Learning To Read

Learn To Read English

“The great object to be accomplished in reading as a rhetorical exercise is, to convey to the hearer, fully and clearly, the ideas and feelings of the writer.” McGuffey, William Holmes


Learning to read is a need that must be met with with great enthusiasm by both teacher and student.  The process is easy for most and utterly difficult for a few.  

The Five Domains of Reading 

1. Vocabulary: 

The four types of vocabulary. 



2. Phonemic Awareness:  is a subset of phonological awareness in which listeners are able to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes, the smallest units of sound that can differentiate meaning. Separating the spoken word "cat" into three distinct phonemes, /k/, /æ/, and /t/, requires phonemic awareness.

3. Phonics : refers to a method for teaching speakers of English to read and write that language. Phonics involves teaching how to connect the sounds of spoken English with letters or groups of letters (e.g., that the sound /k/ can be represented by c, k, ck, ch, or q spellings) and teaching them to blend the sounds of letters together to produce approximate pronunciations of unknown words.

4. Fluency: is the ability to read text accurately and quickly. Fluency bridges word decoding and comprehension. Comprehension is understanding what has been read. Fluency is a set of skills that allows readers to rapidly decode text while maintaining a high level of comprehension (National Reading Panel, 2001).

5. Reading Comprehension: is defined as the level of understanding of a writing

44 Phonemes are the foundation of all beginning reading programs. 

The English Alphabet Code 'Key': 
44 phonemes with their common 'sound pattern' representations:Vowels (19):
  1. |a| mat
  2. |ae| ape, baby, rain, tray, they, eight
  3. |air| square, bear
  4. |ar| jar, fast
  5. |e| peg, bread
  6. |ee| sweet, me, beach, key, pony
  7. |i| pig, wanted
  8. |ie| kite, wild, light, fly
  9. |o| log, orange
  10. |oe| bone, boat, snow
  11. |oi| coin, boy
  12. |oo| book, would, put
  13. |ow| down, house
  14. |or| fork, ball, sauce, law,
  15. |u| plug, glove
  16. |ur| burn, teacher, work, first
  17. |ue| blue, moon, screw, tune
  18. |uh| (schwa) button, computer, hidden, doctor
  19. |w| wet, wheelConsonants (25):
  20. |b| boy, rabbit
  21. |ks|gz| box exist
  22. |c|k| cat |key, duck, school
  23. |ch| chip, watch
  24. |d| dog, ladder
  25. |f| fish, coffee, photo, tough
  26. |g| gate, egg, ghost
  27. |h| hat, whole
  28. |j| jet, giant, cage, bridge
  29. |l| lip, bell, sample
  30. |m| man, hammer, comb
  31. |n| nut, dinner, knee, gnat
  32. |ng| ring, singer
  33. |p| pan, happy
  34. |kw| queen
  35. |r| rat, cherry, write
  36. |s| sun, dress, house, city, mice
  37. |sh| ship, mission, station, chef
  38. |t| tap, letter, debt
  39. |th| thrush
  40. |th| that
  41. |v| vet, sleeve
  42. |y| yes
  43. |z| zip, fizz, sneeze, is, cheese
  44. |zh| treasure
Mastering the Dolch Sight words are a key component in the learning process.

Sight words do not always follow phonemic rules and must be mastered by sight.

Sight Words: are any word that is known by a reader automatically. Sight words are the basis behind the whole-word approach to reading education. Some have suggested that sight words and the whole-word approach to reading are a significant teaching technique considering 65% of the population identify themselves as visual learners. However, the majority of recent educational research suggests that phonetic based learning strategies are more effective for languages written with alphabets, such as English. Small children are also predominantly visual learners and can therefore learn to read more effectively using sight words and the whole-word approach, if their language has an ideographic or syllabic writing system, such as Japanese or Chinese. Scientific studies have also shown that children with learning difficulties such as Dyslexia, Autism or Down syndrome are also visual learners, and therefore also read words as pictures[citation needed]. In learning to read via the sight words, readers begin to understand that a word represents a 'thing'. wiki article

PRESCHOOL: a, and, away, big, blue, can, come, down, find, for, funny, go, help, here, I, in, is, it, jump, little, look, make, me, my, not, one, play, red, run, said, see, the, three, to, two, up, we, where, yellow, you

