Illiteracy Crisis in America

Picture of Written by: Margaret Bertram

Written by: Margaret Bertram

Not many people are aware, but currently two-thirds or 66% of American 12 year olds are FAILING in reading.  You read that right.  In the richest country in the world, we are failing to teach most of our kids to read.  Why?  So many factors lead to this outcome.  Too many and too contentious to discuss here.  My focus is on solutions. and I have some.

1: Teach all those kids (and adults) who the system has failed how to read with a program called Toe by Toe.  Parents can teach their own child to read using Toe by Toe.  In fact, parents are the BEST people to do this job because they will never give up on their child.  If that is too much for the parent, a passionate tutor or grandparent would work also.  Toe by Toe takes  20 minutes, every day for 6 months to help your child become a STRONG reader.  No matter the cause of the reading delay – dyslexia, autism, learning problems, memory problems, I am a reading expert and I know this program works.

2: The next suggestion to prevent reading failure is to help babies, toddlers and preschoolers get ready to read.  Then when they get to school they will hit the ground running in reading.  And it is so simple!  Read to your child, sing songs, read poems and recite nursery rhymes, talk to them all day about everything, teach them about things you are passionate about, introduce the alphabet and teach them the SOUNDS of each letter, teach them about rhyme and play rhyming word games, clap and count the sounds in words, on and on.  You can even teach your little one to read before they get to school.  That way success has been guaranteed.

3: Teacher training at college, and curriculum in schools MUST follow the Science of Reading.  Finally, two decades after the conclusive evidence was published public school systems are turning their curriculum around 180 degrees to ensure kids are taught phonemic awareness and phonics when learning HOW to read, as well as fluency, vocabulary and comprehension strategies to help them understand what they read.  No longer should we allow flawed methods like the three cueing system, look at the first letter and guess, remember these words, to be used in our schools to teach reading. https://www.ascd.org/el/articles/the-science-of-reading-research

Sold a Story is a 6 x 30 minute podcast series by Emily Hanford highlighting the failure of the instructional methods used to teach reading, based on little scientific evidence.  https://features.apmreports.org/sold-a-story/

My name is Margaret Bertram.  I started Get Reading! to make sure every child is taught how to become a strong reader by 2030.  But I can’t do it alone.  I need you.  Be a Superhero.  Teach someone to READ!

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