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…

Important Words from an Educator and Mother

January 8, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a 2009 Presentation by Tony Buffalo at a National Indian Education Administration conference, during a joint presentation with Dr. Dee Tadlock. It is an excellent message for all.

“There (are) so many negative things in our daily lives sometimes that it’s hard to dream and, if you cannot read, the door is shut so tight you don’t see a way out.

“And so, for me, I appreciate and thank Dee Tadlock (developer of Read Right methodology) for being a mother…that persevered to find a way for her son to overcome his reading problem; a mother that cared to seek a way that he could have that door open that he could have that chance.

“Through her perseverance, my reading problem has been corrected. For me as a Lakota woman, I have dreams for our nation. I have wants and wishes for our people all over, but also for our own reservation–and that’s not possible unless we can educate. …We can’t overcome 200 years of oppression unless we can educate ourselves. And the way we do that is to be able to read and understand what is out there in the world. It’s the only way we can do it.

“So, I tell my own children this is going to take you anyplace that you want to go, anywhere in this world. When you open these books you will understand. They can take you anywhere. There’s no end to possibilities of where you can be, what you can do, or what you can become. I try so hard to light that flame of hope and desire within our children. Because I know how much they face, I see it every day.”

The Best for 2021: Read Right Tutors

December 30, 2020

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

Read Right Certified Tutors are the best trained, hardest working, most focused educators we know. Why are we so sure? The next time you meet a tutor from another reading program, ask how many hours of training they’ve received.

Then, consider this: Read Right Online Tutors and Read Right school-based program staff receive about 240 hours of training in the process of earning their Read Right certification. Our training process is not a “packaged program.” It is a hands-on training system. Yes, our tutors work with a manual. However, our training also involves active use of the manual with students every day for months as tutors perfect their skills.

With 40 years of experience behind us, we know this with certainty: Excellent reading ability cannot be explicitly “taught.” It can only be developed by each individual learner through a process involving implicit attempts, failures, analyses, adjustments, and more attempts until success is achieved. Our tutors are trained to create the right environment where students can do this complex work and, in the process, totally eliminate their reading problems.

It sounds simple, but of course it isn’t. Fortunately, every one of our tutors knows how it works and knows how to coach students on the path to reading success.

We are proud to do this work–and, moreso, Read Right Systems is very proud of our many online and school-based tutors.

“Happy Hands”

November 7, 2020

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

One of my favorite photographs arrived in our offices during the summer a few years back. It was sent to us by a middle school reading remediation tutor in the process of being trained to eliminate reading problems with Read Right methodology.

Educators love when students enjoy cooperating with instructional methods. The favored photo shows a small group of students working with a tutor to improve reading ability–and each is beaming in the photo. The image has another important message: Four hands–white, black, and brown–coming together in a joyous high-five.

Today, educators and parents are often frustrated by promises for success that “packaged” reading intervention programs make. The promise: “Do this and your student’s reading ability will be easily transformed.” Well, it’s not that easy. If it were, America’s schools would not be struggling to make those promises work.

Every reading problem is different from student to student, but the source is ALWAYS the same–and understanding the source is pure brain science: The neural network that the struggling reader built to guide the process of reading is flawed. The only way to eliminate reading problems is to guide each individual student through the complex process of building a new neural network designed for only one purpose: to comprehend an author’s message.

It sounds logical and perhaps even easy, but popular reading theory has the entire reading field off track. Popular theory claims students must first learn to decode individual words, then become fast and efficient at identifying each word in text, then expand vocabulary to expand concept knowledge, and–finally–learn comprehension strategies to make sense of text.

Instead of solving reading problems, popular theory contributes to them–and creates unhappy students who resist reading because it’s hard and reading seldom make sense. Students directed to improve reading ability this way may experience modest improvement, but the methods cannot eliminate the reading problem.

It cannot happen because proficient reading ability requires complex cognitive processing, such as the type of neural processing required for talking, walking, bicycle riding, and other complex neurobiological work. All of these (and every process performed by the human brain) require implicit brain function that spontaneously connects explicit knowledge associated with the an activity to the implicitly functioning brain systems that must be activated to make the process work. No one can control that which is “implicit” because the activities occur below the level of conscious awareness.

