Reading Instruction and Research

Welcome from Don Potter

This page has grown since early 2003, when it was first launched, as my research into reading and reading instructions has grown. Although the page has grown to be rather long, I trust that the rich information I have been able to acquire over the years will prove highly beneficial to parents, teachers, researchers, and administrators responsible for reading instruction. 


Don reading Charles Major's exciting 1908 adventure story

 Uncle Tom Andy Bill

"An overwhelming body of evidence supports the belief that whether children learn to read, and how easily they learn to read, is largely dependent on the method by which they are taught. Reading programs that deemphasize the connection between letters and speech-sounds that letters represent nurture faulty reading; then, children who fail in such programs are labeled dyslexic with the assumption they are not able to learn to read."  Dr. Patrick Groff   

 HISTORIC ARTICLES by Samuel L. Blumenfeld

    Dr. Blumenfeld's insight is basic: "When you impose an ideographic teaching technique on an alphabetic writing system you get a reading disability. By eliminating the sense of sound from the reading process, one is breaking the crucial link between the alphabetically written word and its spoken equivalent. Also, using sound symbols as ideographic symbols, one creates symbolic confusion." I like to say, "Using a sight-associational method to teach a sound-associational system creates associational confusion." 

1. Can Dyslexia Be Artificially Induced in School? Yes, Says Researcher Edward Miller.  In March of 1992, Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld published this breakthrough article on whole-word dyslexia featuring the work of Mr. Edward Miller, the author of The Sight Word Eliminator and the Miller Word Identification Assessment (MWIA). Here is Mr. Blumenfeld’s Dyslexia article in Spanish. Here is my YouTube clip explaining the MWIA. Here is my March 2012 revision for those who prefer a 100% Dolch version of the Holistic Words. MWIA Revised.

2. In 1993 Mr. Blumenfeld wrote "Further Investigation" regarding Mr. Miller's later research.  

3. Here is another thought provoking article by Dr. Blumenfeld: Miscue Analysis: Training Normal Children to Read Like Defective Children. For more information on "Miscue Analysis" read: Critique of Miscue Analysis by Hempenstall

4. Twenty Years After Rudolf Flesch: Are the New Basal Reading Programs Doing the Job (1975)

5. Here is a article Dr. Blumenfeld sent me on 6/06/05: How to Cure Dyslexia

6. You can read more of Sam's insights from my document: The New Illiterates - Quotes

7. In March 2009, Mr. Blumenfeld sent me his eye-opening 1988 article, Dyslexia: The Disease You Get in School

8. Purchase Blumenfeld's Alpha-Phonics (2005). I have published Mr. Blumenfeld's decodable readers as First Readers Anthology

9. Here is an important speech Mr. Blumenfeld delivered at the 1974 Reading Reform Foundation convention: Why America Still Has a Reading Problem

10. Here is an important speech Mr. Blumenfeld delivered at the 1975 Reading Reform Foundation Convention: Letter Precision

11. Here is a recent article (2008) Sam sent me "Why Pictures in Reading Instruction Are Harmful."  Also read this research project on Pictures. Here is J. Samuel's, Jean Spiroff and Harry Singer's 1974 article "Effects of Pictures and Contextual Conditions on Learning to Read."  

12. "How Should We Teach our Children to Write? Cursive First, Print Later!

13. Here are some speeches by Dr. Blumenfeld: Why Teaching Phonics is Essential for Christian EducationPhonics vs. Look-Say

Here is an article by Dr. Blumenfeld's good friend, Watson Washburn, "The Disintegration of Our School System.” 

14. You can find all the articles I have published from the Reading Reform Foundation. The files are all over my website, but this document has links to take you to each document. 

A Proposal for a Phonics-First Framework for the Diagnosis and Teaching of Educational Factor

(2012) by Donald L. Potter. A document that I have been working on for some time concerning the dangers of teaching sight-words by whole-word memorization. Vanessa Petters has published YouTube video, Reading Programs Missing Link: 100% Decodable Stories, that makes a good complement to my essay.

 Click here for my old You Tube Videos: DonLPotter. Here is my new YouTube Channel: Don Potter. I have 2 YouTube Channels because I lost access to the first one when Google took over YouTube. 

I highly recommend Bruce Price's education clips.

The Massive Impact of Literacy on the Brain and Its Consequences for Education (2011) by Stanislas Dehaene. A concise presentation of recent research supporting the wisdom of our long-held advocacy for strong phonics first instruction. 

Professor William C. McMahon, of Danbury State College spoke on this very issue back in 1965: The McHahon Syndrome

Emily Hanford: A Journalist Looks at Reading Instruction. These audio documents hit the reading world like a bombshell. I highly recommend they as an easy-to-understand assessment of what’s wrong with reading instruction in America.  


I am proud to publish a major new work by Mr. Harry Hattyar, Illiteracy in America: Understanding and Resolving a Grave National Problem. This comprehensive work is thoroughly researched and entirely up to date. On 3/5/07, Mr Hattyar send me a pdf document of his Easy Steps to Reading for free download. A major feature of this new work is the plethora of decodable stories. Mr. Hattyar passed away on November 13, 2011. I consider it an honor to be able to have published his books and to now be able to keep them available on my website. While the book is no longer “new” it represents an engineer’s approach to reading instruction. 

Download Free Phonics Programs (Programs from Don Potter)

FREE DOWNLOAD: Word Mastery: A Course in Phonics for the First Three Grades by Florence Akin, published in 1913. Here is perhaps the finest phonics program ever published. I retyped it (12/20/04) in large type on a standard 8 1/2" x 11" page, perfect for making transparencies. Be sure and read my "Note" at the end of the book. Here is an alphabetical list of all the words in the book: Word Analysis. This phonogram method is especially good for self-teaching because it relies more on simple phonics patterns than complicated phonics rules. Gene Roth of Arizona sent me Akin's earlier 1908 phonics book, A First Book in Phonics: Pages , 12-2425-35. It is a cute little book, but not nearly as comprehensive as Word Mastery. Google Book has made available a good copy of Word Mastery. You can compare my typed edition with this scanned edition. The print in my book is much larger. Cheryl Lowe of Memoria Press has recently published a nice paperback revision that I am happy to recommend: Classical Phonics. On July 3, 2014 I published a beautiful, large print paperback edition of Word Mastery.  Ariel Gunther recently published a modern 2 volume adaptation of Word Mastery: Foundational Phonics. Here is audio instruction anyone can use to Teach Yourself to Read with Word Mastery.  Click here to go to my Word Mastery Page

FREE DOWNLOAD: Reading Made Easy with Blend Phonics for First Grade (1980) by Hazel Loring. Here is the easiest method for teaching beginning reading that I have seen anywhere. This little booklet will show any first grade teacher how to teach all children to read in four short months. It is also good for remedial reading instruction for any age.  For a stirring recommendation of Loring's method, see the article by Robert Sweet Jr.: The Century of Miseducation of American Teachers. More information is available at Here is a YouTube Blend Phonics Video Clip. In March of 2015, I published Reading Made Easy with Blend Phonics in an inexpensive paperback for those who prefer the program in a convenient book format. The program is also available with stories: Blend Phonics Lessons and Stories. Here is my Blend Phonics webpage that used to part of this website. I am no longer able to make any changes to it. Blend Phonics Comprehensive Webpage. Students in 3rd grade and up who have finished Blend Phonics will profit from Beyond Blend Phonics: English Morphology Made Easy. 

FREE DOWNLOAD: Noah Webster 1824 American Spelling Book. This is my "Easy-to-Read, No-Frills" edition (2/3/07). Of all the powerful phonics-first methods offered on this website, this method remains the finest ever published. It is equally good for beginning or advanced readers - from kindergarten through college. I personally use my edition for advanced phonics. It is power is something to behold! Here is my edition of Webster's 1908 Elementary Spelling Book. For an in-depth study of old Spelling Books click on: Spelling Book Reference Page. On March 11, 2014, I published a beautiful paperback edition of the 1908 Elementary Spelling Book

FREE DOWNLOAD: How to Teach Phonics, 1916 supplemental phonics book by Lyda Williams. I found this book in a used bookstore in Lubbock, Texas. I think you will be as impressed as I was with the excellence of this phonics book. Note how it begins with lessons on phonemic awareness - in 1916! Very few of the modern reading programs can begin to compare with this little gem. Here is the Google Book scan. 

FREE DOWNLOAD: Through The Phonics Barrier: Student Manual by Dr. Charles Child Walcutt. Dr. Walcutt's method uses an older and very powerful phonogram method of teaching reading. For the full program and audio files for those who wish to teach themselves to read better, click on Through the Phonics Barrier Reference Page. Here is a Comparative Study of the Lippincott Basic Reading 1963 - 1981.  Here is a comprehensive study of the Basic Reading Vocabulary. Here is a comprehensive study of the phonics elements and vocabulary in the 1963 Basic Reading. This is basically the entire phonics portion of the program with the stories stripped away, revealing the phonetic core of the program. Her is Walcutt’s 1958 Reading: chaos and cure. Here is a Position Paper on Reading by Walcutt in 1965. Here are my Basic Readings Research Files. 

FREE DOWNLOAD: Remedial Reading Drills (1936) by Hegge-Kirk-Kirk. Rudolf Flesch used these phonics drills when he cured Johnny of his sight-vocabulary induced guessing habit. I have retyped the entire book in large, easy-to-read font and added some helpful instructional notes from Samuel A. Kirk's (1940) Teaching Reading to the Slow-Learning Child. Now you can see for yourself exactly how Flesch helped his Johnny. Here is the Manual of Directions For Use With The Hegge-Kirk Remedial Reading Drills: With Clinical Suggestions for Treatment of Non-Readers. Unfortunately, some page are unreadable. 

FREE DOWNLOAD: A Sound Track to Reading: An advanced intensive phonics book & reader by Monica Foltzer. My stereo audio instruction for each lesson can be downloaded at A Sound Track to Reading Audio Instruction. Note that for enhanced lateralization the music MUST be fed to the left headphone. Here is Sound Track to Reading Cursive for practice reading all the words and sentences in the program. Here is an Interview with Monica Foltzer. Foltzer Phonics Training: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3. These are somewhat large files so please be patient with the download. It will be worth your time. I suggest saving them to your hard drive. Here is my A Sound Track to Reading web page. 

FREE DOWNLOAD: Essential Phonics by Mona McNee. This is an excellent phonics-first program for the youngest to the oldest students. From a dear friend in England. Mona also publishes a larger synthetic program with games, Step by Step. Added 4/6/09. Mona just published a historical pamphlet, Why Billy Can't Read. See # 8 below for her complete phonics program. 

Free Online Reading Programs (Links to other sites)

1. Mrs. Elizabeth Brown has published an excellent, interactive, online reading program for students from second-grade through adult. Very sophisticated phonics to support extraordinary high levels of literacy. All you need is pencil and paper and the newest edition of QuickTime. Click here: The Phonics Page. Here are some supplements I have created to facilitate the use of these lessons: Phonics Lessons Progress Chart. a Certificate of Successful Completion and Romans Reader. Phonics Lessons: Suggested SchedulePhonics Lessons Association Ladder, a Scope & Sequence of the program. Here are Fluency Drills that I created to be used with the program. 

2. Reading Bear. This program is based on the phonics exercises in Rudolf Flesch's 1955 Why Johnny Can't Read. It is a high-quality, interactive, complete phonics reading program. Here is a Reading Bear Scope & Sequence I prepared. Because the program teaches word meanings, as well as phonics, I suggest that it would be a great program for students learning to speak English: ESL.  

3. Stairway to Reading: by the Society for Quality Education (SQE) of Ontario, Canada is one of the best reading programs I have seen. It is very complete. The decodable sentences are great. While specifically designed for older children with reading problems, it can be used effectively to teach beginning reading..

4. Dr. D. W. Cummings, an eminent researcher into the science of spelling, has made his years of fruitful investigations into the English spelling system - and how best to teach it - available on his web site: D. W. Cummings - Spelling.

6. Step by Step Phonics by Mona McNee is a step-by-step synthetic phonics program. Also see her Myths of Reading Mona has just published a new book (2007), The Great Reading DisasterThis book is a bombshell that is destined to cause a cosmic shift in the teaching of beginning reading instruction in the English speaking world. Here is a real gem of wisdom from Mona: "Guessing is a terrible thing. It is not a 'strategy' for reading. It is a a danger signal tell us that the pupil cannot read from the letters. The only 'Don't in my lessons is 'Don't guess.'" Mona has just published her complete course in an instructional video format:

7. The Sounds of English web site by Dr. Norbert Rennert of the Summer Institute of Linguistics in British Columbia. This unique Online program gives educators or students access to the patterns of the English language in a systematic and controlled manner for any stage of the reading or writing progress. This program is temporarily down. 

8. Free Phonics Lessons from Darlene Dittus. These are excellent lessons. Darlene is a veteran Phonovisual Teacher. 

9. I purchased The Candy4Way Phonics Program on July 4, 2010. It costs less than $10.00 and is a very good intensive phonics program. On September 11, I learned that this program is now free. I updated the link to the new website.

10. Reading Key. Not exactly free, but there is a lot of excellent information on teaching reading on this site. 

11. R is for Reading by Cheryl Hill. Not exactly free, but this is a wonderful reading of Cheryl's brand new book. It is unique among phonics methods because it teaches the letter names and multiple sounds in interesting stories. Here is a thorough linguistic analysis for R is for Reading Books.   

12. Phonetic Keys to Reading. This is “Essentials of Phonetic and Structural Analysis” from the 1972 edition of the Economy Keys to Reading program.  

13. Northern State University Reading Clinic. My phonics friend Dr. Timothy Hogue offers free Online tutoring for reading through his student teachers at Northern State University in South Dakota. Dr. Hogue is a respected professor of reading who features strong phonics instruction. 

