This is a fantastic breakthrough in reading instruction.
“It is extremely satisfying to know that so many students have been saved from a lifetime of failure and frustration because of this simple, yet effective method of teaching reading, which any one can be trained to use.”
– Cliff Ponder
Academic Associates reading instruction is so successful because it is:
- An actual step-by-step method of teaching reading, like building a pyramid one block at a time.
- Scientifically structured. It is based on the brain’s own neural architecture.
- Carefully layered. Each small step builds on all previous steps. Students show improvement from the very first lesson.
Learning to read is a simple process.
The Academic Associates Reading Course is a phonetic program based linguistically on the 44 sounds we use in English. There are 13 lessons and each one focuses on decoding rules. A lesson takes as long as a student needs to be able to retain and apply those rules.
With the first lesson the student learns the 5 short vowels and the 16 consonants that have only one sound. Then the student uses those tools to sound out 300 words.
Sixteen letters make the same sound almost every time.
Anyone can learn these sounds quickly.
In lesson 2 the student gets 2 new rules – the long vowels and the magic e. With these he tackles new words until he has confidence to use them – now effectively using long and short vowels and the concept that an e can make a vowel say its name. The student can also identify vowels from consonants and voiced and unvoiced sounds.
Only 10 letters make more than one sound.They’re easy to learn.
In lesson 3 the student is introduced to the 2 sounds of c, the four s rules and the 6 sounds of y. They need to know that y copies short i mid-syllable so when they see a y in a word like ‘symbol’ they know what to say. Then, using all the rules gained to this point he/she uses the rules to unlock words. They learn the rules by using them to decode words and they decode words by applying the rules.
As we progress through the course the students have more and more tools to work with and decode progressively more complicated words.
While we work on decoding throughout the course we incorporate fluency and reading for comprehension.
If the student doesn’t have a firm base of phonetic tools it’s very difficult to unlock complicated words. We prepare a solid foundation and then build on that foundation with more and more complex phonics tools until the student is reading fluently at an independent level.
If the student has gone too far in school but hasn’t acquired the necessary phonics skills then the gap widens between what he/she can read and what he/she is expected to know. So the older a student is before the reading problem is solved the more content knowledge that student has missed.
Students who complete the program typically gain 2 to 5 grade levels in their reading ability often as much or more in comprehension. When students are worked with one-to-one they complete the course in 30 to 60 hours. Since we teach at their individual learning pace we don’t always know how long it will take a student to complete the course.
Here’s How It Works
We use 44 sounds in speaking English.
Only 26 letters make up the English alphabet.
Students are given tools to unlock words. They become able to sound out words correctly. The 220 words on the Dolch Word List are meant to be sight words for children. But only 5 are sight words. The remaining 215 words can be unlocked!
Instead of trying to memorize words, students will be empowered to read thousands and thousands of words. Using the Academic Associates Reading Program non-readers can be reading 300 words in just two hours. That’s powerful!
We never use flash cards. (promotes memorizing) We never use objects, colors or physical movements to represent sounds. (too much unnecessary information) We never use pictures in teaching. (promotes guessing)
The process of decoding words as naturally as possible established the foundation for all the other steps in reading, e.g., fluency, comprehension and vocabulary development.
Our method doesn’t cure learning disabilities, but it helps the brain to learn to use undamaged areas that bypass the defective areas. Instead of teaching to a student’s strength and building those up as some philosophies endorse, AA addresses head on, a student’s weak areas and builds those weak areas up. The Academic Associates Reading Program complies with current research.