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How did this happen?

September 4, 2020
Ray, age 5, learned to read successfully with the same approach his mother used 15 years before to correct her reading problem–READ RIGHT.

By Rhonda Stone, M.P.A.
Read Right Communications & Training

Do you have a child, friend, or relative who reads poorly? Do you know what they’ve been through to try to learn to read?

Both of my children struggled with reading, and I can say first-hand that it is a little like being on a sinking ship. At first, teachers tell you not to worry because, as they say, “They’ll catch on.” As the ship sinks ever deeper, you desperately start searching for a life-ring–or, something that will work to keep them afloat. Method after method used by you or your children’s school doesn’t work. Finally, the children start fourth or fifth grade lost, far behind their peers, hating to read, and/or dismissing school as unimportant.

THIS is the problem: Two of the most common solutions to reading problems in the U.S. are (1) intensive and systematic phonics and decoding instruction and (2) the assumption that faster phonetic individual word recognition skill will solve the problem. Millions of students in the U.S. perceive the simple act of “naming” words as reading. It is not reading–it is word calling. “Reading” is the neuro-biological act of reconstructing a meaning-filled message from a symbol system. In English, the symbol system involves an alphabet and related sound/symbol clues, spacing clues, and punctuation. However, in Chinese or Japanese, the symbol system uses “logograms,” or miniature pictures that represent words and concepts. Despite the difference, individuals from all of these cultures can become successful readers IF they understand that the purpose of reading is to reconstruct an author’s meaning-filled message.

THIS is the solution: Acknowledge that over-emphasis on phonics, decoding, and individual word recognition can be the cause of reading problems. My grandson, age 6, is living proof (see the video above). Read Right methodology operates on an “operations theory” of reading that is far more complex than identifying individual words on a page. Here’s one of my favorite examples, first introduced to me by Read Right developer Dr. Dee Tadlock 20 years ago. Can you read this?

bilabialplosives

It is an actual word–and it’s something you use virtually every day of your life. If you talk in your sleep, you may use it. Yet, most people haven’t a clue how to pronounce the word, let alone what it means. Here’s the thing: you don’t need to know what it is or what it means, unless you are a language professor.

Possible pronunciations (spellings reconfigured for phonetic possibilities):

  1. bill-lab-bee-al-plaw-sives
  2. bill-lay-byal-plosives
  3. bill-ub-ee-all-pluh-sives

None is correct. Teaching a student to sound out words as the main event of reading creates all kinds of problems for the brain. In a world of languages, English is one of the most difficult to learn. The fact that English is a combination of up to seven languages creates more than 350 rules you’d need to memorize to pronounce every word in our language correctly. For the record, English is rooted in Cymraeg (old Welsh), other Gaelic dialects (notice the weird vowel combinations), German, Greek, plus Latin and other Latin-based languages (Spanish, French, and Italian)!

For example: the phrase “hors d’ oeuvres” is a phrase in English, but it is not pronounced “horse-duh-ooov-ress” (my family likes to say “horsy-doo-vers). It is French and the phonetic translation must switch to French and simply be: “Or-derves.” The literal meaning is: “outside the meal.”

Now, if you come upon the Latin-based “bilabialplosives” in text, how will you explain the word to your teenage student if you don’t know what it means? Merely sounding out the word will not produce its meaning, and there’s a significant chance you won’t pronounce it correctly the very first time you encounter it.

Pronunciation can be aided by knowing the word’s meaning: With bilabialplosives, you do it every single day–many times a day–when you say the sounds made by the letters “b” and “p.” Thus, if you talk in your sleep, you may be using bilabialplosives if you say “Ball Park.” Where do the b and p sounds come from? The two lips. And, what is different about b and p compared to other letters? We must burst air from between our lips to create both sounds.

So: Two lips (bi = two and labia = lips) and pushing air (plosives, similar to explosives). Therefore the correct pronunciation is bi–lay–bee–all–plo–sives.

