News

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:

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

More Book Reviews

July 29, 2020

“We have parents with kids in college now who know their kids probably wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for Read Right. I am definitely an advocate.”
–Melinda Reeves, 2004 Texas High School Principal of the Year

A Solution for Middle School Students

July 29, 2020

In reading education, researchers have come to know lots about teaching young children how to decipher words. The struggling adolescent reader, on the other hand, is still unconquered territory.

Here are a couple of new reports, however, that offer a sliver of hope. The first is a randomized experiment on a program called Read Right. Currently used in about 500 schools across the country, the model calls for students to be taught in separate classes during the school day with no more than five students per tutor. 

College: Read Right is Effective with College Developmental Ed

November 2, 2010

Read Right Reading Comprehension Program Scores Rapid Improvement

A reading program used by colleges in many regions of the United States is quickly improving the reading skills of adult students of all ages.

Using two different systems of measurement, Kim Whalen of Ozarks Technical College recently examined the progress of 406 multi-age students enrolled in the college’s Read Right Reading Comprehension Program during six separate semesters. After only one semester of tutoring, improvement was significant. The two systems of measure were the COMPASS reading test and the American College Testing (ACT) program’s ASSET reading test. Read The PDF