BIRTH OF THE READING PROGRAM, YOU CAN TEACH SOMEONE TO READ
Readers often ask Lorraine why and how she wrote the reading program, You Can Teach Someone To Read. Her response is below.
“It took me eight years of college and thirty-three years of teaching experience to gain the knowledge to begin writing You Can Teach Someone to Read: A How-to Book for Friends, Parents and Teachers: Step-by-Step Detailed Directions to provide Anyone the Necessary Tools to Easily Teach Someone to Read.
During that time, teaching reading became my passion. I wanted every school student to be confident about his reading abilities. I wanted every student to read well enough to eventually be successful at the job of his choice.
I discovered that adults who know how to read don’t know how to teach someone else to read. They don’t remember the specific phonics skills or the sequence for teaching them. That’s because we adults have integrated those reading skills into our reading abilities.
Statistics told us that 46% of third graders were not reading successfully. A large percentage of those in jails or prisons were non-readers or poor readers. I felt the need to share what I had learned about teaching reading. Those who know how to read needed help to teach someone else become a successful reader.
Interested in more details of how it all happened? Read on then…..
IN THE BEGINNING
Parents of my classroom students began to ask what they could do to help their children with reading other than to listen to them read, or read to them – especially something to help them recall the phonics rules. I sent explanations of the lessons to them as their child was learning it. When I decided to retire, the younger teachers asked me to write down for them the sequence I used to teach phonics and their “Silly Stories.” I told them I would write a pamphlet for them.
It took 2 more years to write and organize the information in the most possible useful form. This took place in our camper.
TRAVELING, CAMPING, DEVELOPMENT
While traveling with our camper and boat, we met lots of interesting fellow travelers. When they discovered I was writing this book while traveling, they made their requests. “I know an adult who is not reading. Can he still learn to read? Can your book help?” “I hope you’re going to include how to help your kid before they even go to school, so they’ll have a head start.” “My daughter is in third grade and having a tough time with reading. Will your book help me help her?” “I teach summer reading classes. I hope it will be ready for me to use.”
As the questions were asked, I found myself thinking. “Yes, it can include all the above.” And so the book began to emerge, not just a pamphlet.
The first challenge was to include all the appropriate information to satisfy each group’s needs. The truth is that basic reading skills are the same for all, regardless of age and regardless who is doing the teaching. Thus the book was organized to serve all age groups as well as individuals and groups, giving the person teaching the lesson background and step-by-step lessons. The next challenge was to remove the “educational lingo” while keeping it based on research, and to present the information in the clearest simplest form possible.
INSPIRED BY TEACHING EXPERIENCES
I was assigned to teach grades in this order: second, sixth, third-fourth combination, fifth, second, first, first-second combination, second, first and second again. These assignments were in six different public schools and two private schools, all with varying economic environments and ethnicities. Over the course of thirty-three years of teaching, the reading programs and techniques changed. This amazed me, and offered varied learning experiences for me. At every grade and school readers abilities ranged from excellent to non-readers. I felt a mission to ensure that each student attained good reading skills, regardless of grade or environment. During that process, I learned how to determine learning styles, which of the phonics rules were true most of the time and how to teach them so they were be remembered and applied during reading. As I used this knowledge, it became obvious that students could get into reading more quickly. I also realized that when a student accepts the fact that he needs help to read better and has the motivation to read, the process moves very quickly.
LEARNING TO KNOW THE STUDENT
It became evident to me that a good reading teacher must know how to observe students for physical and emotional problems that might affect the student’s ability to read and then seek help for them if needed. I developed short mental checklists for myself to use for identifying physical and emotional problems.
Knowing how a student learns best was especially useful to me and appreciated by parents when I shared that knowledge with them. I felt that many of the students with learning problems were unable to learn in the particular many in which they were being taught. For instance, teachers often have a visual learning style, and so teach in a way that reaches students who learn best visually. If a student learns best by hearing or doing, he was often seen as a poor student. When teachers prepared lessons with techniques for reaching visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners, they became more effective teachers. I observed that many of the students learned better when we changed the teaching style for them.
A tester of learning styles once told me that I didn’t need to have my students tested because I had already accurately figured out their learning styles. My short check-lists were working well.
Therefore, the simple checklists I used to determine the physical and emotional problems of students and the ways to determine their learning styles were included in the book.
The first edition was published in 2000. Still while traveling, we fully enjoyed meeting people, and holding book signings and seminars designed to tell about the program. We reprinted a year later, and in 2011 published a 2nd edition. I was occasionally asked if we had a workbook to go with it. Since I believe in active learning and interactivity between the student(s) and teacher I had not provided a workbook.
ANOTHER BIG CHALLENGE
Technology soon opened up new opportunities, which led up to the next big challenge – the 2016 interactive PDF digital program, mirroring the print book, but with more helpful tools for the person teaching!
YOU CAN TEACH SOMEONE TO READ MAKES TEACHING READING EASY, FUN AND SATISFYING FOR THE LEARNER AND THE TEACHER