Reading Instruction


There are many ways to teach language. Depending on the developmental age and capacity of the child, different techniques will be more appropriate. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is ‘push’ language, and to engage in less formal activities that expose the child to text and promote reading, without the formal instruction.

One concern regarding reading is that pushing a child to read when they are not ready for it can create difficult situations that require diagnosis and management of ‘learning disabilities’ where none exist. The simple truth is if our schools developed corollary skills and laid off the formal and regimented phonics training in order to hopefully accelerate reading, we would see less ‘dyslexia’.

Look here for articles summarizing some current ideas on reading instruction.


  • •Effective Beginning Reading Instruction: Effective Beginning Reading Instruction
  • Orton-Gillingham Multi-modal Approach. As in the next example, an over-reliance upon phonemic awareness and decoding can detract from the point of reading and turn it into an overly cumbersome task.

  • Homeschool/Layman perspective on whole language vs. phonemic awareness. (Note: We feel there are many approaches to reading that are appropriate, but this depends on the child. We neither advocate for or against homeschooling or public schooling. We are certainly not opposed to a whole-language (WL) approach to reading instruction as part of a comprehensive strategy along with phonemic awareness, though an over-reliance on phonemic awareness can detract from the goal of reading instruction: To know more words automatically, without thinking about the spelling.)
  • Whole Language Instruction is based on the principle that we should simple learn printed language by recognizing the shape or image of the word which then triggers memory and meaning. This is, in fact, how text works in competent readers, but emphasizing this approach in instruction can mean many kids fall behind for lack of ability to memorize words. Many children will learn to read this way and then also integrate phonemic decoding strategies.

PS – While not strictly a system of reading instruction, Waldorf Schools‘ approach to instruction constitutes a unique teaching strategy.