14. Phonics Fluency Practice and Testing by Stefanie Bruski.

15. I See Sam. This is a well researched phonics approach for students of all ages. 

16: Open Source Phonics. Top notch phonics similar to the best commercially available program, all for FREE! 

17. Your Child Can Learn to Read: A Simplified Course in Reading (1952) by Margaret McEathron. McEathron was an early leader in the phonics movement as early as 1938. 

 Recent Brain Research on Reading: Geraldine Rodgers

New Essay by noted reading researcher, Geraldine Rodgers:  The Born-Yesterday World of the Reading "Experts:" A Critique on Recent Research on Reading and the Brain. It gives me great pleasure to invite all visitors to my web site to read this recent and thorough critique of leading brain based research projects. Click here to see my attempt to draw and explain the "Reading Triangle." The concept of using a triangle to illustrate the two paths to reading was published by Henry Suzzallo his in 1913 article: Beginning Reading. Miss Rodgers cuts right to the heart of the reading problem in this article: "WHY NOAH WEBSTER'S WAY WAS THE RIGHT WAY." Here is the 1912 article by Myrtle Sholty that mentions the two types of readers: A Study of the Reading Vocabulary of Children. Sholty's article is now available from JASTOR for free: Sholty's Article. Also note Josephine Horton Bowen's 1911 article, Learning to Read. Here is the original article in its Journal setting (page 21): Learning to Read. Charlie Richardson's article Reading: Phonics vs Whole-Language is largely based on Miss Rodger's theory. Mr. Richardson wrote a letter to Dr. Sally E. Shaywitz in 2003 discussing points of contact between her brain research and his theory of acquired dyslexia: The Dyslexia Debate: Nature, Nurture or Both? Reading and Whole Language by Charlie Richardson. 

RESEARCH PROPOSAL: Have you ever wondered how students today would compare with students one-hundred years ago? On June 22, 1983 in New York City, Geraldine Rodgers presented a paper at the National Institute of Education Competitive Hearings on Proposed Research Projects. Her proposal was titled "To Urge the Repetition of the Ayres' Spelling Test of 1914-1915 to Confirm the Existence of Massive Present-day Reading Disability and to Establish its Cause and Cure." Ayres' book and Miss Rodgers' proposal are published here in hopes that researchers will seriously consider the implementing the proposal and the important information it would provide for policy-makers today. Here is a copy of Leonard P. Ayres' book A Measuring Scale for Ability in Spelling.  Here is the Chart that was included as a foldout in the back of the book: Ayres Chart Richardson shows us how the Ayres Scale can be used as A Ready Made Literacy Scale.  Here is Geraldine Rodgers' Introduction to Ayres. Here is link to a very nice scanned edition of Ayres Spelling Scale. Here is an excellent source for Ayres' A Measuring Scale for Ability in Spelling

Anyone interested in the true facts about history of reading should be sure to read The History of Beginning Reading by Miss Geraldine Rodgers. This massive three volume work is undoubtedly the most comprehensive and penetrating history of beginning reading every published. 

 The Hidden StoryHow America's Present-day Reading Disabilities Grew Out of the Underhanded Meddling of America's First Experimental Psychologist. You can read my quotes from the book by clicking The Hidden Story - Choice Quotes. And here is my YouTube clip: Hidden Story. For an early critique of the sigh-reading method, read Samuel T. Orton's famous 1929 article,The "Sight Reading" Method of Teaching Reading, as a Source of Reading Disability.

1977-1978 Oral Reading Research. Miss Rodgers compares the results of teaching the popular sight-word beginning reading programs with phonics-first programs in her book recently published book (2006): Why Jacques, Johann and Jan CAN Read. Research was conducted in several languages. The results lead to her insight into the two kinds of readers. This is fundamental, groundbreaking research. Order Your copy at: Why Jacques, Johann and Jan CAN Read1981, 1982, 1983 Indictment against silent reading tests and their devious negative influence on reading ability in America: Case for the ProsecutionView my YouTube videos, where I read all of Chapter 2: "Why Would Anyone in Their Right Mind Want to Teach Sight Words, Anyway? In 1986 Miss Rodgers sent testimony to the OVERSIGHT ON ILLITERACY IN THE UNITED STATES Hearing before the House of Representatives. You can read her testimony here: "Phonics First.” 

Letter to Reid Lyon on the dangers of trusting tests of silent reading comprehension to evaluate reading ability. This is a very important letter both historically and theoretically. 

Johnny Still Can’t Read - But You Can Teach Him at Home (1979) by Kathryn Diehl. I have a copy of this book that Mrs. Diehl (former Research Director for the Reading Reform Foundation) sent me along with a complete set of Reading Informers and RRF Conference Reports. Students of the history of reading will find this Reading Reform Foundation: Systematic Intensive Phonics Programs of Reading Instruction a valuable catalog of programs recommended by that organization in the early 1980s. 

The Spelling Doctor: Raymond Laurita

One of the major influences on my understanding of the teaching of reading is the work of Mr. Raymond Laurita. He rightly calls himself The Spelling Doctor. He is the creator of Orthographic Structuralism, a new and exciting scientific way of looking at written English. His website was closed in December 2007.  Ray has given me permission to publish his articles on this web site.  The article "Spelling as a Categorical Act" serves well an introduction to his foundational book, Orthographic Structuralism: The New Spelling.  

1. A Critical Examination of the Psychology of the Whole Word Method

2. Basic Sight Vocabulary: A Help Or A Hindrance 

3. Frustration and Reading Problems

4. Spelling as a Categorical Act

5. A Plea to Restore Reading as a Spoken Activity 

6. Vertical Word Processing: A New Approach For Teaching Written Language to The Learning Disabled Adolescent. Phillip W. Trembley. MA. 

7. Reversals: A Response to Frustration?  

8. Understanding the Significance of the Individual Letters of the Alphabet in the Development of Full Literacy.           

9. Rehearsal: A Technique for Improving Reading Comprehension. (Teaching Teenagers) 

10. Errors Children Make. This 1967 article is the essence of wide experience and sound judgment. 

11. Spelling Problems Resulting from the Deletion of the Second Consonant in Root Forms

12. Phonics vs. Look-Say: …is there no end in sight  1967 article. NY State EDUCATION. 

13. Road to Better Spelling 1971 

14. Cessation of Spelling Newsletter. On June 21, 2006, Mr. Laurita ceased publication of his popular Spelling Newsletter. 

15. Does Holding a Child Back Help or Hinder (The Crisis, Aug & Sep 1966). 

16. The Spelling Doctor's Credo

17. The New Spelling: Orthographic Structuralism. This is Ray's Magnum Opus. I am scanning the book. It will be published one chapter at a time until the work is complete. 

18. The Laurita-Trembley Diagnostic Word Processing Test (1979). This document contains valuable information concerning Mr. Laurita’s approach to English Orthography and how it can be best taught. It is extremely important from a theoretical perspective. 

19. Greek Roots and Their Modern English Spellings (1989). 

20. 1001 Affixes and Their Meanings: A Dictionaries of Prefixes, Suffixes and Inflections (1981). 

Essays from Dr. Pat Groff

1. Myths of Reading Instruction - and why they persist. This presentation was published in the 1983 Reading Reform Foundation Conference Report. It covers, in condensed form, the same material in his 1987 Preventing Reading Failure; An Examination of the Myths of Reading Instruction. Here is another source for An Examination of the Myths of Reading Instruction.

2. Sight-Words the Humpty Dumpty of Reading Instruction. 

3. The New Anti-Phonics is the Same Old Look Say. 

4. How to Teach Children to Read Word. This booklet presents in detail Dr. Groff’s highly practical method for teaching people to read. Its publication represents a cooperative effort between myself and the NRRF. 

5. Review of Lucy M Calkin's The Art of Teaching Reading. Notice the mention of Heinemann Publ. as a leading whole-language provider.  Comparing Reading Research and Program Design: An Examination of Teacher’s College Units of Study by a galaxy of reading expert. (Jan. 2020)

6. Whole Language: Emancipatory Pedagogy or Socialist Nonsense

7. Handwriting, and its Relationship to Spelling  

8. Roll Call of the Combatants in the Reading Wars

9. Children's Identification of Word In and Out of Context

10. The Mythology of Reading: I - Sight Words

11. The Usefulness of Pseudowords

12. Is Dyslexia Scientifically Confirmed? Or is it caused by the ineffective teaching of reading

13. Two Reactions to the Report Card on Basal Readers.  A debate between Constance Weaver (Whole Language) and Patrick Groff (Direct Instruction in Phonics). 

14. Private Sector Alternatives for Preventing Reading Failure. This is just the introduction to the book, but contains a lot of good information. Here is the whole book

15. “The Syllable: It’s Nature and Pedagogical Usefulness” (1971)

16. Reading Competency Test (no date: around 1993). A very good test of phonics knowledge, decoding ability, and grade level. 

17. A Compilation of Paper and Essays by Dr. Patrick Groff. I create this compilation on Feb. 8, 2020 from essays on the NRRF website and the old Reading Reform Foundation website. They include Whole Language, Reading Recovery and his unique "Roll-Call of Combatants in the Reading Wars”. 

18. phonics: why how (1977). This is a full length book from Archive. (14 days borrowing)

19. Preventing Reading Failure: An Examination of the Myths of Reading Instruction (1987) This is a full length book from Archive (14 days borrowing)

20. Word Recognition: The Why and the How (1987) Full length book with 14 day borrowing from Archive.

21. Research on Spelling and Reading (1968). According two Groff, "Recent research supports the theory that phonetic knowledge and skills play an important part in spelling ability.”

22. “The Importance of Teaching Handwriting for Cognitive Development" (2019) by Diana Ring. The PLD program. 

Michael Brunner 

Mr. Brunner asked me to format his video, Retarding America: The Imprisonment of Potential for YouTube in 2010. I split it into two 10 minutes segments. We published both segments under Literacy Alert. I recently noticed that the first segment had 2.4k views, but the second segment only 699 views. On July 26, 2019, I decide to publish the whole video in hopes of increasing viewership. Michael Brunne wrote a very important research report entitled, Reduced Recidivism and Increased Employment Opportunity Through Research-Based Reading Instruction. This follows closely his book, Retarding America: The Imprisonment of Potential (1993). His paper, "Vowelectomy - A Fatal Reading Operation," is a brilliant piece of research that deserves to be better known. He tells about his work in a 1985 Reading Reform Foundation Conference speech. Here is the October 1994 Juvenile Justice Bulletin,”Improving Literary Skills of Juvenile Detainees" by Jane Hodges, Ed.D and others: The report does not mentioned that Sue Dickinsons’s Sing, Spell, Read, Write phonics program was the program used in the study. 

The Sounds and Spelling Patterns of English: Phonics for Teachers and Parents (1993) by Phillis E. Fischer. A very practical resource. 

Colorado Dept. of Education Phonics Chart. Very complete Phonics Charts for beginning to advanced levels 

Misreading Analysis: Helen Lowe 

Gives Insight into Faulty Word Identification Strategies and Informs Effective Remediation

In 2002, I began to carefully record student's misreadings of words in order to gain insights into their word identification strategies so that I could design effective remediation instruction. I was influenced to do to this by three masters in the field who had done similar work, Raymond Laurita, Diane McGuinness, and Helen Lowe. Helen Lowe wrote two articles of particular value, one in Atlantic Monthly (1959), and a longer article in Charles Walcutt's book of essays, Tomorrow's Illiterates (1961). Here is her insightful Atlantic Monthly article: Solomon or Salami. I recently found the entire article on the Phonics Institute website: Phonics Institute. Geraldine Rodgers recently sent me an earlier article published by Lowe entitled How They Read. Here is the more extensive article written forTomorrow's IlliteratesThe Whole-Word and Word-Guessing Fallacy. Here is a speech she delivered in 1963 "Update to How They Read." Here is a link to Helen Lowe's granddaughters website: Grandmother Link Here is a 1954 Colliers essay by Howard Whitman that includes an interview with Mrs. Lowe: "Why Don't We Teach Them to Read?" Here is a research summary from 2001: How Psychological Science Informs the Teaching of Reading. Here is a briefer summary by the same authors: How Should Reading be Taught. The Usefulness of Brief Instruction in Reading Comprehension. This is a somewhat skeptical view of "comprehension instruction."

  Rudolf Flesch (Phonics-First) 
Why Johnny Can't Read and what you (parent) can do about it. 

