Archive for the ‘Teaching a Child to Read’ Category
The Startling Statistics an Essay from “The Reading Remedy” by Dr. Blank

recommended-booksMost people, even those whose children are facing the horror of reading difficulties, are totally unaware of the fact that the problem is not limited to 5 percent, 10 percent, or even 20 percent of the population. The shocking fact is that approximately 2 out of 3 children—perfectly healthy, normal children—fail to achieve proficiency in reading.

It seems impossible to believe that a skill this important could be in this much trouble. But it is. In state after state, the figures for failure hover around the same numbers. For example, in a report titled The Nation’s Report Card: Fourth-Grade Reading, the National Assessment for Educational Progress (U.S. Department of Education, 20013) found almost 4 in 10 fourth graders reading “below basic levels,” and only 3 out of 10 “above proficient levels.” Think about it—more children are doing badly than are doing well!

Because reading is the single most critical and important skill children will need to succeed in school and in life, failure in this area can be devastating—for the children, their families, and the nation. All too often the children who struggle with reading are diagnosed as “learning disabled,” placing the problem on the child and not on the system. But as a prestigious government report acknowledges, 80 percent of children with learning disabilities are in special education “simply because they haven’t learned to read.” They are “instructional casualties and not students with disabilities” (President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education).

We could delve into a whole range of issues that contribute to this horrendous state of affairs. Kids watch too much TV; teachers are overburdened; books cannot compete with high-tech devices. But if you want to cut to the quick, there is a single, simple source: the current teaching of reading rests on a slim set of weak, inadequate techniques that can do nothing more than leave many, many of our children in the dust. As long as these techniques are used, failure is ordained!

Reading education in schools has limited itself to two systems: phonics and whole language. Phonics, the dominant force, focuses on having children convert the letters on a page into the sounds that become real words. The whole language approach concentrates on providing children with complete, or “whole,” books that are deemed to be more “natural,” “authentic,” and “motivating” than traditionally used teaching materials.

Despite the fact that these inadequate systems have resulted in so much failure, the schools are not trying anything else. It’s like hitting your head against a wall. The pain won’t stop until you stop the banging! Or as Albert Einstein put it, “There is nothing that is a more certain sign of insanity than to do the same thing over and over and expect the results to be different.” As long as current reading techniques are used, the frighteningly high rate of reading failure is ordained!

Schools often try to calm the many doubts that parents raise with well-intentioned messages, such as, “Children are different. Just give him time,” or, “She’s really beginning to make progress,” or, “We are using a balanced approach and offering your child everything that will lead to reading success.” Those messages can be deadly. What you sense about the advantages of success in early reading is true. And what you sense about the dire consequences that follow from early reading difficulties is also true. The sad fact is children who do not read well by third grade almost never end up reading well, and as a child grows, reading problems only worsen—it’s a snowballing handicap. Without the skills that school brings, job opportunities, job satisfaction, and high earnings often fall out of reach.

See the difference our online reading program makes for your children. Get started with a free 30 day trial today!

Weekend reading with your kids check out storylineonline

Are there days when you wish you had just a few more hours to get everything done AND go to the library. For the days when you don’t have time to go pick out new reading books visit

Reading to children has been repeatedly shown to improve their reading, writing and communication skills, logical thinking, concentration and general academic aptitude… as well as inspire a love of reading. The Screen Actors Guild Foundation records well-known actors reading children’s books and makes graphically dynamic videos so that children around the world can be read to with just the click of a Storyline Online video book image.
Many teachers play SAG Foundation’s Storyline Online videos for their students. Doctors and nurses play Storyline Online videos for children in hospitals. And parents and children around the world watch Storyline Online videos millions of times every month.

Visit Reading Kingdom for more ideas to get free educational activities for kids, recommended apps, books to read, worksheets, and a free 30 day trial of our online reading program. Lingo and company will see you soon!

Product Spotlight: Reading Kingdom: Stage 2


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The Reading Kingdom online program is quickly becoming known throughout the world as “the new and better way” to learn how to read. We wanted to let you know that the brilliant techniques underlying our program, Dr. Marion Blank’s“6-SIM” Six Skill Integrated Method, is also incorporated into many other products in the Reading Kingdom store.

Today we shine our spotlight on one of these products with the hope that it may further assist your child or student in their journey toward literacy.

This week’s featured learning curriculum:  Reading Kingdom: Stage 2 – Reading & Writing Program for Students in Grades 3 – 5

Reading Kingdom Stage 2 is an incredibly effective reading and writing program for students in grades 3 to 5 as well as older students who are experiencing difficulties. It is the only program available that features Dr. Marion Blank’s Integrated Skills Method which uses innovative techniques to teach reading, writing and comprehension in an integrated fashion so that they complement and reinforce each other. The result is that students become successful readers and writers.

The program has three levels that teach students to become adept at dealing with the higher level reading and writing skills required in key subjects such as literature, social studies and science. These subjects entail reading about complex topics with lengthy elaboration that cannot be communicated effectively in a few paragraphs. That’s why this material expands to what are commonly referred to as “chapter books.” From about third or fourth grade on, this type of reading is the mainstay of the curriculum and skill with this material is the single, most important factor in whether or not a child will be successful in school.

