On Reading


In the days of One-Room Schoolhouses like this, reading was often taught with Webster's Blue Backed Speller. After working through the Speller, children were able to read well enough to read from the King James Version of the Bible, and often used the Psalms as early reading texts. The focus on syllables and spelling resulted in high reading grade level scores at a very young age.

1st Grade Student, Sherwood, AR

Teaching Remedial Students
This page explains how to teach a remedial student (a student who has been taught to read with whole word methods or an incomplete phonics program that uses too many sight words) how to read.

Teaching Beginning Students
How to teach a beginning student to read.

Sight Words
Sight words are used in whole word reading methods, however, some phonics programs also use a lot of sight words. No more than 5 sight words should be taught. This page shows some common sight words and how to sound them out using phonetic principles.

Free Online Phonics Lessons
This is 40L's most comprehensive and powerful resource, a series of free online phonics lessons in movie format. Most students gain a reading grade level or two after watching the movies. They teach phonics up to a 12th grade reading level, and also teach spelling rules. They are best for students who are in the 2nd grade and older, although students as young as 6 years old have successfully completed the lessons.

Syllables Spell Success Program
This is a 10 lesson interactive phonics course that is free to print and use, with videos on YouTube to teach for you, you just need to do the exercises and worksheets with your student. The syllables program is very powerful, with the average class improving 1.7 grade levels and inproving their reading speed by 37%. It also teaches phonics to a 12th grade level and includes spelling rules.

This page is also valuable for those who do not have dyslexia. It explains how some of the symptoms of dyslexia can be mimicked by those taught with sight words, and also explains the nature of sound and how our brains learn to process the sounds in words.

Phonics and Spelling Books
A list of good phonics and spelling books.

Reading Grade Level Tests and Diagnostic Phonics Tests
A link to the NRRF's reading grade level test for grades 1-6 and a reading grade level test developed for grades 8, 10, and 12. There are also links to diagnostic tests to determine if phonics training will be helpful.

Why Johnny Doesn't Like to Read
Explains how sight words and whole word teaching methods may be contributing to America's growing aliteracy problem.

How to Tutor A Remedial Student
Specific tutoring instructions with step-by-step guidelines for tutoring a remedial reading student or a group of students.

Multi-Syllable Phonics for the The Well Taught Phonics Student
Upper level phonics and syllable division ideas to quickly get a student with a good phonics base reading at the 12th grade level.

Marked Prints: Leigh Print and UPP
Marked prints aid in phonetic pronunciation of English. Leigh Print was a self-pronouncing print successfully used as an Initial Teaching Alphabet (ITA) in the late 1800's. It allowed students to learn to read much faster than conventional reading methods. UPP is a diacritically marked self-pronouncing print developed to help remedialstudents.

Webster's Way
Explains how Webster taught reading and spelling with his "Blue Backed Speller", and why 40L believes this is the best way to teach anyone to read--beginner or adult. If you are reading below college level, you could benefit from learning to read and spell Webster's Way.