No book has shaped my thinking about reading instruction more than Rudolf Flesch's 1955 best seller, Why Johnny Can't Read and what you can do about itThe book remains a model of solid research and clear thinking. The best part of Flesch's book are the 72 highly effective phonics exercises at the end of the book. Here is a whole page of materials I have developed for teaching his method: Rudolf Flesch Instruction Page

Mr. Edward Miller's Test for Artificially Induced Whole-Word Dyslexia

The Miller Word Identification Assessments (MWIA)

To determine if a student has artificially induced whole-word dyslexia, give him or her the the Miller Word Identification  Assessment (MWIA I or II). This assessment tool consists of two lists of carefully chosen words, a Holistic (sight-words) List and a Phonics List. If the student reads the Phonics List slower and/or misreads more phonics words than the Holistic List, they have whole-word dyslexia and need immediate remediation. I published the assessment on my this on 9/27/03: Here is the MWIA I Test and Instructions. I hope that many parents and teachers will print the pdf file of the test and give it to their students. Here is a sample test: MWIA I Sample Test and MWIA I Sample Summary. The MWIA I & II are available as of 7/22/03: MWIA I & I Test, Manual & Summary Sheet. I usually give the MWIA II. Click here for an MWIA II Analysis I prepared for one student: Student Word Processing Strategies Analysis. I consider the MWIA the poor man's fMRI. Mr. Miller also had a Sight Word Eliminator (SWE) that can help students with artificially induced whole-word dyslexia. To view my a small SWE that I made, click here: The Great Stone Face SWE. Here is an Explanatory Forward to the SWE based on Mr. Miller's original SWE. Don Potter's "Notes on Ed Miller's Complaint to the FTC" concerning Dr. Seuss' sight-word books. Here is Mr. MIller and Rick Dixon's 2004 Update to the Complaint to the FTC. Here is my edition of The Great Stone Face in uppercase letters to help students to overcome configuration reading by eliminating configuration.  Charlie Richardson was a great advocate phonics and the MWIA. Mr. Richardson passed away on March 13, 2008. Here is an "In Memory of Charlie Richardson" by Robert Sweet. Here is Mr. Miller's patent for making a Sight Word Eliminator. Mr. Miller passed away in June 2009. Here is a link to Mr. Richardson's article, Whole-Language Causes Dyslexia. Here is a "Spoof on Dr. Seuss." that I wrote for his birthday on March 2, 2013. How Coyote Stole Fire, a SWE by Vanessa Peters. For a quick grade level, I have found the 1987 Riverside Quick Recognition very helpful. Here is my 2016 Revision of the MWIA Levels 1 & 2, with both Dolce & Fry versions. Here is my 2008 MWIA Video. Here is the 2016 MWIA Level 1. 

Sam Blumenfeld's Alpha-Phonics

I would certainly be amiss to fail to mention the one book that I have used to teach more students to read than all the others combined: Blumenfeld's Alpha-Phonics (2005 revised & expanded edition) by Dr. Samuel L. Blumenfeld. I taught Sam's comprehensive, easy-to-teach reading program for seven years in the public school classrooms and many more years in private tutoring.  You can still order the original 1983 edition at: Alpha-PhonicsHere is a Comparison of the two editions: Alpha-Phonics ComparisonThe New Illiterates ranks with Rudolf Flesch'sWhy Johnny Can't Read, and Charles Walcutt's Reading: chaos and cure as one of the great exposes of the sight-word fiasco.  In the school year 1999-2000, I taught Alpha-Phonics to a second grade bilingual class. Teachers interested in teaching Alpha-Phonics to large classes of students in a single school year will find my detailed lesson plans of great value. You can find them at  Potter's Daily Lesson Plans for Teaching Alpha-Phonics. You can download a set of Orton Phonograms that I developed to assist me in teach Alpha-Phonics to a large class. Here are materials for teaching Total Alphabetic Recall. Here is a Word Analysis of the 2005 Blumenfeld's Alpha-Phonics. I have also written an Analysis of the Blumenfeld Oral Reading Assessment Test (BORAT). Here is a new Alpha-Phonics Progress Chart. Here is an article Sam wrote in Sept. 1994 on Cursive FirstPaul Lukawski's Alpha-Phonics Testimonial. Here is my progress chart for Mr. Blumenfeld's First Readers.  Here is my Cursive Road to Reading and Spelling Progress ChartHere are the Cursive Road to Reading and Spelling Review SentencesCursive Road to Reading and Spelling Phonogram Cards. Here are some YouTube Testimonials: Dr. Obadiah Williams & His 22 Years Teaching Alpha-Phonics. Here is Obadiah Williams’ Early Childhood Stimulation and Parent Training for Early Education: The Exposure Quotient Method.  Lauren Baxter mother of six learn with Alpha-Phonics. For teachers in a situation where they are, unfortunately, required to teach print-first, here is a copy of the Printing Road to Reading and Spelling Practice Sentences. Mr. Blumenfeld published an effective home phonics primer  in his 1973 The New Illiterates: Preschool Primer. You can order my edition of Mr. Blumenfeld's First Readers

Here is a practical video teaching Blending by EBLI (Evidence Based Literacy Instruction) 

Phonics and Structural Analysis for the Teacher of Reading: Programmed for Self-Instruction (2010) by Barbara J. Fox. Fox coauthored Phonics for the Teacher of Reading (1998) with Marion A. Hull. This is an excellent book for teacher and parents who want an in-depth knowledge of English phonics and structural analysis. Most of this is familiar to me from my Linguistic Course in 1974! A similar and much shorter book is Learn Phonics ((1985) by Mary S. Rogers & J. Michael Palardy. 

Comparing the Dolch and Fry High Frequency Word Lists

Linda Farrell, Tina Osenga, and Michael Hunter, Founding Partners of have done a wonderful job researching the history, nature and dangers of sight-word instruction by look-say techniques. 

Dolores Hiskes' Phonics Pathways

I have found Phonics Pathways by Dolores Hiskes of particular value in helping children with whole-word dyslexia. It is equally good for beginning readers or remediation. Order you copy at: Phonics Pathways. Dolores has a new supplement to go with Phonics Pathways called Phonics Boosters that I highly recommend. Dolores has a third book that is great for developing fluency. It is aptly called Reading Pathways. It focuses on strengthening the eyes, increasing eye span, and improving blending and syllabication. I highly recommend that everyone read her 2003 essay on why students are having comprehension problems (It may not be what you think!): Comprehension Extracting vs. Constructing Meaning. Here is a very important presentation Dolores gave at the International Reading Association Phonics Special Interest Group this year (2008) Comprehension

How the Brain Learns to Read (2005) David A. Sousa. 

Comparing Research on How the Brain Learn to Read and Sight Word Instruction (July 2017). A Masters Thesis by Laura Berg. i appreciate the author making reference research Elizabeth Brown and I have conducted. 

Toe by Toe: A Highly Structured Multi-Sensory Reading Manual

Visit the Toe by Toe Facebook Page. Be sure and visit the Toe by Toe website. You can purchase Here is my Toe by Toe link to purchase the book Amazon. This is one of the very best methods for one-on-one tutoring for students with a history of dyslexia or other reading problems. 

Laurie Endicott Thomas on The Reading Wars

Play’N Talk: a program with a track record of 60 years is making a comeback. Many great programs from the past like Open Court and Basic Reading were virtually ruined in lager revisions, but the reissue of Play ’N Talk, fortunately, has remained true to the original It is very complete covering reading skills from beginners’ level right up to college. Here is theoretical discussion of the Play ’N Talk Approach

Mary Pecci: At Last! A Reading Method for Every Child

Mary is notable for her detailed explanation of how to teach the alphabet, stable phonics, and proper use of developmental basal readers. She has her own set of the latter. Here is a video Mary did for Teaching the Alphabet. Here is a page of Supporting Material I developed. Here is Improving Reading Instruction (1956) by Donald Durrell, Miss Pecci’s professor at Boston College, whose impact is apparent in her method. Here is Dr. Durrell’s 1940 Improvement of Basic Reading Abilities

Why a Structured Phonics Program is Effective" by David Liben. An excellent explanation of the different between Guided Reading and Structured Phonics. The clearest most succulent presentation I have read anywhere. 

Becoming A Nation of Readers

Here is a link to the famous government document Becoming a Nation of Readers. Here is a much better copy of Becoming a Nation of Readers

McCall-Crabbs Standard Test Lessons in Reading. Instruction and Record Forms. Don Potter’s Progress Chart for HcCall-Harby Test Lessons in Primary Reading. Unfortunately, this edition of the Standard Tests Lessons for Reading has been discontinued. Here is the New Edition

YAK Phonics

YAK Phonics by Dr. E. M. Swengel, Ph.D. was on an old Reading Reform Foundation Book List. You can also purchased his novel Plainston Chronicles from Amazon. More information on Dr. Swendel's work at the Institute for Mutual Instruction

The Sounds of Words 

The Sounds of Words. I have not examined this book; but from comments on the author's website (Learn How to Read), I gather that it may be very valuable. 

Spelling Book Reference Page

In the history of reading in America, no book has had as profound an impact as Noah Webster's Blue-Backed Speller. Rudolf Flesch in his justly famous, Why Johnny Can't Read, and What You Can Do About It, wrote of Webster's Speller, "The Blue-Backed Speller was a fourteen-cent medicine that cured you of illiteracy. Nobody dreamed of criticizing it as wrong, unscientific or ineffective." Miss Geraldine Rodgers explains the advantages of Webster's Spelling Book for teaching beginning reading in her brilliant essay: "WHY NOAH WEBSTER'S WAY WAS THE RIGHT WAY." Click on Spelling Book Reference Page for more information on how to teach high level reading through spelling. You can purchase my practical 2014 edition of Webster's 1908 Spelling Book from Amazon: Noah Webster's Spelling Book Method for Teaching Reading and Spelling

Open Court (Headway)

July 2, 2018: It breaks my heart to announce to announce the demise of another top flight reading program. I understand that Didax no longer publishes School Phonics. This is the last successor to the successful Open Court program. I will leave the information here in hopes that someone will consider republishing School Phonics. Unique, unusual, fast, fantastic, delightful, colorful, fun, scientifically based, and exciting are all words that describe School Phonics published by Didax Educational Resources. The authors, William C. Carroll, and Kenneth A. Lexier, were experienced hands at publishing reading methods for children. It taught first-graders practically everything in phonics by midterm. Here is a Condensed Version of School Phonics.   Here is my detailed Analysis of the 1985 Open Court Headway Program. Diane Ravitch has interesting comments concerning a recent book about the old Open Court: "The Triumph of Look-Say." Here is an article by Arther Trace Jr. delivered at a Reading Reform Foundation Conference in 1963. Here is a satire by Dr. Trace: Roger Joikl's Revenge. Here is a highly suggestive study of the advantages of teaching Long Vowel First. Here is Al Henderson's 1987 article on the old Open Court: Reading by Ear. School Phonics is based on the Association Method of Mildred McGinnis. Here is a monogram on the Association Method. Here is a School Phonics Student Progress Chart. The Weiss Method also taught long vowels first. [School Phonics is something of a replacement for the old Open Court, long-vowel-first phonics approach, since the new Open Court departed from that distinctive feature of the pre/SRA/McGraw-Hill Open Court. Schools found out the hard way that the switch had been made. The new Open Court also switched from actions to words for sound-symbols.] We are thankful to Mr. Wigowsky for publishing scanned copies all the old Open Court Workbooks. I have reproduced the heart original Open Court Program: Blue Book - Long Vowels. Gold Book - Short Vowels. Here is the homework: Word and Sentence Lines. Here is a "Critical Study of the Dolch List Sight Word Vocabulary" and the old Open Court. Here is a two page Phonics Picture Chart that I made to go with the method. Here is a presentation of the Associational Levels of From Sounds to Letters. Here are 18 Power Point Presentations for Sounds to Letters. TALK Institute and School: Association Method. I am sad to announce that it looks like School Phonics is no longer being published. The last successor to Priscilla McQueen’s Open Court has vanished into thin air. Here is Harold Henderson’s Let’s Kill Dick and Jane: How the Open Court Publishing Company Fought the Culture of American Education. Here is Arther S. Trace, Jr. (1961) What Ivan Knows that Johnny Doesn’t. For those interested in long-vowel first reading programs, I highly recommend considering the Weiss Sure Steps to Reading and Spelling. Anyone who wonder what happened to Open Court should  read Let’s Kill Dick & Jane: How the Open Court Publishing Company Fought the Culture of America Education (2006)

3RsPlus - Dick Schutz

 Brian D. Marriott has made the first series available for free download: I See Sam. It is cheaper to purchase the books, but you can review them here. I See Sam.  The entire I See Sam program has just been made available in digital format for free (4/10/2015). Academic Success for All

Wide Range Reading Test. This is a quick assessment for discovering a students grade level in reading. 

Direct Instruction

Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox, and Elaine Bruner

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Just click on the title to order the book. I have found this method especially effective with students who have a difficult time learning to read with other methods. It is very detailed and EASY to follow. I have even used it to teach second grade bilingual students to read English with understanding. Here is Phillis Haddox's website for Teach Your Child. Here is an interactive course on Englemann's DI. Here is the Zigsite, where you can learn all about Siegfried Engelmann - his life and theory. For the obvious - but curiously overlooked - cause of reading failure ponder Siegfried Englemann's penetrating paper, "The Curriculum as the Cause of Failure. In case you, like me, can't imagine why curriculum departments generally are more a part of the problem than the solution consider Englemann's "Advocacy for Children" for some insights. Machinations of What Works Clearing House by Siegfried Englemann. In this paper Englemnn points out that older studies should not be disregarded just because they are pre-1985 - since the reading process has not changed. Here is a Student Progress Chart for TYC. Here is Kerry Hempenstall’s takedown of Whole Language. Here is an Archive Copy of TYC you can download. Here is Zig explains “Theory of Instruction. For a comprehensive look at Direct Instruction Reading (2010) by Douglas Carnie, et. al. The Science and Success of Englemann’s Direct Instruction (2014) Edited by Jean Stockard. Teach Your child Well: A Solution to Some of North America’s Educational Problems. (1998) by Michael Maloney - an interesting book that combines Direct Instruction and Precision Teaching. Also by Maloney (2001), Teach Your Child to Read Well: Level 2A: Grades K-2

Reading Horizons

Reading Horizons Training. This is a very good basic training video, with information valuable for teaching any phonics program. 

New Ultra-Simple Phonics-First Program

Isabel L. Beck has recently published a practical introduction to phonics that ranks with Florence Akin, Rudolf Flesch, and Hazel Loring for practicability: Making Sense of PhonicsShe clearly works her way through the theory of reading and ends the book with a phonics method that is the ultimate in simplicity and effectiveness. Her techniques is the same as Hazel Loring's Blend Phonics. Here is a Review of Beck’s book. Here are the Guilford Supplemental Teaching Resources

Hay-Wingo Reading with Phonics 

A Study of the Hay-Wingo Reading with Phonics (begun in 2014 finished in 2019) by Donald L. Potter. The Hay-Wingo program was notable for teaching all short vowels first. It has many similarities to the A Beka Phonics Reading Program, which i have taught and like very much. I am currently typing the Hay-Wingo Teacher’s Manual. Here is Hay-Wingo on Archive. 