KINDERGARTEN: all, am, are, at, ate, be, black, brown, but, came, did, do, eat, four, get, good, have, he, into, like, must, new, no, now, on, our, out, please, pretty, ran, ride, saw, say, she, so, soon, that, there, they, this, too, under, want, was, well, went, what, white, who, will, with, yes

1st Grade: after, again, an, any, as, ask, by, could, every, fly, from, give, giving, had, has, her, him, his, how, just, know, let, live, may, of, old, once, open, over, put, round, some, stop, take, thank, them, then, think, walk, were, when

2nd Grade: always, around, because, been, before, best, both, buy, call, cold, does, don't, fast, first, five, found, gave, goes, green, its, made, many, off, or, pull, read, right, sing, sit, sleep, tell, their, these, those, upon, us, use, very, wash, which, why, wish, work, would, write, your

3rd Grade: about, better, bring, carry, clean, cut, done, draw, drink, eight, fall, far, full, got, grow, hold, hot, hurt, if, keep, kind, laugh, light, long, much, myself, never, only, own, pick, seven, shall, show, six, small, start, ten, today, together, try, warm

Nouns: apple, baby, back, ball, bear, bed, bell, bird, birthday, boat, box, boy, bread, brother, cake, car, cat, chair, chicken, children, Christmas, coat, corn, cow, day, dog, doll, door, duck, egg, eye, farm, farmer, father, feet, fire, fish, floor, flower, game, garden, girl, good-bye, grass, ground, hand, head, hill, home, horse, house, kitty, leg, letter, man, men, milk, money, morning, mother, name, nest, night, paper, party, picture, pig, rabbit, rain, ring, robin, Santa Claus, school, seed, sheep, shoe, sister, snow, song, squirrel, stick, street, sun, table, thing, time, top, toy, tree, watch, water, way, wind, window, wood

The articulated/spoken daily vocabulary of Americans is 1000-2000 words for non college educated adults and 2000-3000 words for college educated adults. 
  • 107 words make up over 50% of the words you read! 
  • 1000 words make up 75-80% of the words you read! 
  • 5,000 words make up 85-90% of the words you read!


This is a list of the 850 words in the Basic English core vocabulary. These words all denote simple concepts commonly used in everyday life.  Charles Kay Ogden 

Wiki Appendix:Basic English word list

Operations - 100 words

come, get, give, go, keep, let, make, put, seem, take, be, do, have, say, see, send, may, will, about, across, after, against, among, at, before, between, by, down, from, in, off, on, over, through, to, under, up, with, as, for, of, till, than, a, the, all, any, every, no, other, some, such, that, this, I, he, you, who, and, because, but, or, if, though, while, how, when, where, why, again, ever, far, forward, here, near, now, out, still, then, there, together, well, almost, enough, even, little, much, not, only, quite, so, very, tomorrow, yesterday, north, south, east, west, please, yes.
400 general words

account, act, addition, adjustment, advertisement, agreement, air, amount, amusement, animal, answer, apparatus, approval, argument, art, attack, attempt, attention, attraction, authority, back, balance, base, behaviour, belief, birth, bit, bite, blood, blow, body, brass, bread, breath, brother, building, burn, burst, business, butter, canvas, care, cause, chalk, chance, change, cloth, coal, colour, comfort, committee, company, comparison, competition, condition, connection, control, cook, copper, copy, cork, cotton, cough, country, cover, crack, credit, crime, crush, cry, current, curve, damage, danger, daughter, day, death, debt, decision, degree, design, desire, destruction, detail, development, digestion, direction, discovery, discussion, disease, disgust, distance, distribution, division, doubt, drink, driving, dust, earth, edge, education, effect, end, error, event, example, exchange, existence, expansion, experience, expert, fact, fall, family, father, fear, feeling, fiction, field, fight, fire, flame, flight, flower, fold, food, force, form, friend, front, fruit
glass, gold, government, grain, grass, grip, group, growth, guide, harbour, harmony, hate, hearing, heat, help, history, hole, hope, hour, humour, ice, idea, impulse, increase, industry, ink, insect, instrument, insurance, interest, invention, iron, jelly, join, journey, judge, jump, kick, kiss, knowledge, land, language, laugh, law, lead, learning, leather, letter, level, lift, light, limit, linen, liquid, list, look, loss, love, machine, man, manager, mark, market, mass, meal, measure, meat, meeting, memory, metal, middle, milk, mind, mine, minute, mist, money, month, morning, mother, motion, mountain, move, music, name, nation, need, news, night, noise, note, number, observation, offer, oil, operation, opinion, order, organization, ornament, owner
page, pain, paint, paper, part, paste, payment, peace, person, place, plant, play, pleasure, point, poison, polish, porter, position, powder, power, price, print, process, produce, profit, property, prose, protest, pull, punishment, purpose, push, quality, question, rain, range, rate, ray, reaction, reading, reason, record, regret, relation, religion, representative, request, respect, rest, reward, rhythm, rice, river, road, roll, room, rub, rule, run, salt, sand, scale, science, sea, seat, secretary, selection, self, sense, servant, sex, shade, shake, shame, shock, side, sign, silk, silver, sister, size, sky, sleep, slip, slope, smash, smell, smile, smoke, sneeze, snow, soap, society, son, song, sort, sound, soup, space, stage, start, statement, steam, steel, step, stitch, stone, stop, story, stretch, structure, substance, sugar, suggestion, summer, support, surprise, swim, system, talk, taste, tax, teaching, tendency, test, theory, thing, thought, thunder, time, tin, top, touch, trade, transport, trick, trouble, turn, twist, unit, use, value, verse, vessel, view, voice, walk, war, wash, waste, water, wave, wax, way, weather, week, weight, wind, wine, winter, woman, wood, wool, word, work, wound, writing, year.
Things - 201 picturable words

