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How We Successfully Teach Reading to Non-readers and Readers

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

Photo by Road Trip by Raja

Yes, I am a Spidey fan. And I like to read. Hence the photo.

We teach our elementary students to read. And even some junior high and high school students who missed the day reading was taught. The expectation is not only to read but excel at reading.

Non-readers are tested by me using Pathway readers, the controlled-vocabulary, no workbooks, the reading program usually used for the five through eight-year-old students in teaching them to read. Students read a paragraph from a grade-level reader. If the student is able to read fluently 97-100% of the words, then the student goes to the reader of the next level. This process is continued until less than 97-100% of the words are read correctly.

Daily, the students read for thirty to sixty minutes from a book at their level. Comprehension begins by reading a paragraph at a time and then explaining what the paragraph was about or answering questions. All this is done orally.

Students eventually graduate to reading a page, then two pages and finally a whole story at a time. If the teacher's expectations for comprehension are not met, then the passage is read up to two more times . If the student does not understand the story, the teacher will explain the passage and then have the student move on to the next passage.

Phonics is used to support daily reading. We know phonics skills improve with reading experience. And for beginning readers, the reading experience improves with improved phonics skills. Older students usually have internalized enough phonics and phonological awareness to make formal phonics instruction unnecessary.

Then comes the fun part. Watching the former non-reader hungrily devour book after book. It helps immensely to have a hand-picked library, personally by me, to keep that strong enthusiasm .

While I cannot guarantee I am able to teach everyone to read and read well, I have no memory of the last time I have failed. Though that might be because of my age. I can’t remember. :)

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