When their child has trouble learning how to read, many parents go into a panic. They worry that if their child does not learn how to read as fast or faster than his or her classmates, he or she will never succeed, but will be doomed to become a failure. They will fall for any trick that anyone wants to sell them. There are all kinds of reading systems out there that really amount to nothing but sheer quackery. I know. I spent years working as a tutor. We would get parents all the time who were in a state of panic because their child could not learn how to read without extra help. We would get them for a while until their parents would stumble across some learn to read overnight program that promised something outrageous, such as to improve their reading by three years in three weeks. Of course, these learn to read programs would charge the parents a lot of money, without helping their children at all. They would then come back to us, even more, discouraged, and with kids who thought they were stupid, to finally start to learn how to read.
There is no one way how to learn to read. Anyone who tells you that they have a cure-all learn how to read the system is lying to you. With kids who have problems with their reading skills, there is just simply no one solution. The only way to help these kids learn how to read is to custom tailor a reading program to their own needs. There are all kinds of fancy diagnoses of learning disabilities, but it all comes down to one thing: find what works, and stick with it. That is really the only solution. Everyone learns how to read differently.
In our clinic, when we get a new student who needs to learn how to read, we usually start with a reading test. There are all kinds of reading problems that kids can have. Some cannot even learn how to read the alphabet. Others can decode the letters in the words fine but have no idea of the meaning of what they just read. Still, others have little trouble with the bigger words but stumble over all the smaller ones. Each of these problems, and every single one of the students who have them, demands a different approach. Now some big moneymaking learn how to read programs say that they can cure all of these problems, but everyone I’ve ever talked to whose child has used one of these programs has been disappointed.