“Implicit learning” is controversial because it is often misunderstood by the reading field. The field of neuroscience recognizes that implicit work is the nature of brain function. However, human procedural learning requires integration of multiple implicit memory systems, as well as multiple brain systems responsible for managing specific functions. Thus, it requires unified process-oriented learning, NOT instruction in individual parts and pieces.

The Read Right solution for reading problems is this: Optimize the use of implicit procedural learning to build a new neural network to guide all activity associated with reading.

It sounds simple–but it isn’t. In fact, the idea is so complex and the related methods are so revolutionary that the reading field struggles to understand how they work. Understanding begins with accepting one controversial premise: The cause of virtually all reading problems (including most dyslexia) is flawed reading instruction.

Read Right methods are grounded in a proper understanding of implicity procedural learning. As a result, they work–and that is what makes everyone smile.

Build “Reading Memories” with Your Child

October 8, 2020

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

October is the month of my mother’s birthday and, as the day approaches, I have been thinking about her a lot. She will be 101, and I have 70-plus years of remembrances of her. The memories of her reading to my older brother and me are among the most dominant.


The earliest experience I can recall is this: In the small room I shared with my brother, my mother sat on a straight-backed kitchen chair in the just-enough space between my brother’s twin bed and mine. Tucked in for the night, my older brother and I listened with rapt attention as my mother read at least one chapter every night from a book she’d chosen for us. (She frequently was cajoled into “just one more chapter, PLEASE!” because she enjoyed the experience as much as we did.)

What were these books that enthralled the three of us and left us begging for more? Children’s classics popular in the 1940s and 50s: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Black Beauty, The Littlest Colonel, Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates; Mrs. Wiggs and the Cabbage Patch, Peter Pan, and many others.

I attempted to read these classics to my own children when they were the same age as my brother and me when my mother read them to us. But they weren’t interested. They soon left the couch. I tried another, same result; and another, same result. Finally, I acknowledged I wasn’t going to be able to recreate the experience for them.

Frankly, I wasn’t surprised. The classics seemed too advanced for them. The print was dense, and there were no pictures. Many of the sentences were long, and the language was complex. They were used to me reading to them from books with simpler text and pictures on every page—books I returned to for the nightly reading ritual once they’d voted against the classics with their feet (so to speak).

I phoned my brother to see if my memory was “off” and he confirmed that we were, indeed, only five and six when our mother had first read the classics to us. I had to ask myself: Why the generational difference?


I can’t be sure why my children weren’t willing to listen to children’s classics, but I think it may have to do with the constant input of visual information available to children today vs. the 1940s and 50s. Television immediately comes to mind, but there are also video games and DVDs (most young children have a large “movie” library—sometimes bigger than their book libraries!)

Today, children’s books are wonderfully illustrated in vivid colors. There’s no need to build pictures in your mind based upon the story alone. Are there lessons in this? I’m not sure. Even younger than five and six, my children enjoyed the stories I made up as they snuggled into bed at night. There were no pictures. Their imaginations had to provide the illustrations. But, of course, the language was different—less formal and more conversational than language found in the children’s classics.

So, did my boys go through life without exposure to children’s classics? No! When they were older, they read some of them for themselves!


The major take-away I can offer from this “trip down memory lane” is that instilling a love of reading and a value for books and the written word can begin early in your child’s life. Whether that reading is of children’s classics, picture books, or comic books is irrelevant. Follow your children’s lead and read what they want to hear. But do read, and read often. Here are ideas:

–Establish reading rituals: before nap time, before bedtime, when your child isn’t feeling well, and when she’s hurt to help her feel better.

–Take a book along when you go to a doctor’s or dentist’s appointment with your child and read to them in the waiting room.

–When there are two adults in the car, read on long trips—or even short ones!

–If you can afford it, consider making a monthly ritual of buying a new book for your child’s own “library.” Say: “We’re going to the book store today to buy a new book for your library. You can pick whatever book you want.” Occasionally, choose books to read together.

–Give your child books as presents. This can continue as long as your child is living under your roof—and beyond. I still get books from my mother for Christmas and for my birthday, and they always evoke an authentic smile and warm memories of books my mother, brother, and I read together.

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”      Mark Twain                                              

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?


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!