Phonics for Home Methodology

Here is a very complete YouTube Video that teaches an enormous amount of excellent phonics: Phonics for Home Methodology.

What Price Desegregation? 

A thought provoking article from the Feb.-Mar., 1987 Reading Informer. It is by Mary S. Jackson: What Price Desegregation?  Along with Jackson's article, be sure and read Dr. Patrick Groff's Whole Language: Emancipatory Pedagogy or Socialist Nonsense? 

Mary Johnson's Two Sentence Reading Test

Here is a very clever Two-Sentence Test that you can give your students. I am adding articles by Mrs. Johnson at the end of this test. Mary Johnson was the author of Programmed Illiteracy in our Schools, (1971). Mary Johnson also wrote a phonics based ESL method which I plan to make avilable later this year. [GREAT NEWS: Marsha Palansky, Volunteer Services Coordinator of the International Centre of Winnipeg sent me a complete set of Mary Johnson's ESL materials. I appreciate Marsha's help.] Read more about the results of giving this assessment: Oral Reading Survey, New York City, by Mary Johnson. Also read, Mary Johnson's One Woman War by Stephen Franklin. Bruce Detrick Price wrote a good article on Johnson, "Hurray for Mary Johnson - A Great Educator.” Here is a 1967 report reputedly comparing Phonics (Economy) and Look-Say. Programmed Illiteracy in Our Schools (1970), documenting Mrs. Johnson’s crusade for phonics. 

Sidney Ledson's Method

Sidney Ledson's Teach Your Child to Read in Just Ten Minutes a Day teaches two year old children to read with an excellent, easy-to-teach phonics-first method. This is an excellent method for very young children. He has a lot of excellent information on how his method prevents and cures dyslexia. 

Edu-Steps by Pat Doran

I piloted this phonics program for older students when I taught junior high. The program was developed by professor Pat Doran of Gilbert, Arizona. Her program is called Phonics Steps to Reading Success. It is a fast-paced word attack system for developing and improving reading skills. Pat has over 30 years experience working with students with reading problems. The program teaches high-level decoding skills (over 5,500 words) using transparencies, making it possible to teach large groups of students in an effective and economical manner. I especially recommend her fascinating book, The Secret Club: Why and How We Must Teach Phonics and Essential Reading Skills to Under-performing Readers of All Ages. One junior high student improved four grade levels in only 11 hours tutoring with me.! The program usually takes between 20 to 30 hours to complete. Dramatic results have also been reported by other teachers using the program. It is appropriate for ages 10 to 100. 

Phonics Faces. 42 multicultural faces showing the letter-to-sound relationships for the speech sounds of English. I have not used this program, but a friend of mine highly recommends it. 

TATRAS Direct Vertical Phonics

I taught TATRAS to several bilingual classes.  Mr. Rogers TATRAS Phonogram Sequence Chart is a single piece of paper that contains the entire phonetic system of written English. TATRAS stands for Teaching America To Read And Spell. In April of 2003, one five year old boy demonstrated mastery of all 68 phonograms and 840 Core words. He scored independent third-grade on the 1987 Riverside Informal Reading Inventory. He had a perfect score on the MWIA I proving that he had absolutely no whole-word dyslexia! You will want to read the story I wrote for him: How Isaac Learned to Read In Kindergarten. Mr. Rogers’ website is no longer on the Internet, and his program is no longer in print. Here is a scanned copy of the TATRAS Manual for anyone interested in learning more about the program.   

National Right to Read Foundation

Was founded in 1993 it worked for many years to fulfill its ambitious mission of returning comprehensive, scientifically-based reading instruction and good literature to every elementary school in America. Click here: Reading Competency Test. This test tests both code knowledge and grade-level. (For dyslexia, I recommend the Miller Word Identification Assessment.) The work of the NRRF was preceded by the Reading Reform Foundation, founded by Watson Washborn in 1961. Here is the historic  “Summarization of the Afternoon Session” of the First Annual Reading Reform Conference, August 1, 1962. " Also visit the Reading Reform Foundation in the United Kingdom. 


Mr. James E. Williams has produced two outstanding phonics programs: one for K-2nd Grade, and another for 3rd-Adult. His use of nonsense word and sentences for older readers is especially to be commended. You can visit his web site at: WeALLCanRead

Holly-Kins Bears Phonics. Holly won the NRRF Teacher of the Year in 1997. She is a long time phonics advocate. 

Progressive Phonics

Ernest H. Christman has produced a very distinctive method for teaching reading with phonics-first in "five levels of phonics difficulty." One unique feature of his program is that he teaches the long and short vowels together in "Level One." Each level is accompanied by enjoyable decodable stories. The book can be used as an invaluable sequel to other phonics programs or as a stand alone program. I uses it as a follow-up to Alpha-Phonics to teach advanced phonics. It is the most complete review of advanced phonics rules that I have seen. Order your copy from Amazon: Rx For Reading: Teaching Them to Read with PhonicsOr directly from the the publishers (large print readers available): Tutorial Press

Spalding Progarms (Writing Road to Reading)

Myrna McCulloch of the Riggs Institute has an unusually rich mine of invaluable information available concerning beginning reading. Her articles are all worthy of careful study: Riggs Institute. Here is a paper delivered by Sylvia Franham-Diggory at the 1987 Reading Reform Foundation Conference: From Theory to Practice in Reading. Michael Brunner was a great advocate trainer for the Spalding Method. Oma Riggs taught Spalding in Spanish Harlem school: "There Are No Bottom of the Barrel Kids. Wanda Saneri, a Spalding teacher, delivered the following excellent address: Literacy Today: What's Wrong and How We Can Fix It (2001). Denise Eide takes the mystery out of English Spelling with Uncovering the Logic of English: A Common-Sense Solution too America's Literacy Crisis. I chose to list Mrs. Eide's program because of her use of Spalding's Phonograms. The On Track Reading Program follows the Spalding Method. Here is my "Spalding Graduated Schedule of Reinforcement." Here is an Interview with Dr. Mary North by my friend, Linda Schrock Taylor. Here is a great introduction to Spalding letter formation and phonogram sounds: Phonogram Page. Here is a good overview of the Spelling Rules and Phonograms. Romalda Spalding recommended the McCall-Harby Test Lessons in Primary Reading, and so I do. Click on the title for my student progress chart. Here are Ayres' Spelling Scale Flashcards for the 1957 WRTR. Here are my Ayres Spelling List Fluency Reading Drills. “How to Study Reading: An Information Processing Analysis" (1976) by Lee w. Gregg and Sylvia Farnham-Diggory. Here is the Second Revised Edition of the Writing Road to Reading. Margurite Field Hoerl was a great Spalding advocate: Turning Back the Tide of Illiteracy. Here is an Internet Archive WRTR. Here is the Fifth Edition of the WRTR. i taught the 4th edition, but feel that the 5th has many new features. Here is the 1962 edition of Ronalda Spalding’s Writing Road to Reading, it is more similar to the 1957 edition than later editions, especially with regard to using a midline when teaching manuscript handwriting. Here is an excellent demonstration of the Spalding Phonograms


Since its publication in 1943, the Phonovisual Method has proven itself to be a highly effective method of teaching reading with phonics. I have been using the Charts in my tutoring work since 2003 and have found them to be very useful when used in conjunction with Rudolf Flesch's 72 Phonics Exercises in his book Why Johnny Can't Read and what you can do about it (1955), or, more recently with Hazel Loring's Blend Phonics. My success promted me to investigate the historical background of the method and to analyze the linguistic organization of the Charts. Here are the results of my investigation: Phonovisual Reviews. Their website is: Here is Caroline Yale's (1892, 1946) Formation and Development of English Speech Sounds, containing the original Northampton Charts. Here is the 1914 edition of Yale’s Formation and Development of English Speech Sounds. Here is the 1908 edition, which included Bell’s Visual Speech signs for the vowels. Here is Alexander Graham Bell's 1906 The Mechanism of Speech. Here is an audio mp3 recording that I made for students to practice the sound on the charts: Student Phonovisual Audio Instruction: ConsonantsStudent Phonovisual Audio: Vowels. Here is my YouTube training on the use of the Phonovisual Charts. Here is a 1965 Evaluation of the Phonovisual Method. More on Caroline Yale. Dr. Frank B. Withrow has some information on the Association Method. Here is Yumiko Nakamura's 2005 Master's Thesis on The Phonovisual Method for Teaching Spelling and Sounds. Here is Schoolfield's 1944 Patent for an Educational Device. I am delighted to find that the 1960 Phonovisual Manual is now available through the Internet Archive Library. Here the Phonovisual Games. Phonovisual for Remedial Students. Here are my Phonovisual Fluency Drills for Remedial Students. Phonovisual Fluency Drills: Cursive Edition. Phonovisual Flashcards w/o Clues. Phonovisual Diagnostic Test. An Evaluation of the Phonovisual Method, Grades 1-3 (1965). Here is a training video on the Phonovisual Vowel Chart and the Phonovisual Consonant Chart. Here is Schoolfield’s Better Speech and Better Reading: A Practice Book (1937, 1951). This is a large file that will need to be downloaded to read. Here is a short Demo of the Phonovisual Chart Method. Here are my Phonovisual Cards without picture clues. A view of the Phonovisual Charts. Here is the Phonovisual Road to Power and Confidence, pupil’s practice book: Vowels

Donald Potter’s Notes on The Gillingham Manual: Remedial Training of Children with Specific Disability in Reading, Spelling, and Penmanship. There are a few notes i took for my personal use. Perhaps others will end them useful. I believe every reading teaching should own a copy of The Gillingham Manual. It is a rich treasure trove of information. Here is a link to the 1960 Gillingham Manual. Gillingham recommended First Lessons in Speech Improvement by Birmingham and Krapp (1922). Here is a rich source of information on Orton-Gillingham: Orton Gillingham: Teacher Manual (2019). 

Right Track Reading Lessons

I recently received a review copy of Mrs. Miscese R. Gagen's Right Track to Reading Lessons (2004). The program would be very easy to teach. It is quite complete, even teaching lots of prefixes and suffixes to help students decode multi-syllabic words. 

I heartily recommend the following two COMPUTER PROGRAMS 

for helping student learn to read.

1 The first program is one I have found extremely valuable for all children. I have used it with students in all the elementary grades, bilingual, and English-only speaking. It is called Read Write and Type. It teaches phonemic awareness, touch typing, vocabulary, reading, and spelling all in one super fun program. It has special Spanish toggle that gives assistance in Spanish.  The website is: Read Write and Type   To make Read, Write, and Type work on Windows XP, you will need to download a special Patch: Patch for RWT I also use their newest program Wordy Qwerty for advanced spelling and reading. Here are Student Progress Charts I have made for both RWT & Wordy Qwerty. Here is a Class Record Chart for RWT. Be sure an check out Jeannine Herron's Blog. Here is a YouTube Training by Mrs. Herron.  Here is a study on The Effectiveness of RWT on Phonological Awareness in First Graders. Here is a good Review of RWT. Here is a Reading Rockets article by Jeannine Herron, et al., Print-to-Speech and Speech-to-Print: Mapping Early literacy

2. The second program is Ultimate Phonics Reading Program by Spencer Learning. Their "Resource" is particularly rich in free materials. This program uses the mouse and does not require any typing. I understand that it is being revised. 

Typing - Keyboarding Skills

When I was in high school, my mother made me take a typing class. I figured I would never use it. Later I worked my way through college as a billing clerk for a trucking company. I freely acknowledge that my mother was wiser than I. I have my typing skills to type hundreds of papers and several books. I would like to recommend Diana H. King's Keyboarding Skills.  I do not recommend having students typing until they are old enough to learn to touch type. Handwriting, especially cursive, is much better for brain development. King teaches the letters in ABC order and with letter names: a powerful combination. Here is a little program, based on King's method, that I use with my kids: Diane King's Method for Touch Typing. Be sure and check out Dance Mat Typing. is another great site for learning touch typing - and it is free!

Advanced Decoding Skills: Dr. M. K. Henry's WORDS program

One program that sees heavy use in my teaching is the incomparable WORDS program by Dr. M. K. Henry. I say incomparable because this one program teaches, phonics, vocabulary building, reading, and spelling by instructing the students in the three levels of English orthography (spelling): Anglo-Saxon, Romance, and Greek. The author recommend the program for third grade and up, but I have have used it effectively with second-graders. Order your copy at: WORDSShe published a very valuable article concerning the organization and effectiveness of her program in a book published by the Orton Dyslexia Society entitled All Language and the Creation of Literacy (1991). I am pleased to announce that I have received permission from the International Dyslexia Association ( to publish the article on my website. You can read it by clicking on the title: Organizing Decoding Instruction. Her newest book Unlocking Literacy: Effective Decoding & Spelling Instructiois a gold mine of information. Here are some handouts  Following the ideas in Organizing Decoding Instruction, I wrote Beyond Blend Phonics. This little book teaches the Anglo-Saxon, Romance (Latin & French) and Greek Levels of English in a unique, easy-to-teach manner. A Interview with Marcia K. Henry, Ph.D.

Where to Start

A good  place to begin research in reading is with Diane McGuninness' blockbuster book, Why Our Children Can't Read  and What You can Do About It.  She observes, "Failure could come a early as first grade or as late as third, when the real-word guesser with the fabulous visual memory and terrific vocabulary finally breaks down. A child's poor reading strategy will not self-correct without appropriate remediation. ... Most of the time, a child's decoding strategy is invisible to the teacher and parent. In order to discover a child's reading strategy you need do listen to him read individual words and record each misread word phonetically."  (26) Order this breakthrough publication at: Why Our Children Can't Read: McGuinness. Her son Goffrey and daughter-in-law Carmen created, Reading Reflex: The Foolproof Phono-Graphix™ Method for Teaching Your Child to Read. Samuel Blumenfeld wrote a review of McGuinness' book: Review of McGuinness. MCGuinness advised against teacher letter names, but I am not convinced. 

