Why Our Children Can't Read, and what We Can Do about it: A Scientific Revolution in Reading

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Simon and Schuster, 1997 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 384 pages
Chances are, if you can read this book, you're lucky. Even so, you may be reading it less well than you could. The fact is, you probably learned to read the wrong way, but somehow you've managed to get by, even do well. Many children and adults are not so lucky.

In America today, 43 percent of our children test below grade level in reading. Among adults, 42 million are functionally illiterate. The numbers are staggering, but in our schools, the problem is only getting worse. Most schools teach reading with phonics, the whole language method, or some eclectic combination of the two. Unfortunately, these methods are failing our children; phonics by 30 percent, whole language by 50 percent.

We are in crisis. Now, what are we going to do about it? If we're wise, we'll read and use what's in this book at home-- and in every school in America-- because it is the first thorough diagnosis of the problem and the first viable solution. The old methods don't work, and this book will tell you why. Psychologist Diane McGuinness draws on twenty-five years of solid reading research that shows exactly how the current system fails and how to fix it.

She explains that the ability to read depends on the ability to hear the sounds of our language correctly, and on a working knowledge of something called the spelling code, which is the key to how English spelling works: what letters and letter combinations go with which sounds. This connection of sounds and the symbols that represent them is crucial to learning how to read, and McGuinness explains it with rigor, clarity, and expertise. Moreover, she shows how this method is scientifically proven and has transformed so-called dyslexics and troubled readers into expert readers and spellers, often in astoundingly short periods of time.

Diane McGuinness has given us the blueprint for a reading revolution-- one that offers real hope to the millions of children and adults who are failing needlessly in school and in life.


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User Review  - skueppers - LibraryThing

This is by far the best book I've read about teaching kids to read. Until I read this book, I found the entire subject confusing -- now I feel like someone suddenly turned on the lights. Ms ... Read full review

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How Do We Do It?
Transcribing Talk
Splitting Sounds
The English Alphabet Code
A Comment on Dialects
The Childs Mind and Reading
Reading Programs That Work
Beginning Reading Right
Mastering the Advanced Code in Reading Writing
Helping Those Who Didnt Make It
Remedial Reading Programs 307
Whats a Parent to Do?

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About the author (1997)

Diane McGuinness, Ph.D. , is a cognitive developmental psychologist and professor at the University of South Florida. She is the author of When Children Don't Learn. She lives in Sanibel, Florida.

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