a vowel, although words such as “a” and “I” only contain a vowel. This will make it obvious to children when to use a long vowel and when to use a short one, without having to memorize each word one at a time. In fact, this extremely effective method requires almost no memorization, and children can quickly learn to read more than 1200 of the most common words in English.