WHY JOHNNY STILL CAN’T READ by Dorothy Bokor, BS, MS, PD.
Johnny still can’t read because his teachers really never taught him how. Not in “direct instruction”, that is. Today’s schools mainly use the “See and Say” method of reading instruction. In this approach the student is exposed to words and is supposed to remember it after many pairings of “seeing” and “saying” the word. For the majority of students this usually works fine. This “Whole Word” approach, or “Whole Language”, does not emphasize or even teach the “sound/symbol” system. As an example, my daughter thrived on this “See and Say” method of reading instruction. When exposed in to the sound of the letter S in “Sally” and the S in the word “So”, my daughter was able to internalize and generalize that the letter S said the sound “S”. My Son, however, could not make that connection no matter how many pairings or exposures he had. He needed to be taught the “sound / symbol” connection in direct instruction. For example, in the word “races” the “S” sound is in the letters ce and the S says the sound of “Z”! Confusing? Yes. So it is not enough to just teach the rules of the “sound / symbol” system or phonics directly. You should use the “Orton Gillingham” approach taught by a trained teacher or the “Climbing With Phonics” Interactive computer program. This method works because it is structured, repetitious, phonetic, and most importantly, taught in a multi-sensory manner. I was introduced to the existence of this method in an article in “Mc Call’s” magazine in 1973 and I began to teach my son using this method in daily lessons. Many years later after he graduated college with a degree in Computer Science we have been writing computer applications using the Orton Gillingham program. We are selling the “Climbing with Phonics” programs and books on the Internet at “easyphonicsstore.com” site.