The Lowdown on Sight Words 

Here is some good, hard-to-come-by information on sight words by Linda Farrell. A New Model for Teaching High Frequency Words

Cognitive Process in Education

Sylvia Farnham-Diggory (1927-2005) was a modern master of the science of cognitive psychology, wrote two very valuable books detailing the implications of recent developments in cognitive psychology for education. The first book, Schooling, is a popularization of the implications of recent advances in the scientific understanding of the human mind as an information processor. Her larger work, Cognitive Process in Education, details the history and implication of cognitive psychology for education.  Schooling is in print and can be ordered at:  Schooling. Her larger college textbook, which is out of print, can be ordered used at:  Cognitive Process in Education. Here is her paper, "From Theory to Practice in Reading," delivered at the 1987 Reading Reform Foundation Conference. Here is a paper she wrote in in 1976: How to Study Reading: An Information Processing Analysis. The unfortunate demise of the ERIC platform has robbed us of many important research documents, such as the last one. You can read the same article in a preview segment of Theory and Practice of Early Reading, Vol. 3, edited by Lauren B. Rensick and Phyllis A. Weaver, "How to Study Reading.”  

Reading Performance and How to Achieve it (1973) by Edited by Barbara Bateman. This is a very important book. Notice especially the article by Ann Hughes, former Director for Statistics for the Reading Reform Foundation. 

A  Scientific Approach to Reading Instruction

Making Sight Words: Teaching Word Recognition from Phoneme Awareness to Fluency; how to help children read words effortlessly without memorizing (2012) by Bruce A. Murry. Very valuable and up-to-date. I highly recommend.  2nd Edition (2020). Examining Irregular Word Learning: Do Young Readers Use Decoding and Context to Read Irregular Words? (2013) by Lorie Michelle Johnson, a student of Dr. Murray. 

The Science of Reading (3/23/22) A first-class introduction to the science of reading

Chapter 7 from Brain Words by Dr. Richard Gentry. Chocked full of important information, by a respected friend. Here is an Interview with Dr. Gene Ouellette, the co-author of Brain Words

Very up-to-date materials by Dr. D. Kilpatrick and others, featuring orthographic mapping and advanced phonemic awareness. Why Phonemic Proficiency is Necessary for All Readers

David L. Share, Nov. 2021: Common Misconceptions about the Phonological Deficit Hypothesis. A recent paper explaining that the PDH is receives less research now because it is so well established and not because of any doubts. Rather technical. 

Dr. Heidi Beverine-Curry’s Sept. 2019: The Three-Cueing Systems and Related Myths is the best thing I have seen on the subject. 

Teaching About Phonics (1976) Albert J. Mazurkiewicz. A valuable book. 

Dr. Maryanne Wolf’s exciting lecture at the Literacy Summit 2018

Louisa Moats: Keynote Address at the 2018 Reading League Conference. 

Reading League Event July 2019 Letter Sound Articulation by Sara Naftel. This is eminently practically, a veritable course in articulatory phonetics. 

Reading and the Brain presented by The Smart Learning Lab (2015). This is a video training session by Dr. Christopher Kaufman. 

Barbara Foorman, Jack Fletcher, and David Francis: Center for Academic and Reading Skills (CARS) 1997: Scientific Approach to Reading

Charles A. Perfettione of the premier reading researchers, has published significant portions of his research at the following address: Perfetti

Ronald P. Carver: Causes of High and Low Reading Achievement. Here are some quotes I collected from Carver's book with some personal observation: Carver Quotes. Silent Reading Rates in Grade Equivalents (1989) by Ronald P. Carver. Merging the Simple View of Reading with Rauding Theory (1993) by Ronald P. Carver. Here is an interview with Carver in 1992. Here is a 19987 article: Reading for One Second, One Minute, or One Year: From the Perspective of Rauding Theory. Reading Comprehension and Rauding Theory (1981) a good overview. 

Annotated Spelling-to-Sound Correspondence Rules” (1971) Southwest Regional Laboratory Research & Development. 166 Correspondence Rules. Not an easy read, but contains vital information. Here is a link to the I See Sam program based on this research: I See Sam. The 9,000 word vocabulary in I See Sam came from A Basic Vocabulary of Elementary School Children (1945) by Henry D. Rinsland. Here is An Instructional Sequence for Spelling-to-Sound Correspondences for the One-and Two-Syllable Words in Vocabularies of 6-9 Year-Olds, Southwest Regional Laboratory (1969). 

The Question of Phonology and Reading" by G. C. Van Orden and H. Kloos. “Do null phonemic masking effects reflect strategic control of phonology?” (2003) by Iris Berent and Guy C. Van Orden. 

A brief article by Maryanne Wolf, "New Research on an Old Problem: A Brief History of Fluency.” Here is "Chapter Three: A Child’s Tale" from Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century The Literary Agenda" by Maryanne Wolf and Stephanie Gottwald. This chapter will make you want to read the whole book: Tales from Literacy

Advanced student of science of teaching reading will want to read closely Denis G. Pelli and Katharine A. Tillman's research article, Parts, Wholes, and Context in Reading: A Triple Dissociation

National Reading Panel Report on Phonics. Raises almost as many questions as it answers. The report is based on several programs that are no longer available or have not been updated to new state standards. Here is the full National Reading Panel Report (2009). 

"On The Functional Architecture of Language and Reading: Trade-Offs Between Biological Preparation and Cultural Engineering" by Thomas Carr. Something of a summary of modern evidence.

"Connectionist Model of Word Reading" by Mark S. Seidenberg. The following quote is a classic: "Some of these children may be ‘‘instructional dyslexics’’ who were taught using methods that did not incorporate phonics, which slows reading acquisition, as occurs in our models under similar training conditions.” Putting Reading First: The Research Building Blocks of Reading Instruction. His new book Reading at the Speed of Sight contains the most recent research on reading. You can read more of his essays at the Language & Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. Here is a podcast between Seidenberg and John H. McWhorter: Why We Stopped Teaching Children How to Read. Watch Becoming a Reader (April 10, 2019) by Mark Seidenberg. 

Connectionists perspectives on language learning, representation and processing" (2015) by Marc F. Joanisse and James L. McCelland. A good up-to-date summary. 

Modeling Reading: The Dual-Route Approach" (2005) by Max Coltheart. Not for the faint of heart! Also see, Routes to Reading Success and Failure (2001) by Nancy Ewald Jackson and Max Coltheart. 

 Here is L. A. Sherman's classic Analytics of Literature (1893).  

Links for Precision TeachingBinder on CeilingsRemoving CeilingsEverybody Needs Fluency, Binder, Behavioral Fluency.  Very important article by Ken Johnson on the Morning Side Model of Generative Instruction. Fluency: Achieving True Mastery in the Learning Progress by Carl Binder, Elizabeth Haughton, and Barbara Bateman. This paper was prompted by Barbara Bateman, renowned special educator and lawyer, who requested a collaborative effort with the first two authors to make what is known about fluency available in plain English to a broader range of special educators and parents. Covers basic rationale and methodology for building fluency in basic skills.

"Learning to Read Words: Theory, Findings, and Issues" by Linnea Carlson Ehri. John R. Beech wrote a good critique: "Ehri's model of phase of learning to read: a brief critique." Developmental Variation in Word Recognition by Ehri. While considering Ehri's work, I recommend reading, "Are Young Children Logographic Readers and Spellers? by Margo Bowman and Rebecca Treiman. They argue for the negative position. 

Rethinking Special Education for a New Century (2001) Ed. Chester E. Finn, Jr.; Andrew. J. Rloterham; Charles Hokanson., Jr. Note especially the chapter by Reid Lyon and Jack Fletcher, and Sally Shawitz, Joseph Torgensen, et. al. 

The Child’s Learning of English Morphology by Jean Berko (1958). This presents the famous “Wug Test” that showed how well young children know English morphology. It was a feather in the phonics hat. 

The Roots of phonics: A historical Introduction (1982, 1992) Miriam Balmuth, Ph.D. 

Whole-Language: Catalogue of the Grotesque and Rhetoric and Revolution by Martin Kozloff. These two papers are hard-hitting critiques of the Whole-Language Psycholinguistic Guessing Game. I was trained in Whole-Language for most of my 21 years in public education. It is mind boggling to realize that such malpractice was practiced on a large scale for a long time - and still is!.

The Psychology and Pedagogy of Reading Processes” (2013) by P. D. Pearson and G. N. Cervetti. 

Hierarchical Subskills in the Reading Acquisition Process (1975) S. Jay Samuels. 

Steps Toward Literacy: A Linguistic Approach: Isabelle Y. Liberman, Donald Shankweiler, Linda Camp, Benita Blanchma, and Michele Werfelman. Chapter 10 in Auditory Processing and Langauge. "Speech, the Alphabet, and Teaching to Read" by I. Y. Liberman and D. Shankweiler. "Letter Confusions and Reversals of Sequence in the Beginning Reader  Implications for Orton's Theory of Developmentala Dyslexia.”

Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondences as Cues to Spelling Improvement by Paul Hanna, Rudorf & Hodges (1966). A very important and justly famous study into the value of phonics generalizations. Margaret Bishops’ valuable The ABC’s and All Their Tricks: The Complete Reference Book of Phonics and Spelling (1986) was based on this computerized study. Searching Linguistics for Clues for Teaching Spelling (1965) Richard E. Hodges & E. Hugh Rudorf. Phonics: A Large Phoneme-Grapheme Frequency Count Revised by Edward Fry.

English Orthography: Its Graphical Structure and Its Relationship to Sound" (1967) Richard L. Venezky. 

Here is a recent Thesis: Naming Speed, Letter-Sound Automaticity, and Acquiring Blend Skills among Students with Moderate Intellectual Disabilities by Dawn H Davis (2010). This thesis reminds me a lot of Precision Teaching in visualizing a generative relationship between automaticity in lower skills such as naming speed and letter-sound automaticity as necessary preparation for acquring higher skills such as sound blending. My experience convinces me that this is correct for all students, and not just students with "moderate intellectual disabilities." 

Theodore Clymer's famous 1963 study, "The utility of phonics generalizations in primary grades.” Here is Francine P. Johnson’s The utility of phonic generalizations: Let’s take another look at Clymer’s conclusions (2001), take a more nuanced and positive view of the utility generalizations in reading instruction.

A Remedial Program for Poor Decoders in an Inner-City High School (1976). I am fortunate to have found this study. Students listened to polysyllables divided into syllables in a manner reminiscent of Webster's spelling books. 

Reading in the Brain Slides by Stanislas Dehaene. Here is a superb lecture by Dr. Stanislas, Reading On the Brain. Reading In the Brain Revised and Extended: Response to Comments (2014). Short video by Dehaene on How the Brain Reads and how wrong instruction can mess it up! The Reading Brain: How We Learn to read by Hill Learning Center, an annimation based on Dehaene’s work. 

"Commentary: Letter-Name Values in Reading (1980) by Donald D. Durrell. A very important short paper on the value of Letter Names in learning to read. 

"Why Not Phonics and Whole Language" (1991) by Marilyn Jager Adams. I first read this article in 1998. It proved to be the antidote I needed to protect me from the deadly whole-language virus. It is a complete and devastating critique of Frank Smith's theory reading. Here is a Executive Summary of Dr. Adams' 1990 Beginning to Read. Here is Donald Shankweiler’s review, “Starting on the Right Foot: A Review of M. J. Adams’ Beginning to Read.” Dr. Adams’ Beginning Reading: Thinking and Learning about Print (1994) is still work reading.

Whole Language vs. Code Emphasis: Underlying Assumptions and Their Implications for Reading Instruction (1991) by I. Y. Liberman and A. M. Liberman. A fundamental study worthy of careful study. 

"The Efficacy of Orthographic Rime, Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondences, and Implicit Phonics Approaches to Teaching Decoding Skills" (2005) By Carol A. Christensen and Judith A. Bowey. A study indication that part-to-whole phonics is significantly superior to whole-to-part. 

"Is English Spelling Chaotic? Misconceptions Concerning It's Irregularity" (2003) Brett Kessler & Rebecca Treiman. 

Catch Them Before They Fall: Identification and Assessment To Prevent Reading Failure in Young Children" (1998) by Joseph K. Torgesen. 

Steps Toward Literacy: A Linguistic Approach (1970) Isabel Y. Liberman, Donald Shankweiler, et. al. A valuable Haskel Lab Reprint. 

Audio Processing and Language (1968) Phiilp J. Levinson & Christine Sloan of the Haskel Lab. A very important paper. 

A View on Dyslexia (1997 MIT AI Lab) by Gad Geiger and Jerome Y. Lettvin.  Developmental Dyslexia: Different Perceptual Strategy and How to Learn a New Strategy for Reading (2000) by Gadi Geiger. Toward the Prevention of Dyslexia (2005) Gadi Geiger & Domenic G Amara. Task-determined strategies of visual process (1991) Geiger, et. al. 

Yopp-Singer Test for Phonemic Awareness. An essential test for struggling readers to see if they have phonemic awareness. 

Rebecca Treiman, et. al., Statistical Learning, Letter Reversals, and Reading. (2014). A very interesting study concerning left and right lowercase letters (uppercase do not seem to suffer reversals). I should like to know how a study of cursive would compare. 

