Blog

Help Your Child Read Right from the Start

March 29, 2021

by Dee Tadlock, Ph.D.
Founder & Director of Development
Read Right Systems

One out of three children have significant reading problems. These children cannot easily and comfortably get information through reading, they certainly don’t find pleasure in it, and they struggle in school. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, if the reading problem persists until the age of 9, there is a 75 percent chance that it will persist forever.

This alarming situation is not confined to children who are limited in life experiences, come from dysfunctional families, or who come from parents who struggle with reading themselves. Chances are, if you talk to parents in your neighborhood, you will find several families whose children cannot read very well, even though loving parents have spent years reading to them, and nurturing their love of books.

Today, most early reading instruction focuses on systematic, explicit instruction in decoding–or, using sound-symbol information to sound out words. That’s because reading experts view individual word identification–including decoding, word attack, and sight-word recognition–as the all-important foundation of reading ability.

The idea seems like common sense. From history, however, we know that lots of seemingly common sense ideas turn out to be untrue: it would “seem” that the Earth is flat; it would “seem” as if the sun revolves around the Earth. Galileo was arrested and excommunicated from his church for suggesting otherwise! The following paragraph challenges the idea that we have to decode words in order to read:

“Aoccdrnig to rscheearch, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr teh ltteers in a wrod aer prseetend. Teh olny iprmoatnt tihng si taht frist adn lsat ltteres aer ta teh rghit pclae. Teh rset cna be a toatl mses adn yuo cna sitll raed ti wouthit a porbelm.”
— Modified from the website: languagehat.com

To learn to read excellently (proficient and above), developing readers must learn sound-symbol associations for the 15 stable letters of the alphabet (b, d, f, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, and w) and must then figure out how to plan, integrate, and coordinate information and systems from all over the brain to make it possible to anticipate the author’s intended meaning. This may sound intimidating, but, quite wonderfully, children are equipped to figure out how to do it. Evidence that this true: Thousands of children across America (approximately 1 percent of children ages 4, 5, and 6) each year figure out how to do this on their own, before starting kindergarten or first grade. The number would increase if we all stopped asking children to “sound out” words in text.

You may be asking, “Is it really that simple?” Yes and no. The brain is wonderfully adept at figuring out all kinds of complex things (crawling, walking, speaking in meaningful sentences, swimming, bicycle riding, etc). Unfortunately, the brain can also be easily misled to believe that looking at one–word—at—a–time–and–figuring–out–each–word is the right path to reading excellence. It isn’t. It can’t be. The idea violates too many fundamental aspects of brain science.

For more information, order the book Read RIght! Coaching Your Child to Excellence in Reading (by Dee Tadlock, Ph.D., New York: McGraw-Hill from the Read Right Store. The entire “brain system theory” theory of reading development is laid out there.

Reading + the Mysterious, Miraculous Human Brain

March 11, 2021

by Rhonda Stone, MPA
Tutor & Communications
Read Right Systems

“Brain science?! Who needs to understand brain science?!” some may ask.

In a word: Everyone!

From parents to teachers to reading experts, if we all understood more about how the human brain works, fewer children, teens and adults would struggle with the essential skill of reading.

Here are a few common misunderstandings about the mysterious and miraculous human brain:

  1. “Each person has a dominant learning style.” Not true! This refers to auditory, visual, and hands-on learning. Thirty years ago, a study of people with brain injuries proposed this–and an education scientist somewhere, somehow twisted it around to apply to everyone, including people with uninjured brains! Read more about this harmful myth at: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2019/05/learning-styles-myth.
  2. “If you are analytical, you are left-brained. If you are creative, you are right brained.” Again, not true! The brain IS divided into two hemispheres (left and right), and joined in the center by the corpus callosum. However, we are all “whole-brained.” Meaning, brain function occurs and requires activity throughout the brain. Learn more from Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical School: https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/right-vs-left-myth.