Early reading instruction typically involves short, simple content. But that type of instruction can leave students unprepared for the transition to the material they are going to be dealing with day in and day out for the rest of their school careers. Unfortunately, relatively little is done to provide them with the instruction they need to handle more advanced reading.

Reading Kingdom Stage 2 has been created to smooth this critical transition. Designed for children who are reading at third to fifth grade level, it offers four books at each of the three levels. The books that are used are from Levels 3, 4 and 5 of the Random House Step Into Reading books — an excellent series that provides a wide range of interesting topics.

At all levels, each teaching session involves three key components:

  • Reading: smooth decoding of sustained sequences of texts.
  • Writing: accurate writing of the type of sentences found in meaningful topics.
  • Comprehension: understanding and relating the key content (“the main idea”) in the material that has been read.

Click here to purchase Reading Kingdom: Stage 2

RELATED ARTICLE: Do Adults Learn to Read the Same Way as Children?


If your child has yet to learn to read to a 3rd grade level, sign up for a free 30 day trial of Reading Kingdom. Lingo and family will see you soon!


Reading Kingdom Deftly Deals with Dyslexia


Athena is a mom whose son has Dyslexia.  She signed him up for Reading Kingdom and quickly saw how our online reading program uses a unique approach to attack this learning disability.  Here’s what she has to say:

My son Chad is 10 years old and has Dyslexia.  He is at about a 2nd grade level in his reading.  What is really great about Reading Kingdom is that your child is given a skills assessment and then placed at the level they need to be at.  The program adjusts to your child’s skill level and where he/she needs to be.  This aspect of the program makes me feel good about how he is progressing. I know he is learning what he needs to.  Chad enjoys Reading Kingdom-he is learning but still having fun.  The activities are fun for kids, while they learn!

The Reading Kingdom is highly beneficial for children diagnosed with dyslexia. Sign up for a free 30 day trial to see how Lingo and company creates positive change in children’s lives.

Reading Kingdom PERFECT for multi-level Homeschooling


Renata is a mom who signed up 3 of her homeschoolers who are each at different reading levels, for Reading Kingdom.  Here’s more about her experience:

Each of our 3 participants used Reading Kingdom daily for this review.  They used it in addition to their normal learning programs.  All three children were able to easily complete 2 lessons each day.  They all began in letter land as they needed additional keyboard skills; however they very quickly passed this as they became familiar with the letter placements on the keyboard. My children were so independent in their usage of Reading Kingdom that I actually had to specifically sit down & watch them work so I could do this review.   All have only basic computer skills, yet still found it easy to negotiate around the program independently & would often talk about different components & what they were up to.  I was able to have them login themselves & complete their lessons whilst I taught another student another subject. This greatly assisted me in our multi-level homeschooling.

I was pleasantly surprised how different the learning paths were for each of our twins.  Although both boys are (obviously) the same age, they are at different stages & have different learning needs.  Reading Kingdom catered individually to these differences and each boy’s program was unique

I listen daily to the twins as they read aloud from readers.  This is part of our normal school day.  I was pleasantly surprised at their sudden jump in reading ability after using Reading Kingdom for just two weeks.  This improvement has continued to progress at a much faster rate than it was previously.  Reading Kingdom has also helped their spelling improve.

See how Reading Kingdom’s unique approach addresses the needs of each child individually, making it a perfect program for any learning environment.  Sign up for a free 30 day trial today – Lingo and company will see you soon!

Ask Dr. Blank: Could phonics instruction contribute to the development of dyslexia?


Chris (Parent) asks

Could phonics instruction contribute to the development of dyslexia?

Dr. Marion Blank (Reading Kingdom Founder) answers:

This question at first glance may seem “far out.” It is basically asking: Is it possible that the dominant and well-intended teaching method used in reading instruction can cause the very difficulties it was designed to avoid? In other words it is suggesting that phonics could cause dyslexia. That is almost certainly not the case.  Research in neuro-science has clearly shown that some individuals with dyslexia show patterns of brain organization that are different from the general population. Often the differences are in the language areas of the brain—suggesting that these individuals come to the table with particular difficulties in certain aspects of language.

Language encompasses a huge range of skills and only some of the language abilities are affected. One of the major difficulties is in analysis of the sounds of words. That is where phonics instruction may play a role –not in causing dyslexia but in exacerbating the difficulties that the individuals bring to the reading setting. With its relentless concentration on sounds, phonics forces the individual to grapple endlessly with input that is frequently confusing. The situation is akin to forcing a color-blind person to sit and look at a color TV all day—while steadily being asked to find distinctions that she cannot perceive. Of course, in the case of reading, the belief is that in the absence of sound analysis, an individual cannot learn to read—and so phonics instruction, difficult as it may be, is deemed to be critical. But that assumption is just that – an assumption and not a fact. There are, for example, deaf persons who have never experienced the sounds of words but who still become proficient readers.

One of the underlying principles in the Reading Kingdom rests with offering an alternative route; namely, developing visual memory in specialized ways that enable students to distinguish and retain words. It is an extremely effective component. Paradoxically and happily it often leads to effective phonological analysis (while bypassing the traditional emphasis on sounding out). At the very least, given the importance of reading, there should be a significant research effort on alternative methods for developing reading which bypass the reliance on traditional phonics instruction.