The Question of Phonology and Reading by Guy C. Van Orden (nd). Van Orden did breakthrough experiments demonstrating that skilled readers used the “phonological pathway” even when reading silently Here is another copy of The Question of Phonology and Reading. Do null phonemic masking effects reflect strategic control of phonological? (2003) by Iris Berent and Guy C. Van Orden. 

Learning Disabilities: Historical Perspectives by Daniel P. Hallahan & Cecil D. Mercer 

Basic Processes and Instructional Practices in Teaching Reading (1978) P. David Pearson and Michael L. Kamil. A good overview of the bottom-up and top-down views of word identification. He merely describes the views, but does not take a position. I think that later research has definitely sided with the bottom-up view, especially for beginning reading instructions.

Rethinking the Role of Decodable Texts in Early Literacy Instruction by Rick Chan Frey. This is an important study of the results of teaching currently available decodable texts. Even thought I am a phonics advocate, I am not a fan of most decodable text because I believe the overuse of pictures and inclusion of sight-words encourage guessing and promotes dyslexia. Frey’s study focuses on the Open Court (Imagine It!) decodables, which the author considers representative. To the contrary, I consider them among the worst decodable text possible. I particularly question the Pre-Decodable kindergarten readers. For your consideration, let me suggest my decodable text, Blend Phonics Lessons and Stories, which contain no pictures or sight-words taught as wholes apart from phonics. 

The Comprehension Revolution: A Twenty-Year History of the of Progress and Practice Related to Reading Comprehension (1987) P. David Pearson. 

Developmental Alexia: Congenital Word-Blindness, or Inability to Learn to Read (1918) Clara Schmitt. Early use of the word dyslexia. 

Research 1960-1970 on Methods and Materials in Reading (1978) by Paul B. Diedrich. A pretty good summary generally favorable to phonics, but seemingly unaware of the strengths of phonics programs like Beacon and Pollard from the early 1900’s. 

Systematic Phonics Instruction: Findings of the National Reading Panel (2003) Linnea C. Ehri. 

Reading: A Controversial View - Research and Rationale by Barbara Bateman (1967). This is a very valuable paper. 

Decoding, Reading, and Reading Disability” by Philip B. Gough & William E. Turner. The original formulation of the Simple View of Reading.  

The Simple View of Reading: Advancements and False Impressions (2018) by Hugh W. Catts, PhD. Argues that comprehension is multidimensional. The claim that decoding has improved since NCLB does not seem applicable to my school district, I regret to say. 

The First Grade Studies In Retrospect" (2002) by Phyllis J. Schnoz, B.A., M.A. This is a very valuable dissertation that gives a historical perspective, but comes to no definite conclusion as to which reading method is best. Interestingly, my personal experience teaching Rudolf Flesch’s 72 Exercises led me to the conclusion that his method works - and could have singlehanded beat all the methods in the study.

Reading and the Reading Wars by James S. Kim. This excellent article brought back a lot of memories of the Whole Language workshops I set through during my 21 year tenure as a public school teacher. 

Teaching Word Recognition Skills (1971) complied by Mildred A. Dawson. State of the Art articles on teaching word identification skills in 1971. Contains many valuable articles. 

Advancing Our Students’ Language and Literacy: The Challenge of Complex Texts" (2009) by Marilyn Jager Adams. This is a serious inditement against the simplification of elementary reading material. 

The method of repeated readings" by S. Jay Samuels (1979, reprint 1997)

"Automatic Decoding, it’s role in comprehension" a talk by Dr. S. jay Samuels at the 1979 Reading Reform Foundation 17th Annual Conference in Boise, Idaho. 

Ending the Reading Wars:Reading Acquisition From Novice to Expert" (2018). The authors claim this is a “comprehensive tutorial review of the science of learning to read, spanning from children’s earliest alphabetic skills through to fluent word recognition and skilled text comprehensive characteristic of expert readers.” I was pleased to see a reference to my work on sight word instruction, even if they disagreed! 

Why the reading brain can’t cope with triple cueing.” (Jan. 3, 2019) This is a new year´s treat. 

Decoding, Reading, and Reading Disability" (1986) by Phillip B. Gough Y William E. Turner. Classic paper on the Simple View of Reading. A MUST READ. Here is a Feb. 7, 2019 blog article by Pamala Snowo and Stephen Parker: The Simple view of Reading: Still Conclusive After 33 Years

Linguistic Insights into the Reading Process" (1968) by Ronald Wardhaugh. This article caught my eye because of the mention of the views of Leonard Bloomfield, the father of American Structural Linguistics. I have taught his beginning reading book, Let’s Read. I agree with teaching the alphabet letter names first and the importance of directionality. Also ESP Let’t Read. Here is an article on linguistic and reading, “Linguistic Method of Teaching Reading: Is it a Kind of Neo-Phonics? (1969) by Mamie Sizemore & Grace Blossom. A little-known aspect of Leonard Bloomfield’s linguistics: The story of Let’s Read (1961) by Cynthia A Barnhart. Here is an in interesting Blog: Anyone Can Be A Reading Teacher with Let’s Read

Psychology in Teaching Reading (1961) by Henry P. Smith & Emerald v. Dechanat. A standard work in the 1960s.

The Psychology of Reading (1989) by Keith Rayner and Alexander Pollatsek. State of the art in 1989), well worth consulting. 

The Psychology of Reading: An Introduction, 2nd Ed., (1992) by Robert G. Crowder and Richard K. Wagner. Good presentation of basic issues. 

Here’s Why Schools Should Use Structured Literacy (2019) by Louise Spear-Swerling. A good explanation of the basics of SL (Structured Literacy) and reasons why unstructured literacy instruction is less effective.

Studies of Elementary-School Reading Through Standardized Tests (1917) William Scott Gray. This is the original Gray Oral Reading Test (GORT). For many years it was simply called, “Gray Standardized Oral Reading Paragraphs.” Gray Oral Reading Test (GORT 1). This is the original Gray Oral Reading Test (1917). The current version is the GORT 5. 

ATOS Readability Formula for Books and How it Compares to Other Formulas. A convenient introduction to Reading Formulas. This is the formula used by Reading Renaissance after they switched from the Flesch-Kincaid Formula. I don’t put much faith in any of them. 

The Alphabet Principle and Learning to Read (1989) by Isabelle Liberman, Donald Shankweiler, and Alvin Liberman. 

Phonetics” Draft chapter from Speech & Language Processing by Daniel Jurafsky & James H. Martin (2019) Very up-to-date and helpful. Includes IPA and introduces ARPAbet symbols.

Comparing Research on How the Brain Learns to Read and Sight Word Instruction. (2017) by Laura Berg. I am delighted that my work receives favorable mention in this recent Master’s Thesis.  

Reading in the Brain: The New Science  of How We Read. Stanislas Dehaene 

Children Discover Reading; An Introduction to Structural Reading. (1965) by Caatherine Stern & Toni Gould. A very important introduction to teaching reading. 

Teaching Synthetic Phonics (2007) by Rhonda S. Johnson and Joyce Watson. A lot of important information. 

Teaching Phonics and Other word Attack Skills (1988) Thomas G. Gunning. Gunning also wrote, “Building Words: A Resource Manual for Word Analysis and Spelling Strategies (2001)

Why Reading Should be Hot (2012) Timothy V. Rasinski. Here is a 2014 presentation by the author: “The Essentials of Developing Fluency.”

Ph-organs Phonics (1978) by Harry W. Forgan A delightful phonics program with an unusually informative introduction for teachers. Here is Dr. Fogan’s A Reading Skillbuilder: Lesson Plans, Ideas and Activities for Teaching Word Recognition Skills (1982) There are some super ideas here for board games, etc. 

Orthography and Word Recognition (1982) by Leslie Henderson. Heavy reading but very helpful understanding basic issues. Lots of background information. 

Reading - A Controversial View, Research and Rationale (1967)  by Barbera Bateman. A very interesting research article defending the view that “reading is a rote, automatic, conditioned, non meaningful process which precedes (thus is separate from) comprehension.” This would be very close to the way do my initial reading instruction and remediation, which I feel explains my uncommon success - although it still is a controversial view. 

Phonics in Proper Perspective, 10th Ed. (2006) by Arthur W. Hellman. Full of good information. I have used the 5th Edition since 2001. I highly recommend Principles and Practices of Teaching Reading (1994) by Hellman, Blair, and Reply. This is definitely the most informative and helpful book on there art of teaching reading in the classroom. 

Fhrogan’s Phonics (1978) by Harry W. Forgan. A very compete phonics program. Quite elaborate. 

Teaching Young Children to Read (1964) Proceedings of a Conference, Nov. 14-16, 1962 U.S. Dept. of HEW. Nina B. Smith’s “Trends in Beginning Reading since 1900" and Donald D. Durrell’s “Learning Factors in Beginning Reading" are notable contributions. For more information on Durrell, Durrell as Teacher from the Reading Hall of Fame. Mary Pecci study under Dr. Durrell, and sent me information from one of his textbooks on teaching the alphabet. Here is Durrell’s Word Power. Here is Helen Murphy’s Doctor of Education Degree Thesis (1943): An Evaluation of the Effect of Specific Training in Auditory and Visual Discrimination of Beginning Reading. This thesis caused quite an uproar in the profession. 

To Read or Not to Read

This 2007 report by the National Endowment for the Arts is a real eye opener concerning the state of reading in America and what it means for the future of our Country: To Read or Not to Read

Progress in Understanding Reading

by Keith Stanovich

For the brave soul who is willing to tackle a mountain of information to gain a clear and unobscured view of what we know about effective reading instruction, I recommend Keith Stanovich's Progress in Understanding Reading. He began his research with a bias in favor of the so called psycholinguistic, top-down approach of Ken Goodman and Frank Smith. His research led him to very different view. You can purchase the book, and even read a few very interesting pages at: Progress in Understanding Reading. Click here for a link to his valuable essay, What Reading Does for the Mind. Here is another essay by Stanovich that has has made a lasting impression on reading research: Matthew Effects in Reading. Here is his essay: Romance and Reality.  Quite a bit of Progress in Understanding Reading can be read from the Google limited preview. Ronald P. Carver wrote an extensive Review of Progress in Understanding from the viewpoint of his rauding theory. Here is A Longitudinal Study of Sentence Context Effects in Second-Grade Children: Tests of an Interactive-Compensatory Model (1981) by Stanovich, West, & Freeman. And here is West & Stanovich’s 1978 study, Automatic Contextual Facilitation in Readers of Three Ages, that forever sent the “Reading is a Guessing Game” of Goodman and Smith to the scrap heap of disproven theories. A Longitudinal Study of the Development of Automatic Recognition Skills in First Graders (1981) supporting the LaBerge & Samuels’ automaticity model of reading development. Be sure and read “Toward an Interactive-Compensatory Model of Individual Differences in the Development of Reading Fluency" (1980). You can now borrow Progress in Understanding Reading on Internet Archive. 

Dr. Marilyn J. Adams Introduction to Reading: psychology & history

Linguistic Method of Teaching Reading: Is it a Kind of Neo-Phonics? An interesting 1969 article.

Principles and Methods of Teaching Reading (1912) by Joseph S. Taylor. A detailed introduction to the principles and methods of teaching reading as practiced in 1912. Very thorough. 

Kathleen Stevens (1980) The Effect of Background Knowledge on the Reading Comprehension of Ninth Graders. A brief but interesting study showing the common sense view that background knowledge improves reading comprehension is demonstrated. By the way, the common sense view is not all that common! 

Barbara Rosenberg Loss (1991) Say the Word: A Guide to Improving Word Recognition Skills. An excellent book on Archive from New Reader’s Press. 

Initial validation of a measure of decoding difficulty as a uniquer predictor of miscues and passage reading fluency" (2020) By Neena M. She, Laurie E. Cutting, Stephanie Del Tufo, Stephen Bailey. A paper critical of current reading formulas for leveling readers and suggestions for measuring decodability. Here is an easy-to-read interview with Dr. Neena Saha, “Using Decodable Books to Improve Reading Instruction and Interventions. (Dec. 11, 2020)

Alternative Text Types to Improve Reading Fluency for Competent to Struggling Readers" (2016) An excellent paper that argues for more poetry to help develop fluency. 

Handbook of Reading Research (2002 - originally Published 1984) edited by P. David Pearson, Rebecca Barr, Michael L. Kamill, Peter Rosenthal. Covering the whole field. Venezky’s “The History of Reading Research” is particularly valuable. 