    The following myth may be the most damaging to the development of reading excellence:
  3. “Intensive, systematic instruction in phonics and decoding is required to become a successful reader.” Absolutely NOT true!! Evidence: Every year, a small percentage of children ages 4 to 6 figure out how to read on their own, before starting school! These children are called “precocious readers.” In fact, brain science suggests decoding and individual word recognition may cause reading problems. Here are three reasons from brain science: a) Human working memory (also called “short-term memory”) can only hold 3 to 7 bits of information at a time before it wipes working memory clean, and starts over. Thus, limitations on working memory prevent the brain from reading successfully through either decoding or individual word recognition. b) On top of this, focusing on individual syllables and words restricts all neural activity to the language centers of the brain, preventing the brain’s control system (executive function) from seeking, locating, and integrating other information stored as memory throughout the brain. Access to all information relevant to what is being read is vital to the only skill that makes reading useful: comprehension. Finally: c) R–ea–d–ing l–i–k–e th–i–s w–ou–l–d dr–i–ve y–ou cr–a–z–y! It forces the brain to work too much! Every function we perform involves anticipation, which is the brain’s amazing ability to use minimal information to achieve automaticity.

Lack of understanding of how the human brain functions is the #1 reason reading problems appear to be so difficult to fix. Read Right has found an answer: When the right strategies are used, fixing reading problems is not difficult. We know this with certainty because we do it every day. The key is a broader understanding and application of accurate brain science.

Read Right methodology is grounded in an inclusive view of brain science–or, all brain science. We remediate reading problems quickly because we understand and have applied brain science in new and exciting ways.

Literacy Shapes Life–Invest In It!

March 2, 2021

by Read Right Staff
Read Right Systems

Our intention is not to inspire fear; it is to point out that becoming an excellent reader–not a “basic” reader–is a life-shaping event.

So–invest in it.

Flying under the radar for several years now is the reality that lower literacy levels have a direct correlation to homelessness. Low literacy means individuals struggle with multiple areas of routine life: completing a job application; creating a resume and writing an accompanying cover letter; and even completing forms required to rent an apartment–or to apply for public assistance.

Low literacy holds people down. A hallmark of low literacy is the struggle to read text above a second or third grade level.

Read Right Systems is dedicated to eliminating low literacy. Our focus is not achieving a basic reading level. Our focus was, is and always will be reading excellence–or, reading comfortably and with full comprehension at or above a level that matches an individuals age and/or level of intellect.

The secret to excellent reading is not decoding, or the ability to sound out words in a text. Presently, federal and state public education programs believe this is the required foundation of reading ability. As of 2018, there were an estimated 1.5 million homeless children in the U.S. (three times as many as 2008) and, when they arrive in schools, they are frequently funneled into reading support programs that begin with phonics and decoding. Federal and state-funded programs do this to children regardless of age–kindergarten through Grade 8.

Through 40 years of successful work with struggling readers of all ages, this is what we know: If children and adults already know the sounds made by the stable letters of the alphabet (letters that only make one sound), it is a waste of time to teach decoding–as well as a contributor to continuing frustration and low self-esteem when it doesn’t work.

The secret to excellent reading is helping the individual student discover that combining basic phonics knowledge with all kinds of knowledge they’ve already stored in their minds is the key to reconstructing an author’s intended meaning. Once they understand that the sole purpose of reading is to create a meaningful message from text, they begin to fly.

We know this with certainty because we’ve rapidly eliminated reading problems with children of all ages (pre-K through high school) and adults (young adults through senior citizens). And, the methods we use don’t take years. More often than not, it takes less than a year.

Homeless in America needs to end–but so does low literacy. Please consider sponsoring a homeless child in a Read Right Reading Intervention program. Call this number to learn more: 360-427-9440, ext. 115.

Congratulations, Russell Wilson–NFL Man of the Year!

February 8, 2021

by Read Right Staff

SEATTLE, WA–Star National Football League players and the skill of reading have something in common: for excellence to be achieved, individuals must set excellence as the goal.

Read Right Systems is pleased to congratulate Seattle Seahawk Russell Wilson on his well-deserved NFL title of Man of the Year. Based in Washington State, Read Right’s founder and many of our employees are long-time fans.

