As a secondary teacher looking for employment for English (as this is my degree) in both middle and high schools across the country, I found many opportunities for teaching reading. I understand the need to teach reading throughout elementary and middle schools. But high school? How does someone even get to high school if he/she cannot read? Maybe this has something to do with America’s education system lacking. Now, if you are an immigrant and have entered the country not knowing English, but were well-versed in your own language, then I can understand the need for a separate reading class for those who speak little or no English. However, an American born in America has no excuse. Obviously, learning to read is one of the most important aspects of living in a society. Learning to read takes a burden off many things. Teachers and administrators need to have a system to keep those Americans who have horrible reading skills back in certain grade levels until they learn to read with some efficiency. With all this said, America does have a 99% literacy rate for those over the age of 15. However, America comes in at number 22 on the world scale behind 11 Eastern European countries that are underdeveloped. Finland, Greenland, and Luxembourg are tied at the top.
Learn How to Read
If you are a parent or friend of an older individual that has difficulty or cannot read, then teach him to learn how to read. Go to a book store and find elementary phonics books, flashcards with short sentences, and cassette disks with correct pronunciation and sound. He may be embarrassed, but it is better for him to learn how to read with a friend, parent, or tutor than to become embarrassed with many peers in a classroom.
How to Teach a Child to Read
There are many ways on how to teach a child to read, but there is now a creative way that Honduras has set up a program on how to teach a child to read. First of all, parents should always teach their children to read before entering school. If the parent is a non-English speaker, then get a tutor. Of course, the alphabet should be taught first along with sounds. Then, one should teach phonics of sounds that differ from the original sound of the letter. For example, when ph = f or igh = long i.
The Hondurans have a program where children learn to read by reading to a dog. A dog will not criticize them and simply listen. The dog has its trainer nearby. This program has often worked and children enjoy it because there is also positive reinforcement where they can play with the dog after reading.
Learn to Read
Things that help people learn to read better are newspapers, short stories, and even poems. If you know someone who needs to learn to read, make it your number one priority in helping that person achieve her goal. Both of you will be well rewarded.