  Whole Language Lives On: The Illusion of Balanced Literacy

by Louisa Cooks Moats

I am well aware of the popularity of Balanced Literacy in American education circles today. It is a supposed healthy balance between Phonics and Whole Language, as if the two somehow could be made to work together. Rather than comment here concerning my opinion in the matter, I will let Louisa Moats' devastating critique of Balanced Literacy speak for me. You can read her in-depth article at: Whole Language Lives On.   Here is a recent paper by Dr. Moats that is well worth reading: Whole Language High Jinks: How to Tell When "Scientifically Based Reading Instruction" Isn't. Here is Sebastian Wren short article on "Reading and the Three Cueing Systems." Here is a 1890 Popular Science Magazine article "Unnatural Reading" that will demonstrate that the concept and practice of whole-language has been around before its modern day representatives were born, and got the same dismal results. Here is a very complete reading assessment by Christopher Wren: The Abecedarian Reading Assessment.  Talking about Whole Language, here is Ken Goodman's original 1967 article, "Reading A Psycholinguistic Guessing Game." The arguments in his famous paper are so ludicrious that they would be laughable if it were not for the fact that they consigned millions of American youth to the dark night of functional illiteracy.  For a comprehensive introduction to whole language, here is Constance Weaver’s Reconsidering a Balanced Approach to Literacy. Here is Constance Weavers, Practicing What We Know: Informed Reading Instruction, containing articles by the big names in whole language. I remember training with Andrea Butler. Reading the Past: Historical Antecedents to Contemporary Reading Methods and Materials (2008) Arlene Barry. Clarity about Fountas & Pinnell (Nov. 20, 2021) by Mark Seidenberg. Here are some resources favoring Whole Language: Phonics Exposed: Understanding and Resisting Systematic Direct Intense Phonics Instruction (2002) by Richard J. Meyer Under the Whole Language Umbrella (1994). Reading and Teaching (2007). Resisting Reading Mandates: How to Triumph with Truth (2002) by Elaine M. Garan. Reading the Naked Truth: Literacy, Legislation, and lies (2003) Gerald Coles. What is a Schwa Sound Anyway? A Holistic Guide to Phonetics, Phonics, and Spelling (1997) by Sandra Wilde - this book was dedicated to Yetta and Ken Goodman. Miscue Analysis Made Easy: Building on Student Strengths (2000) by Sandra Wilde - this book features the now debunked 3-Cueing System. You Kan Red This! Spelling and Punctuation for Whole Language Classrooms, K-6 (1992) by Sandra Wilde.  Testing and Standards: A Brief Encyclopedia (2002) by Sandra Wilde - this is actually a very informative book. In 1998 Constance Weaver, a leading Whole Language advocate, edited a book of essays explaining Whole Language and its classroom application: Practicing What We Know: Informed Reading Instruction

Improving Inservice Training

Improving Inservice Training: The Messages of Research by Bruce Joyce and Beverly Showers. I first read this research paper in 1998. It has helped me a lot in delivering effective teacher training workshops. 

Bilingual Education

I would have to say that bilingual education is one of my greatest loves. My fifteen years as elementary bilingual educator were among the most wonderful in my life. I was fortunate to have been trained by three of the best mind in the field: Dr. Robert Medrano, Dr. George Gonzalez, and Ms. Les Vela. They taught me the value of building a strong cognitive foundation in the native language, while quickly developing the student's oral and literary competencies in English. My Raleigh mountain bike is a familiar sight to all my former students who were used to seeing me ride up with a backpack full of Spanish and English books ready for them to read to me. Their parents always invited me in and offered me the their typical hospitality, which often included watermelon, burritos, tacos and a glass of water or ice tea. For those who would like to know more about how I taught Dr. George Gonzalez "Total Integrated Language Approach," here are my notes from the workshops I attended. Here is a short Demonstration of Dr. Gonzalez’ Eight Powerhouse Comprehension Skills. Gonzalez Defining Time

Cognitive Psychology Meets Word Recognition

Here is an article on "Word Recognition" by Kevin Larson a Font Expert at Microsoft. If your are into cognitive psychology, you will have some real fun reading it: The Science of Word Recognition. Kevin writes, "The goal of this paper is to review the history of why psychologists moved from a word shape model of word recognition to a letter recognition model, and to help others to come to the same conclusion." To me, the implications for teaching phonics-first are obvious. 

[For good measure here is a series of articles by Frank Smith defending whole-language. While I intensely disagree with his "guessing method," everyone deserves a hearing - so here it is.] Here is a book Kenneth S. Goodman edited, Miscue Analysis: Applications to Reading Instruction. This book will give you insight into of the illogic behind Whole Language, Guided Reading, and Balanced Literacy. 

Augustin G. Rudd: Bending the Twig

Anyone interested in the history of education and why there are so many illiterates coming out of our public schools should read Augustin G. Rudd's Bending the Twig: The Revolution in Education and Its Effect on our Children (The Heritage Foundation, Chicago, 1957." He sponsored scholarships for the Reading Reform Foundation. 

Hollis Scarborough’s Reading Rope: A Groundbreaking Infograpnic. This is from the International Dyslexia Association. Here is Nancy Young’s “Ladder of Reading."

Teaching Reading in the Content Areas (2009) by Daniel Willingham. This is a very good video explaining the importance of not wasting time teaching so called comprehension skills when knowledge is what kids need to be good readers. E. D. Hirsch Jr., wrote a great article on the same topic: Teaching Content Is Teaching Reading (Dec. 2010). Martin Cothran wrote a good article in January 2918: "The Critical Thinking Hoax." 

Who Benefits from Failing Urban School Districts? An Essay on Equity and Justice for Diverse Children in Urban Poverty"  (2003) by Martin Haberman. I first read this lengthy essay in 2006 in an email from William Carroll, one of the unsung heroes of the Reading Wars. 

How NOT to test reading: Running Records

How Johnny Can Read: Time Tested Method of Functional Phonics. (No date, but shortly after Flesch’s Johnny in 1955). 

The Road to Reading: A practical guide to teaching your child to read (1998) by T. H. MacDonald. A good phonics-first scheme. 

Coordinating Center for First-Grade Reading Instruction Programs: Project No.: X-001 (1967) by Guy L. Bond & Robert Dykstra. Massively expensive Federal funded research comparing approaches to reading. 

Three Tier Response to Intervention Model 

To understand education today, it is necessary to know current terminology. A "tier" is a level of reading ability. Students are classified into one of three tires. Tier 1 Core Instruction (no need for intervention), Tier 2 (need for group intervention), Tier 3 (Intensive intervention). My opinion is that if phonics-first were taught to all students in the core instruction, there would be little need for Tier 2 or Tier 3. RTI Chart.   Here is the 2017 edition of Perspectives on Language and Literacy by the International Dyslexia Association discussing RTI. 

Ultimate Guide to Reading Comprehension. This website contains lots of practice tests on comprehension. 

Test your Phonics Knowledge: Practice Quiz on Phonics.

If you made it to the bottom of this long page, you deserve a little humor. Here is a funny, but sadly true article on whole-language: Thank You Whole Language.

Susan Jones has some excellent material at here website: Resource Room. Susan is the Academic Development Specialist at Parkland College, Campaign, IL.

Psychology for Students of Education (1923) Arthur I. Gates. Sam Blumenfeld sent me a copy of his from his personal library before he passed away.  A lot of interesting material. He explains the look-say-method and why they quit doing handwriting drills. Here is a PDF of his Elementary Psychology (1926). 

Here are Flash Cards for about everything under the sun!

On Line Etymology Dictionary.

History and Development of the Sullivan Programmed Reading. 1971 study by Lorna J. Thompson. Rather detailed and somewhat entertaining. The program is available from Phoenix Learning

AVKO Training Videos with Don McCabe (Sequential Spelling)
1. You Can’t Teach What You Know If You Don’t Know That You Know It. 
2. AVKO Sequential Spelling 1 Program

Here is a recent essay by Scott A. McConnell Teaching Phonics VS Being Taught How Not to Read. (Jan. 8, 2019)

“Why a Structured Phonics Program is Effective" by David Liben, & David D. Paige.  A good explanation of the difference between Leveled Readers and Decodable Text. Decodable Text is much better for beginning readers, and Leveled Readers may actually cause reading difficulties because they encourage context guessing. Curiously David Liben was involved in messing up the “Foundation" part of Common Core written by Marilyn J. Adams and Louisa Moats, he admitted his mistake later - as this article confirms.

Reading Intervention Ideas. About every idea ever thought about reading intervention: some good, some not so good.

Why Schoolchildren Can’t Read (1997) by Bonnie Macmillan. Very good book. 

Reading, Writing and Speech Problems in Children (1937): Samuel T. Orton 

Habit Formation and the Science of Teaching (1909) by Stuart H. Rowe. An old but practical book. 

Self-Pronouncing Alphabet. This is a unique program for teaching sound-to-letter associations with an alphabet designed around animals and jingles. 

Tomorrows Illiterates: The State of Reading Instruction Today (1961) Edited by Charles Walcutt. A prophetic book of essays. 

The Power of Letters: Inducing Understanding of the Alphabet Principle in Pre-Literate Children (2001) by Elizabeth Virgina Poole. A PhD dissertation containing a lot of historical information. 

Teaching Reading: Selected Materials (1965) by Walter B. Barbe. This is one of the most important books on reading I have ever read. It is of great historical interest. The rebuttals to Rudolf Flesch and Charles Walcutt are insightful and important, whether one agrees or not. I tend to think that the real key to reading lies in The Phonovisual Chart approach which can turn any piece of literature into a decodable text. 

Understanding and Teaching Reading: An Interactive Model (1991) by  Emerald Dechant. A very insightful and practical book on teaching reading. His earlier book, Psychology in Teaching Reading (1961, 1977) is valuable. I have found his (1961) Improving the Teaching of Reading very valuable since I first read it in 1999 - 2nd edition was published in 1970, and a 3rd edition in (1982). Dechant also wrote, “Detection and Correction of Reading Difficulties" (1971). 

Techniques for Remedial Cases (1966). Edwin Smith. A survey of methods. 

Be Your Own Reading Specialist: A Guide for Teachers of Grades 1-3 (1997) by Carol Einstein. Contains a lot of practical information and ready to use assessment. 

Teaching Students to Become Independent Readers (1972) Margaret LePray. A very helpful book with ready to use assessments, etc. Features the San Diego Quick Assessments, including sections beyond the mere word lists. Every remedial teacher and tutor should read this book. LePray also wrote On the Spot reading Diagnosis File (1978).

Oregon Response to Instruction & Intervention 2022 Virtual reading Symposium. Very informative. 

Phonics and the Teaching of Reading (1962) Dolores Durkin. A historically interesting discussion of phonics. Takes a somewhat inductive (intrinsic phonics) approach. Seems to me the Idea was to turn children into young Field Linguistics analyzing memorized words to develop their own system. 

Why Our Children Can’t Read (1998) by Dianne McGuinness. 

A Novel Idea: The History of the Science of Reading Movement from the Iowa Reading Research Center. Excellent information. 

Dyslexia: Theory & Practice of Remedial Instruction (1995) Diana Brewster & Joanna Kellogg. Excellent introduction. 

Emily Hansford’s :A Story Told" in Spanish.  

Books Online

Miss Maggie's An Old Fashioned Education is loaded with great material for a great education for your child.

A rich source for old books is

Google Books has become a first-stop source for books. 

You hear great books read at LibriVox

Old Children's books can be found at The Baldwin Project

For over 90,000 books Online: 
 Digital Book Index

Making of America (MoA) is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the ante-bellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. The collection currently contains approximately 9,500 books and 50,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints. 

Phonics and Reading by Van Liew and Lugas (1897). This is something of an advanced reference book.

Phonetic and Structural Generalizations for Teaching Primary Grade Spelling, by Wm. A. Kottmeyer, Ph.D. This is a useful summary of Kottmeyer's Ph.D. thesis. He was a very influential special education reading teacher. He advocated what he called "single letter phonics" as opposed to "spelling-family phonics." His method is essentially the same as Rudolf Flesch, Phonics Exercises, Hazel Loring's Blend Phonics, the Hegge-Kirk-Kirk Remedial Reading Drills, and even Dolores Hiskes' Phonics Pathways.

 Leonard Bloomfield's Let's Read. You can read the Preface and Instructions and some of the lessons by clicking on the title. Here is Teaching Children to Read by Leonard Bloomfield. Here is June Brown’s Guide to Let’s Read.

Anyone with the fortitude to make it to the end of my long Education Page will find The Psychology of Mastering the Elements of Reading, by D. B. Elkonin a prize well worth waiting for.

Here is Ernest Vincent Wright's novel, Gadsby: A Story of 50,000 Words Without Using the Letter "E." 

Word Count: This is an engine that will do syllable counts and other readability statistics. 

Download: Can You Read Me Now? Learn how to use Readability Formulas 

Literacy Behind Prison Walls (1994) This is a government report on the high rate of illiteracy in prison populations. It is rather old, but i doubt that the situation has improved any. 

Paolo Lionni The Leipzig Connection. Anyone interested in the current state of education in America today will find this book most revealing. I have checked many of the references. This is easy since most of the books referred to are available on the Internet. If you like Lionni’s book, you will want to read Charlotte T. Iserbyt’s the deliberate dumbing down of America. Here is a podcast by Bruce Deitrick Price on One Book about Education Everyone Should Read

The Cruelest Hoax of All: Beginning Reading Instruction by Richard Benedict. An essay with judiciously chosen links to my website. There is a Followup

First Lesson in Speech Corrections (1922) by Birmingham and Krapp. Superb book, in spite of its age. 

The Virtual Linguistics Campus. Free courses in linguistics. 

On April 21, 2017, Mr. Anthony J. DeBlasi sent his principal’s 1951 report to the American Education Association, “Progressive Poison in Public Education.” Milo F. McDonald published it as a pamphlet. Mr. DeBlasi has kept it all these years. As Mr. DeBlasi comments, “It is a VERY REVEALING window on what happened to put the public schools skidding downhill toward a dumbed-down socialist society, an early 20th Century Marxist Goal.” He adds, “Oh, it was fun, but only the brighter students learn anything and succeed in any sense of the word academic.”  

Shakespeare Speaks Today. I read all Shakespeare’s plays for my 70th year (March 20, 2017-2018). This document contains some of my favorite passages and brief personal reflections. I will add to it from time to time as I can find the time. 

William Shakespeare: A Handbook (1934) Thomas Marc Parrott. Also see William Shakespeare (1911) by John Mansfield. Perhaps still the best and easiest to read introductions to Shakespear’s plays. Popular Shakespearian Quotations (1924) by Lloyd Smith. 

Impact of Ignoring Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System: What We Know and Need to Know. JFA Association/The Institute: Washington, D.C./Austin, Texas. (April 2004)

Introduction to Linguistic Theory: Phonics: The Sounds of Language

In Defense of Memorization (2004) by Michael Knox Beran. A rich essay defending memorization of great literature as a means of empowering kids. The antidote to Progressive education. 

Linguistics in Reading (1965) and old but informative work.

