"The rough seas are behind us now that we have found our beacon in the storm. Thank-you for all you do, thank-you for all you are, and thank-you most of all for all you have helped our daughter become. Words are not enough...". 

- Trudy Reynolds
(parent)

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Why We're Passionate About the Problem

What is it about the ability to read that arouses such passions in adults, parents and teachers?  They understand how critical it is to be able to read and comprehend what is being read. People assume reading is all about books, but being able to read medicine bottles, directions from doctors for health care, how to assemble a product or operate a piece of machinery, or to take a test to get a driver’s license all require reading skills. Something as simple as reading a map, or understanding a bus schedule requires reading skills. Many products we buy for our homes have manuals or instructions about how to use and care for the product to avoid fire or harm to the user.

Reading effectively is no less a vital skill than crossing the road safely, but we have more individuals who can cross the road safely than can read effectively. Parents, teachers and adults who recognize the many ways reading benefits us are passionate about the problem of illiteracy because they want to help. They know what kind of difficult, frustrating life awaits a poor reader or someone who is illiterate.

Reading is a Job Skill, Not Just a Pastime Anymore

It’s been estimated that information is doubling every five years. By the time a college student graduates today what they know is already being replaced by new discoveries. It is difficult enough for people with good reading skills to keep up. People with reading difficulties have a worse time. They will be left behind or shut out of many jobs simply because they struggle with reading skills.  If reading is a struggle, the learning gap widens and difficulties only get worse. Our world used to be one where people with the ability to read effectively were associated with universities, education, research or jobs where they were assumed to be more learned. Sure, there were those with good reading skills that simply enjoyed reading as a pastime.  Now reading is a life skill, just like crossing the road safely, learning to drive or to use a computer. Reading is a skill that everyone needs to master if they want to succeed.

Phonics or the Phoenix?

Most reading difficulties are caused by a fundamental gap in an individual’s knowledge of the reading process and the basic sub-skills associated with it. Science says, the most effective way of teaching individuals to read is to use systematic, sequential phonics, NOT phonics drills. 

Recognizing the correct way to solve a problem is easy. Getting people to acknowledge the problem and act is harder. Many parents think their child will grow out of a reading problem. They won’t. The time to deal with reading issues is the moment you think there is one.  The earlier a reading difficulty is dealt with the easier it is to correct.  Once an individual learns to read effectively, life changes dramatically.

There is a legend about a mythical bird called a phoenix. They throw themselves in a fire and burn, turning into ashes before being reborn and arising out of the ashes as a new creature. We like to compare the short period of time it takes to learn new reading skills as the fire. Our students throw themselves into the “fire” of learning and then rise from the ashes of humiliation and frustration with a new future and unlimited possibilities unfolding before them. Yes. It’s scary to throw yourself into a new learning situation, but if you do the promise of a new you, a new life is waiting.