The Teaching of Reading Starts With The Heart


The teaching of reading’s goal is the Happy Reader who associates reading with fun. Fun does three things. It creates a desire to engage. It lengthens time on task. And it increases focus. Rocket Phonics embeds proven reading skills into fun games. Leo, the boy pictured below, started two years below grade level. He now reads above grade level. Still, Rocket Phonics has a weakness.

Rocket Phonics emphasizes high-frequency words, but the students also need medium frequency words. This comes from leisure reading other books. Many students are afraid of thick books. It’s important to realize that they see books as a source of failure. So I start with thin books 1 or 2 years below grade level. If they struggle with more than three unknown words per page the book is too hard and I drop a grade level. Books on subjects they are interested in. 

Reading Teaches Reading if you can find the right book

It takes a while to find something they like. Initially, they are looking at it as a task. Something they have to do. So the idea that it might be fun is not on their radar. We took turns. He would pick books usually nursery school books. I’d point out that he was a much better reader than that and pick maybe a first-grade book. More important than the grade level was his interest. After months, Leo who likes politics got interested in a newspaper article comparing Biden versus Trump. He was so excited. He never met anyone who read a newspaper before. I guess he gets all the reasons to hate Trump from the TV. 

Now we are reading books on dinosaurs and fossils. His books are getting thicker and more advanced. Of course, he still has to play Go Fish, and as you can see he won. Go fish reinforces his phonics system and beating me his joy!

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