Beginning reading

What are the vital first steps in teaching children to read, and how can we ensure that no child falls behind? Yola Center reviews the evidence

IT IS UNDENIABLE that most children will learn to read, irrespective of the method of instruction. However, it is also clear that a significant number of students in regular classes in mainstream schools will have trouble with the literacy process. Indeed, a leading literacy researcher, Marianne Wolf, recently stated that about 40% of children are at risk of literacy failure unless teachers are aware of the essentials of effective beginning reading instruction. Furthermore, of that 40%, depending on economic status, half will get one-to-one remedial attention, but half will miss out. Most national and international surveys of struggling readers appear to substantiate this figure.

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May 2009