DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Jul 14 2009

Johnny Can’t Read

by Ev S


I am so worried that my five year old still can’t read.  I see all these other kids reading and wonder “What am I doing wrong?”  Being me, I started doing some research.  There is a ton of literature out there for the worried parent.

The book that really started this out was Why Johnny Can’t Read – And what you can do about it by Rudolf Flesch.  This book was published in 1955 and parents are still using it at home.  It’s based on the phonics method of reading.  The  public schools have swayed from the phonics method to whole language  learning and back again since my husband and I were children (early to mid 1970s).  Until I started researching about reading I had no idea that there were basically two ways to teach reading.

Straight Talk about Reading: how parents can make a difference during the early years by Susan Hall and Louisa C. Moats pretty much details how the two different methods work and why phonics is a more successful method.  Actually, I did not find much that supported the whole language method.

Starting Out Right: A guide to promoting children’s reading success by the National Research Council specifically spells out activities to do with my five year old.  The book starts out with what is needed to be considered literate; and it’s not just about reading.  The National Research Council details activities and practices for every age group from preschool to grade three.  This is basically a how-to manual.

The best thing I learned about reading is that it happens at the child’s pace and not because the worried, conscientious, proactive parent is doing anything “wrong”.  I can finally sleep at night.

Here is a list of other titles in the library system:

Prescription for Reading–teach them phonics by Ernest H Christman

The Writing Road to Reading: the Spalding method for teaching speech, spelling, writing, and reading by Romalda Bishop Spalding

Parents Who Love Reading, Kids Who Don’t : how it happens and what you can do about it by Mary Leonhardt

Building Blocks : building a parent-child literacy program at your library by Sharon Snow

Yes, if you’re wondering if DCPL has a building blocks program.  Just check out our calendar of events, look for the red.

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