Can you imagine a struggling reader encountering that word and attempting to sound it out? Doesn’t it make much more sense to enjoy a vocabulary lesson together (perhaps looking it up on the internet first) and exploring the meaning of the word along with its pronunciation before proceeding with the text?

Read Right reading tutors NEVER ask students to sound out a single word. Once the brain knows the 18 stable letters of the alphabet (each makes only one sound), it can begin to use letter clues anywhere on a page to READ, which occurs more efficiently when the reader anticipates the author’s language and meaning. When the reader encounters a new word, a vocabulary lesson needs to occur–NOT a phonics lesson.

I’m proud to share the video above because it tells the story of my daughter overcoming her reading problem as a teen, and her commitment, as an adult, to ensure her own children do not struggle with reading. Her oldest started reading at age 5 before starting kindergarten. The key: no one ever asked him to sound out a single word! He’s now 6 and reading at a 2nd grade level.

How did this happen? READ RIGHT methodology, grounded in an operations theory of reading development. It works for both reading remediation and reading development.

Thank you, Dr. Dee!

Life-Changing Consequences

August 27, 2020

NOTE: A Read Right family success video appears at the end of this article.

by Dee Tadlock, Ph.D.
Developer, Read Right Methodology

Years ago, a visit by a Vietnamese family very special to me reminded me that the work my staff and I do eliminating reading problems has life-changing consequences that we often do not get to see.

When I was working in a community college, a young Vietnamese man, Nha, became my student.  His tenacity, talent, and courage were inspiring to me personally, and we became friends.  He’d tried for three years to cut through a bureaucratic tangle of immigration paperwork to bring his four sisters, mother, and  father from Vietnam to the United States.  I committed to help him. Thus, the two of us gathered information, strategized, and worked for three long years to make his dream happen.

Some time after Nha successfully brought his family to the U.S., he drove his four sisters, mother, and father from their home in Seattle to visit me in my home about two hours away.  They brought as a gift an array of exotic Vietnamese dishes–a veritable feast.  And, the feast came with music. One of Nha’s sisters mesmerized us with moving songs performed on a Vietnamese 16-string instrument as we enjoyed the meal.

The family treated me like a queen.  Nha believed I was directly responsible for his family’s journey to America.  I believe he would have succeeded without me, through his sheer determination to find another to make it happen.

Nah’s visit was one of the rare times when we, at Read Right Systems, enjoy the privilege of learning years later how things have changed for our clients. Recently, another family connected with our staff and shared with us what has happened to their children 9 years post-Read Right tutoring. Rather than describe their success, we’ve created a video for you. THIS is the power of Read Right methodology:

Years ago, a visit by a Vietnamese family very special to me reminded me that the work I and my staff do eliminating reading problems has life-changing consequences that we often do not get to see.

When I was working in a community college, a young Vietnamese man, Nha, became my student.  His tenacity, talent, and courage were inspiring to me personally, and we became friends.  He’d tried for three years to cut through a bureaucratic tangle in order to bring his four sisters, mother, and  father from Vietnam to the United States.  Committing to help him, the two of us gathered information, strategized, and worked for three long years to make his dream happen.

Some time after Nha and I worked together he drove his four sisters, his mother, and his father from their home in Seattle to visit me in my home about two hours away.  They brought as a gift an array of exotic Vietnamese dishes–a veritable feast.  And, the feast came with music. One of Nha’s sisters mesmerized us with moving songs performed on a Vietnamese 16-string instrument as we enjoyed the meal.

The family treated me like a queen.  Nha believed I am directly responsible for his family’s journey to America.  I believe he would have succeeded without me, through his sheer determination to find another way to get the job done.

Tutors of any kind rarely enjoy the privilege of learning years later how things have changed for their clients. At Read Right, we are beginning to connect with past clients to bring their stories to you. In the video below, a boy was referred to special education 10 years ago primarily because he struggled with reading. After just nine months of tutoring, he could read excellently and left our program. Watch the video and see where he is his now–you’ll love the ending of this success story.