angle, ant, apple, arch, arm, army, baby, bag, ball, band, basin, basket, bath, bed, bee, bell, berry, bird, blade, board, boat, bone, book, boot, bottle, box, boy, brain, brake, branch, brick, bridge, brush, bucket, bulb, button, cake, camera, card, carpet, cart, carriage, cat, chain, cheese, chest, chin, church, circle, clock, cloud, coat, collar, comb, cord, cow, cup, curtain, cushion,depression, dog, door, drain, drawer, dress, drop, ear, egg, engine, eye, face, farm, feather, finger, fish, flag, floor, fly, foot, fork, fowl, frame, garden, girl, glove, goat, gun, hair, hammer, hand, hat, head, heart, hook, horn, horse, hospital, house, island, jewel, kettle, key, knee, knife, knot, leaf, leg, library, line, lip, lock, map, match, monkey, moon, mouth, muscle, nail, neck, needle, nerve, net, nose, nut, office, orange, oven, parcel, pen, pencil, picture, pig, pin, pipe, plane, plate, plough, pocket, pot, potato, prison, pump, rail, rat, receipt, ring, rod, roof, root, rug, sail, school, scissors, screw, seed, sheep, shelf, ship, shirt, shoe, skin, skirt, snake, sock, spade, sponge, spoon, spring, square, stamp, star, station, stem, stick, stocking, stomach, store, street, sun, table, tail, thread, throat, thumb, ticket, toe, tongue, tooth, town, train, tray, tree, trousers, umbrella, wall, watch, wheel, whip, whistle, window, wing, wire, worm.
Qualities - 100 descriptive words

able, acid, angry, automatic, beautiful, black, boiling, bright, broken, brown, cheap, chemical, chief, clean, clear, common, complex, conscious, cut, deep, dependent, early, elastic, electric, equal, fat, fertile, first, fixed, flat, free, frequent, full, general, good, great, grey, hanging, happy, hard, healthy, high, hollow, important, kind, like, living, long, male, married, material, medical, military, natural, necessary, new, normal, open, parallel, past, physical, political, poor, possible, present, private, probable, quick, quiet, ready, red, regular, responsible, right, round, same, second, separate, serious, sharp, smooth, sticky, stiff, straight, strong, sudden, sweet, tall, thick, tight, tired, true, violent, waiting, warm, wet, wide, wise, yellow, young.
Qualities - 50 opposites

awake, bad, bent, bitter, blue, certain, cold, complete, cruel, dark, dead, dear, delicate, different, dirty, dry, false, feeble, female, foolish, future, green, ill, last, late, left, loose, loud, low, mixed, narrow, old, opposite, public, rough, sad, safe, secret, short, shut, simple, slow, small, soft, solid, special, strange, thin, white, wrong.

