Teaching Children To Read

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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The International Reading Association has come out with findings supporting the assertion that there is no single proper method for teaching children to read. There are several points of consensus, however, ranging from the need for local and regional educational mandates to the primacy of teachers' roles in early schooling. While this may seem obvious, there are in fact many who believe that children, left alone, will somehow learn to read on their own, either through exposure to media or else through some inborn language-acquisition trait.

To some degree, learning is innate; we are all taught language at least in part through an "immersion" technique as we grow up in our respective cultures. The problem is that experiential learning on its own is insufficient for teaching children to read and write, a process that requires the systematic breakdown of sentences into words, which in turn break down into syllables, which are themselves "decomposable" into letters and phonemes.

The Importance of Teaching Children To Read

Another point of consensus in the minds of educators and policy-makers is the far-reaching consequences of functional illiteracy. Imagine going through life unable to read the indications on your prescription drug vial or the message on a street sign. Some research on the subject of adult illiteracy reports that a full 40 percent of job-hunters have difficulty filling out a basic job application.

Needless to say, the jobs awaiting those who cannot decode a simple job sheet are not the type that can support families. Moreover, citizens in a democratic republic have the duty to elect their leaders, so illiteracy is also a source of disenfranchisement. These are just two many reasons why teaching children to read and read well is imperative, irrespective of skin color, religion, geography, or social class.


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