THIS is the power of Read Right methodology:

The Reason I Work at Read Right

August 19, 2020

by Rhonda Stone
Read Right Communications & Training

I started my own Read Right journey 20 years ago when both of my children were struggling with reading. You may know how it is: You love your kids. The last thing you want is to see them suffer because their peers can read–but they can’t. They feel stupid. You hunt high and low for solutions, try things you’re told will work, and end up after the kids are in bed fighting back tears because nothing you’ve tried works.

Years ago, that was me. Then, I met Read Right founder Dr. Dee Tadlock. She explained the problem to me succinctly: Reading is far more complex than knowing the sounds each letter of the alphabet makes and using that knowledge to sound out words. It took a while, but she eventually convinced me that over-emphasis on phonics and word-by-word reading were two of the core reasons my children struggled with reading.

Well, she helped us fix that. Twenty years later, my family used her methods to help my 5-year-old grandson become a successful reader. Rather than tell you what happened, I’d love to introduce you to my grandson, Ray, now age 6…

Longitudinal Study: Third-Party Study Shows Gains are Permanent

August 13, 2020

Thinking back to favorite success stories shared with us by schools, the case of Union Gap School, Union Gap, WA, is among the most memorable. A K-8 school system, Union Gap wanted to be certain that its tutoring program was a sound financial investment. Independent from Read Right Systems, they devised a plan to conduct a longitudinal (long-term) study measuring student reading ability several years after Read Right tutoring.

The study documents that Read Right gains were permanent for the elementary and middle school students served! Additionally, once they completed the Read Right Reading Intervention Program, students never needed additional support or assistance for reading.

Results of the study were presented by Union Gap teacher and Read Right program site coordinator Faye Fulton at the international Rodin Remediation Conference in Washington D.C. Read The PDF . 

— Rhonda Stone, M.P.A., Communications & Training, Read Right

Read Right Methods WORK

July 29, 2020

For the past 3 years, it has been my pleasure to work for public middle schools in New York City (downtown Brooklyn) and the greater Tacoma, WA area. I have a master’s degree, but not a teaching certificate, so I’ve proudly worked as a para-educator conducting reading small group instruction (NYC) and/or tutoring (Tacoma area).

Sadly, from coast to coast, at least half of all the 11- to 15-year-old students where I worked needed help to improve their reading ability. In NYC, every student received small group instruction in both reading and writing. However, in the Tacoma area, only about 25 percent of our students received assistance. And even then, the focus for students was either figuring out for themselves what they were doing wrong with reading (the Read 180 online program) or intensive phonics and decoding knowledge (REWARDS workbooks).

Read Right methods WORK because they are different. Read Right tutors (and at some schools, staff members) are intensively trained to deliver small group instruction with Read Right methodology. It is not a canned or packaged program. The focus for every Read Right tutor is the use of real non-fiction and fiction stories and books while coaching students to authentic excellence. “Excellence” means the reader sounds as smooth and natural as they do in a conversation when reading out loud and they fully comprehend each and every time they read.

It’s the good stuff parents and schools are looking for, and I’m delighted to return to work for Read Right Systems after three years learning about the other ways schools are trying to improve literacy skills.

— Rhonda Stone, MPA, returning to Read Right, August 2020

Success With High-Poverty School: Recognition for a School Using Read Right Intervention

September 21, 2010

Irving ISD’s high – poverty John Haley Elementary School made headlines in the Dallas Morning News a few years back for its exceptional success achieving a 90 percent passing standard and an “exemplary” state rating. Among the many effective programs and strategies embraced by staff to raise student achievement, John Haley Elementary was using Read Right’s highly structured small-group tutoring program with “Tier III” students to transform them from extreme reading difficulties to competent, successful readers. Read The PDF