Learning Vocabulary 
  • Indirectly. Children learn the meanings of most words indirectly, through everyday experiences with oral and written language--e.g., through conversations with adults, through being read to, and through reading extensively on their own. 
  • Directly. Children learn vocabulary directly when they are explicitly taught both individual words and word-learning strategies. 
  • Vocabulary refers to the words we must know to communicate effectively in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Vocabulary plays an important part in learning to read. Children use words in their oral vocabulary to make sense of the words they see in print. 
  • Vocabulary is also important in reading comprehension. Readers cannot understand what they are reading unless they know what most of the words mean.
  • Find great literature and dive in.

Checklist For Beginning Readers 
  1. My child knows all the letters of the alphabet.
  2. My child knows the difference between letters and words, and knows there are spaces between words in print.
  3. My child knows that written words represent speech and can show how words are represented by letters arranged in a specific order.
  4. My child knows some punctuation marks and where sentences and paragraphs begin and end. 
  5. My child knows some punctuation marks and where sentences and paragraphs begin and end. 
  6. My child is beginning to understand and explain why people read. 
  7. My child can put together (blend) and break apart the sounds of most one-syllable words and can count the number of syllables in a word.
  8. My child can sound out words he doesn't know, and recognize some irregularly spelled words, such as have, said, you, and are.
  9. My child reads first grade books aloud, and can tell when she cannot understand what she is reading
  10. My child reads and understands simple written instructions.
  11. My child uses what he already knows to enrich what he is reading. 
  12. My child predicts what will happen next in a story
  13. My child asks questions (how, why, what if?) about books she is reading and can describe what she has learned from a book.
  14. My child uses invented spelling in his writing and also understands that there is correct way to spell words.
  15. My child uses simple punctuation marks and capital letters.
  16. My child writes for different purposes— stories, explanations, lists, letters—and reads and revises her writing.
  17. My child uses language with more control, speaks in complete sentences, and uses more formal language at school than at home and with friends.
  18. My child is curious about words and uses new words when he speaks and writes.
  19. My child is beginning to see that some words mean the same thing (synonyms) and some mean the opposite (antonyms).
  20. My child is learning that words play different roles in sentences—that nouns name things and verbs show action, for example
Free Remedial Reading Assessment 206 pp PDF

My Reading Story: Pretending to Read and Write

My first memories of school are feelings of inadequacy and shame. The
earliest memory is trying and trying to learn how to write my name. I was
lost from the start learning letters and even worse trying to print letters that
were dancing all over the page. It was almost impossible for me to write
or copy letters because they were reversed, upside down and illegible by
the time my mind tried to decipher them. Most students learned to write
their names in kindergarten. In first grade and beyond, I was not able to
write my name unless I had an example to copy from, even in second grade,
and beyond. Worse than learning to write words was the entire reading
process. Letter recognition and phonemic awareness seemed alien and
incomprehensible. To me 'p,' 'b,' 'q,' and 'd' were all the same letter.
How do you learn to read using phonics based reading or letter recognition
if the letters are always changing? I just resorted to guessing or pretending
to sound things out to make my teachers happy. I did learn to listen very
carefully so I could memorize some books to pass as if I could actually
read, but that only works so long. My writing never advanced passed
perfunctory imitation. Even with the examples in front of me, my version
was a mess. When placed into reading groups, I was always in the lowest
quartile group, or as I joke, the "milkweed group," or the "crows" -- never
the "roses,” or the "eagles." Inevitably, I was stuck reading with the boy
who never bathed and acted like he was operating on two pots of coffee
(ADHD poster child). I would select a chapter book that looked interesting
and the teacher would say “That is too difficult for you Sean”. What I The
heard was, “You’re too stupid to read it Sean”. I spent most of my reading
time looking at picture books or daydreaming-- never reading. By second
grade I was feeling even more depressed and worthless. I was eventually
diagnosed with a learning disability when I failed to learn to read by the end
of third grade. The term dyslexia was used for the acrobatics that the letters
were doing on the page that I was instructed to decipher. Teaching me
phonemic awareness and letter recognition was like trying to drive a car
from the trunk. Three years of phonics and even more phonics didn't get
me very far. Trepidation wasn’t the word I was feeling when initially
evaluated for a learning disability but more a sense of relief that my charade
was over. Finally, I was going to learn how to read. My happiness died
quickly when the reality of more phonics was the prescription. I realized
very quickly I was alone in my journey to learn how to read. I just
could not make the connections between the sounds and the letters.
None of the experts had a clue what to do except more of the same.

Find Out How I Learned To Read! More to Come.