The Way Reading Is Typically Taught

Schools typically teach reading in two stages. First, they teach children to associate a sound with a given set of letters. Children already know how to associate sounds with words, so this step allows children to be able to recognize words on a page. By second grade, most children can read simple words in isolation.

From that point on, many school systems invest most of their effort in the second stage. It is hard to put a name to this second part; many schools call it something like "Language Arts." Lumped together under this rubric are such diverse items as spelling, syllabification, alphabetization, and other skills pertaining to the mechanics of language.

At this point, children, no matter how well (or how poorly) they have done in learning to decode the symbols that represent words on the printed page, begin to get bored with reading. Learning the mechanics of reading just isn't very fun. Learning to understand better would be fun, but that is not what we teach.

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