Congratulations, also, to Tom Brady for his seventh Super Bowl victory. While Tom’s is an unparalleled achievement, Russell’s title of Man of the Year has a different purpose. It honors commitment to community and social justice. The honor recognizes individuals who go above and beyond expectations to make communities better places to live.

That’s what Read Right seeks to do, too. Our goal has never been “a little bit of measurable improvement” in reading. Our goal for forty years has been total elimination of every reading problem. We prepare struggling readers and dyslexics for success in college. We prepare students with ADD/ADHD, Autism spectrum disorders, Tourette’s and Down’s syndrome, and more to read excellently at levels matching their intelligence. We are successful because the unique methods we use are the methods used by expert athletes and musicians to hone their skills.

We cannot compare to the accomplishments Mr. Wilson and Mr. Brady have achieved as athletes. But, in a time when two-thirds of all American students read at a basic level or below (and it has been this way for more than 20 years), we can make a difference in the lives of millions of individuals, ages 5 to 75.

Excellence is the key. Congratulations again, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Brady on your achievements in athletic and community excellence!

From Education News: “Reports Offer Good News on Adolescent Reading Front”

February 5, 2021

By Read Right Staff

With more than 328 million people living in the United States, good news about reading remediation programs often sneaks unseen past educators and parents.

Such was the case in 2010, when the national publication Education News reported that Read Right methodology offered hope for pre-teen and teen students struggling with reading. For decades, reading experts have warned that students need to be reading at grade level by the end of Grade 3. If not, they will be “four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than proficient readers.” (See related story here.)

But, why? Why is it so difficult for common reading intervention programs to help pre-teens and adolescent readers overcome their reading problems?

Simple: The common methods they use to fix reading problems do not work. Read Right methodology does–and it does so efficiently and rapidly.

Education News’ July 13 report by Debra Viadero stated:

Good news comes from “a randomized experiment on a program called Read Right. …The [Read Right] model calls for students to be taught in separate classes during the school day with no more than five students per tutor. (This is in addition to their regular English language arts classes.) Another hallmark of the program is that it emphasizes teaching comprehension, accuracy, pacing, and intonation, rather than phonics or vocabulary.

“For their study, which was funded by the Omaha-based Sherwood Foundation, researchers from Education Northwest tested the program last fall with 424 students in Omaha secondary schools. They concluded that the program resulted in significant positive effects on students’ reading comprehension and spurred more students to read for fun outside of school.”

Read Right has been highly effective in classrooms for 40 years. Since the late 1990s, dozens of middle and high schools in the U.S. have reduced the need for special education classes, while simultaneously increasing their graduation rates.

What does this suggest? Rapid remediation is possible for students of all ages. The key is the right methods. Read Right methodology works!

Reading Instruction vs. Figuring Out How to Read

January 18, 2021

by Rhonda Stone
Read Right Tutor & Communications

The mother of one of our youngest students recently shared uplifting news. After a few weeks in our online tutoring program, her six-year-old was beginning to love school again.

The comment resonated with me. Fourteen months before, I was helping my adult daughter address my grandson’s disappointment and resistance to classroom reading instruction. As a kindergartner, Ray arrived at school already knowing how to read. In a few short weeks, the upper first-grade reading group where they placed him was turning his already excellent reading ability into halting, stopping, annoying word-by-word reading. It is the way classrooms all over America teach reading these days. It didn’t take long for traditional classroom reading instruction to destroy Ray’s delight and interest in books.

Fortunately, we used “parent power” to insist he return to his kindergarten classroom, where he could simply read books he enjoyed while his classmates received the traditional phonics and decoding training that leads to word-by-word reading. It was heart-breaking, though, because we knew it was NOT how Raymond figured out how to read.

Read Right methodology is truly special. We do not tell children how to read, which is the essence of “reading instruction.” Instead, we create the right kind of environment where children can apply ALL of their neural resources to figuring out the complex process for themselves. Actually, this is the only way any of us learns how to perform complex processes: how to walk, talk, ride a bike, or how to become an excellent athlete, musician, or reader.

Our highly trained Read Right tutors are ready to serve you and/or your family. The process begins with a phone call or an email…