Reading

Now that I am retired, I had considered trying to teach reading. Ideally, I would like a class of 6-10 adults or older kids. I do have teaching experience but in electronics, specifically radar. To me, reading does seem somewhat simpler than radar. Then a fact came on me, mostly by accident. If a person knows the 100 most frequently used words, they will recognized about 2/3 of the words in a novel. Obviously, technical and scientific books are more difficult.

Nonetheless, I did a search for the most frequently used words and most are four letters or less. There are a few exemptions but if a person just learned the words that are 5 letters or less, he would be well on the way to learning how to read. By the way, many of the most common words are three letters or less. Consider the articles: a, an and the. One or more is used in virtually every sentence. Most sentences contain pronouns with three or less letters: I, me, he, she, it, etc. These words are easy to learn and they are frequently used.

I am a firm believer in phonics. Word memorization certainly helps with the short frequently used words. as I said, about a third in the regular novel. That leaves a third of the words that must be learned and the most effective way to learn them is the old tried and true phonics. Even so, most non-vowels have but one sound which can easily be memorized. C, G, W and Y do require a little more attention, but not much.

The vowels are the letters that require special attention. First, some of them have three or even four sounds in the English language. Then too, sometimes, they have no sound at all. Lastly and most difficult to deal with are the combinations: ough, ew, th, cr, ch, sh, etc, etc. and so forth.

Finally, a person who is leaning to read need know very few of the rules of speech. The reader only reads what the writer writes. If the writer wrote it wrong, it is the writer’s problem. To be sure, some simple generalities would need to be dealt with. Oddly, at one time, the English had no punctuation. Now, it controls the flow of the written language so that it helps us understand the writers intent, both meaning and and flow… as if spoken. The concept of paragraphs and chapters would likely be good too.

As for writing, once a person has mastered reading, he is well on his way to knowing how to write. It’s just all those words that sound the same but have different meanings that they would have to learn how to deal with. To my way of thinking, if they are pronounced the same, they ought to be spelled the same.

At any rate, maybe you know someone who can’t read. You might be able to use what I have written here to get him a start. Then he will be a threat to the FOCs. He will know how to read. He will be a man who will be able to make up his own mind. The dems don’t like that. Then he just might be able to tell when they are lying to him.

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