Historical Development of Phonetic Vowel Systems - The Last 400 years (2011) Hartmut R. Pfitzinger & Oliver Niebuhr. of great interest for specialists in linguistics. 

Mathematics in composition: a defense of Flesch’s readability formula. by Nahayncy Ann Vieth. (1988) I don’t put much stock in reading formulas, but this thesis gives a lot of background information. 

Shaping the Reading Field: The Impact of Early Reading Pioneers, Scientific Research, and Progressive Ideas (2007) by Susan E. Israel & E. Jennifer Monaghan. This book can be borrowed for 14 days.

Research Supporting Foundational Skills in Reading: An annotated bibliography curated by Student Achievement Partners. A handy summary of primary research. 

Tennessee Foundational Skills Curriculum Supplement (fs101). Some good material based on The Science of Reading. 

Reading for Life: A First Book for Adults and Their Tutors (1987) Virginia French Allen. One of the best books I have ever seen for teaching adults to read. 

Children Discover Reading: An Introduction to Structural Reading (1965) by Catherine Stern & Toni S. Gould. Interesting theoretical and practical insights. Against sight word memorization and recommends words families only in advanced stages of learning. 

To Teach a Dyslexic by Don McCabe. A most interesting book by a brilliant mind who was once a leader in the field. 

Phonics Patterns (1997) Edward Fry. 

Basic Reading Inventory: Pre-Primer Through Grade Twelve & Early Literacy Assessments (1997) by Jerry L. Johns. A very valuable work. Give both theory, history, and practical application. I have given the 1987 Riverside IRI continually since 1990 in my teaching and tutoring. 

Literacy in America: An Encyclopedia of History, Theory, and Practice (2002) Barbara J. Guzzetti, Editor. A wealth of information.  

Onset & Rime Chards: Teaching Resource. Both theoretical discussion and practical application. Russ on Reading: Onset-Rime Approach for Struggling Readers. Here is a website that is critical of Onset & Rime as a teaching tool: Reading Simplified

Teach Your Child to Read in Just Ten Minutes a Day (1999) by Sidney Ledson. An excellent phonics approach for the very young. 

Introduction to Practical Phonetics (1978) Ian MacKay. Phonetics: The Science of Speech Production. (1987)

Noah Text. A special text for helping beginning and dyslexic readers. 

Teaching All Children to Read (1976) Michael A. Wallach. 

Steps Up in Reading: Building Accuracy and Fluency (2001) by Phyllis Bertin  Eileen Perlman. 

Self-Paced Phonics (1999) by G. Thomas Baer. I highly recommend this excellent training course for teachers and parents. 

Approaches to Beginning Reading (1984) by Robert Auckerman. I have spent two decades studying this book. 

The Ring of McAllister: a score-raising mystery featuring 1,046 must-know SAT vocabulary words. I use this book with my older tutoring students. Her is a similar book: The Tales of Edgar Allan Poe: a Kaplan SAAT score-raising classic 

The Great American Reading Machine (1978) by David Jon Yarington. I read this book years ago. It will open your eyes to how school can spend so much money on such inferior reading programs. 

The American Legacy of Learning; readings in the history of education (1967) John Hardin Best, complier. 

If you are one of those rare person who make it this far on the page, here is a Tolkin Treasure as a well earned reward. 

Sullivan Programmed Reading by Phoenix Learning Resources. This is a programmed approach for kids and adults. 

Remedial Techniques in Basic School Subjects (1943) by Grace M. Fernald. Also, A Study in the Psychology of Spelling (1915). Teacher’s Manual of Spelling (1918), which makes use of Ayres Spelling Scale.  

Wee Folks Soaring High (1991) by Charlotte M. Hill. A very attractive phonics program. 

The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read (1994) by John Corcoran. I read this book many years ago. 

Angling for Words: Book 8 (1986) by Alice Koontz. A very attractive phonics approach. My late friend, Charlie Richardson, used this in his tutoring on Long Island. Angling fo Words: Teacher’s Line by Dorothy B. Montgomery. 

Novels for building SAT Vocabulary: The Ring of McAlester and The Tales of Edgar Allen Poe, The War of the Worlds.  

The Great Alphabet Race excellent old Learning Company program that does run on newer operating systems. 

Mathematics in composition: a defense of Flesch’s readability formulate (1988) by Nancy Ann Vieth. 

Paul Nation resources for language: including vocabulary size tests. 

Dick and Jane in Canada: A Critical Analysis of the Literacy Curriculum in British Columbia Elementary Schools, 1945-1960 (1986) by Allan Luke. This is a staggeringly important work that goes far beyond the mere controlled vocabulary but reaching deep into the story structure of unnatural language usage. 

This History of Psychology: A Cultural Perspective (2006) by C. H. O’Boyle. 

The Role of Word-, Sentence-, and Text-Level Variables in Predicting Guided Reading Levels of Kindergarten and First-Grade Text (April 21, 2022) by Elfrieda H. Hiebert and Laura S. Tortorelli. A student of Reading Recovery, Guided Reading, and National Geographic  They concluded, “The lack of significant difference in levels within grade bands for most measures suggests that the students could be placed in similar bands and receive a similar learning experience.” I think that argues against the validity of the system, upon which most teachers of leveled texts rely. 

Two Methods of Teaching Phonics: A  Longitudinal Study" (1965) by David E. Bear. A study of the Alice and Jerry basal reading program taught with analytical phonics and synthetic phonics. A very important study with implications for reading instruction today. From Teaching Reading: Selected Materials by Walter B. Barbe. Here is a convenient reproduction that I made of the article: Two Methods of Teaching Phonics. Interestingly, I use the 1957 edition of the Alice & Jerry readers first published in 1938. 

Making Sense of Reading: The new phonics and its practical implications (1994) but Nicolas Bielby. A good overview with some excellent charts, but takes some compromise positions. 

Why Schoolchildren Can’t Read (1997) by Bonnie Macmillan. A reliable and penetrating presentation that lives up to its title. 

The Psychology of Teaching Reading (1931) Edward Dolch. There was also a 1951 edition, which is considerably different. 

“Common Reading Problems And Tools To Diagnose Them” by Edward Fry in Reading o Lang70

Phonics and the Teaching of Reading (1962) by Dolores Durkins. Some good historical information, but promotes an analytical phonics instead of synthetic. Mary Johnson’s 2-Sentence test showed that many kids did not make the generalizations that were expected.] The clear presentation of basic phonics is very clear and helpful for anyone teaching phonics. I highly recommend that chapter. She also wrote several editions of Teaching Them to Read: Second Edition, 1974; Third Edition, 1978; Fourth Edition, 1983; Fifth Edition, 1989. Here is Durkins seminal study, Children Who Reading Early (1966), which study I find interesting because of several kindergarten student I tested who were reading before any formal instruction - the common thread seems to be knowledge of the alphabet by 3 years old. 

Teaching Phonics and Other Word Attack Skills (1988) by Thomas G. Gunning. Some good information, favors analytical approach. 

In Spite of the Alphabet: A  Study of the Teaching of Reading (1965) by Hunter Diack. The aim in this book is to give an account of the development of ideas about the teaching of reading in the belief that what has happened in the past will throw light upon what is happening now.” [Diack was coauthor with J. C. Daniels of The Royal Road Readers.) Diack also wrote Reading and the Psychology of Perception (1963). 

Teaching  the Learning Disabled Child (1970) by Norris G. Haring & Barbara Bateman. A masterwork for the era. Note highlighting of DISTAR and Ogden Lindsey’s Precision Teaching. 

Cognition in Action (1987). An excellent introduction to cognitive psychology and its application to reading, etc. 

The  Marshall Adult Education website has lots of free reading passages that are excellent for building teen and adult                 reading fluency.  

International Children’s Digital Library: A Library for the World’s Children. This is a wonderful resource for children. 

A Short Dictionary of Classical Words (1957 ) by Harry E. Wedeck.  Excellent book for building vocabulary. 

HMH Into Reading 2020 Texas Edition. HMH Into Reading is a modern balanced literacy approach, heavily tilted toward Whole Language and Guided Reading. Being a balanced literacy program it contains elements of Whole Language (Guided Reading with Leveled Readers and 3-Cueing Guessing techniques) and structured literacy (handwriting, spelling, and decoding). By emphasizing the structured literacy aspects and deemphasizing the Whole Language aspects the teachers will be able to improve the students ability with spelling, reading, writing, and composition. This link is for material I have developed to assist teachers tasked with using HMH Into Reading to teach reading. 

Learn with Book (1962) by Robert J. Heather. A humorous commentary on the relation between programmed instruction and more traditional teaching material. Of continuing relevant in the in the light of modern digital revolution in education. 

The Brain That Changes Itself: Stores of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science (2007) by Norman Doidge, M.D. This book gives insights that have informed my tutoring, such as Constraint-Induced Therapy for students addicted to word guessing. One needs to be cautious about claims regarding the effectiveness of  “Fast Forward” in the light of a March 2012 study entitled, “A systematic meta-analytic review of evidence for the effectiveness of the “Fast ForWord” language intervention progam.  

Scaredy Cat Reading System by Joyce Herzog. I reviewed this years ago and am happy to see that it is still available’

The Teacher Who Could Not Read (2009 edition) by John Corcoran. 

Blind Spots (2020) by Kimberly Nix Berens, Ph. D. Purchase from Amazon. A blend of Precision Teaching and Direct Instruction.

Statistical Learning  

Reading as Statistical Learning (2018) by Joanne Arciuli. I am very intrigued by statistical learning as a factor in learning to read. I suspect that my use of the Alice and Jerry reader to improve student fluency and comprehension is due to statistical learning encouraged by reading notes of comprehensible text (fewer words read more often in normal context). 

Statistical Learning and Spelling (2018) by Rebecca Treiman. This is a very import study. Mark Seidenburg has a section on this in hiLanguage at the Speed of Sight. I think a good direct teaching kicks in the process of statistical learning, making both mechanisms important. Teach strong phonics and provide ample opportunity to read. The old idea of 30 minutes phonics and 30 minutes separate reading instruction may have been an optimal paradigm. 

The Role of Statistical Learning in Word Reading and Spelling Development: More Questions than  Answers (2020) by Mmhm M.  Ellen, Laura. M. Steacy, and Donald L. Compton. 

Unraveling the Interconnections Between Statistical Learning and Dyslexia: A Review of Recent Empirical Studies (2021) by Sonia Singh and Christopher M. Conway. I would suggest that initial reading instruction can led young children to fail to look at all the letters and trend toward guessing and thereby discouraging statistical learning. It is as simple as that. 

A Beka Reading Resources for Christian Schools and Homeschool Parents

 Here is a good article on phonics from the A Beka Book website: "Why Not Teach Intensive Phonics" by James A. Chapman. Mr. Chapman's article was written in 1986. Scientific research since Mr. Chapmen wrote this article has made great advances, all of which agrees with the positions taken in his article. Here is the A Beka Philosophy of Education. All A Beka curriculum materials pass through a rigorous process of development to assure effectiveness. I am not aware of any curriculum, private or public, that has passed such stringent quality control. 

The A Beka Book Reading Handbook is the core Phonics Textbook of the kindergarten through second grade classes. The Reading Handbook is very inexpensive and worth its weight in gold. The first-grade reading books are tightly correlated with the 10 Sections in the Reading Handbook. In fact, the first-grade reading program is so complete that it can be used to teach teens and adults to read. Here is my detailed Analysis of the A Beka First-Grade Reading Program. It will be of great help to parents of first-graders in our school. Other Christian schools will find it very helpful in gaining a thorough understanding of the program. I have prepared audio instruction for all the lessons in the Handbook for Reading and the first two readers so the slower students will have ample opportunity for the review necessary to keep up with the class. Don Potter's A Beka Basic Sounds document and Basic Sounds mp3 recoding. A Beka Basic Sounds. For step-by-step audio instruction click on  Basic Sounds mp3. I have created flashcards for the first-grade spelling program: A Beka Spelling CardsA Beka Fluency Drills for the first-grade spelling words.Here is the Student Practice Chart for the Handbook for Reading

A Beka K4 Readers: A Study of the Vocabulary. This study confirms that the A Beka K4 Decodable Readers are based on intensive phonics (259 decodable words) with a bare minimum of sight words (3 sight word) and absolutely no guessing. 

A Beka Kindergarten (K5) Decodable Reader Study: Word Count Here is a special tool for kindergarten A Beka Teachers for helping build decoding fluency for each reader: A Beka Kindergarten Fluency. Here is my Student Progress Chart for the 13 Kindergarten Decodable Readers. 

Crisis in Education: Public Education a Disaster, but There’s New Hope for Parents (1990) by Donald R. Howard, PhD. 

Phonics for the Reading Teacher (1965) by Anna Dorothea Cordts. Cordts was very famous at one time. She advocated a look-say first, intrinsic phonics later approach. Contains some interesting information. 

A Comparative Survey of Two Approaches to Teaching Visual and Auditory Discrimination in the Field of Reading: The  Montessori Method and the Basal Reading Series Program" (July 1964) by Margaret K. Hahn. Contains a lot of good historical information “

Noah Webster’s Reading Handbook (2007) Christian Liberty Press. 

Quackery in the Public Schools (1950) Albert Land. A book showing nothing much change sin education. 

Senator Barry Goldwater on Education


When I started teaching at the Odessa Christian School in the 2006-2007 school year, I made a study of the history of the school and reviewed many of the founding documents. Here is one of those historic documents: Serving Today, Preparing for Tomorrow. I believe it was distributed in 1967 because it mentions the Open Court reading program which was first implemented at the school that year. The first year they used the Phonovisual Method, which I use with my tutoring kids. All of my four children attended OCS. I resigned from OCS on May 31, 2019 to dedicate myself to promoting literacy through handwriting, phonics, and spelling. 

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