Archive for October, 2014

Kids Still Struggling to Read under Common Core

Posted in Common Core is not teaching my child how to read, Common Core Reading Fails, teachers do not know systematic phonics | Comments Off on Kids Still Struggling to Read under Common Core

Will the new Common Core standards


actually change


the enormous number of children


who will no longer


struggle in reading?


Will our public school children actually, FINALLY, learn how to sound out words and go on to learn to read words fluently and to comprehend their meaning?

With Common Core, will sounding out words actually be taught THIS school year?

Will struggling students actually stop struggling to read, or will they continue to struggle in reading?


To answer those questions, we need to look at what the new Common Core Standards are in reading and if those standards are enabling the teaching of systematic phonics.

Here’s a very basic, sequential synopsis of the 5-step plan presented in the Common Core standards for teaching a child how to read:

  • Print Concepts – a basic understanding of what a sentence looks like


  • Phonological Awareness – Realizing that phonics sounds make up words and that when blended together, phonics sounds form words.


  • Phonics and Word Recognition – Learning systematic phonics in order to sound out words.


  • Fluency – Learning to read faster and faster as you learn to recognize more and more words phonetically.


  • Reading Literature – Mastering the ability to read and understand the key details of a text culminating in inferential thinking skills by the 4th  grade.


Now, let’s compare that synopsis with the 5 steps that are taught in a systematic phonics reading approach?

1) Phonemic Awareness

2) Phonics – Learning the phonemes and how to blend them together

3) Building fluency

4) Adding to a student’s vocabulary

5) Gaining better and better comprehension – both basic and inferential.


So there it is.  That’s a pretty good comparison that clearly shows that the standards for our public school reading methods HAVE changed. Common Core standards match almost verbatim with the standards for the teaching of systematic phonics.

Therefore, shouldn’t we expect a change in our public school reading programs?


Well, hold on.  Doesn’t change involve not only stating the new standards, but also equipping and training our teachers to teach those standards?

That question led some educators to ponder a new study that indicates that the Common Core Reading Foundations may be stating the “gold standard,” but it is NOT supplying graduating elementary teachers with the training necessary to teach that standard.

You see, we now have access to the most conclusive reading study done by the NCTQ (National Council on Teacher Qualify).  This latest study has clearly demonstrated (to educators, to moms and dads, to high school students who are wondering why they are still struggling to read their high school textbooks) exactly WHY many of our high school graduates cannot read their diplomas, why 40% of our 4th graders STILL cannot read at grade level and probably won’t anytime soon.


It’s a study that thoroughly demonstrates that teachers are not teaching systematic phonics because they have never been taught systematic phonics themselves.

For example, this NCTQ study supplied the answer to this very important question:

How many of our colleges are teaching systematic phonetic reading instruction to their education majors?

The answer discovered was so very sad:  Most American colleges of education are NOT teaching the science of systematic phonetic reading instruction to their graduating elementary teachers.



Moreover, this NCTQ study raised another question: What was found to be the #1 reason why systematic phonics instruction is NOT being taught to our education majors?

The answer they found was explained like this:

Many believe that our professors and schools are not teaching systematic phonics because they don’t believe in phonics, but this is NOT TRUE.

What was found to be true is that when approaching any instruction on the 5 steps of systematic phonics, most professors DO REALIZE that these 5 steps are essential to enable a student to read.  However, the study supported the findings which tell us that:

It’s likely that

professors are not teaching

the 5 steps to systematic phonics instruction because

“they are reluctant to teach what they themselves do not know.”



As a result, many elementary students this year, 2014, will fail to learn to read under the Common Core Education umbrella. That umbrella is riddled with giant holes, and those holes are leaking in gigantic droplets of sight-reading, whole-word memorization poison.

You can take it to the bank when I tell you that THAT poison is killing the chance of student after student after student to ever gain the skills so vital for sounding out every word on every page.

The main reason for this catastrophe is not because Common Core does not include a systematic phonics standard.  It is because our public school teachers learned to guess at words when THEY were learning how to read.  It is because that guessing game was continued in their college reading methods courses.  As a result, it’s only natural that our public school teachers are continuing to use that same reading method that they have become so comfortable with – the method of learning to GUESS at words.

It’s true! You see, teachers do not just gain systematic phonics skills by osmosis, and they don’t just gain the desire to teach systematic phonics by osmosis either.  In other words, no matter how long a teacher has taught, he or she does not just suddenly, unconsciously, assimilate into the knowledge of intensive phonics nor do they gradually develop the desire to teach something of which they know practically nothing about.



So sadly, low literacy rates in this nation are unlikely to go up any time soon.  To be sure, the reality is that by global standards today, literacy in the US among blacks and whites has been basically wiped out among our United States youth since the 1970’s.

What that means in plain, simple terms is that a huge segment of our youth, 15 years and above, do not possess the ability to read and write a short, simple statement about their everyday life.

Let’s be clear, the studies now tell us that the hope for higher literacy rates for Americans is being eradicated before it even has a chance to take root.  That hope is being extinguished because the professors who teach our teachers are not teaching them systematic phonics, so the teachers that are teaching our elementary children how to read are NOT teaching reading through a systematic phonics approach.



Now think about this, Mom.  Think about this, Dad.

If the professors who are supposed to be lining up systematic phonics instruction materials for our college student teachers do not know or understand that material themselves, HOW ARE THEY GOING TO BE ABLE TO TEACH IT TO OUR TEACHERS?

Moreover, if systematic phonics is NOT being taught in most of our education colleges, then what reading method HAS BEEN TAUGHT to the teachers in our present-day classrooms, and what WILL BE TAUGHT to the future elementary teachers of our public school classrooms?

To answer those VERY VITAL QUESTIONS, I’m going to give you the quote from the study itself, just so you don’t have to take my word for it, because if I simply told you what the answer was, you would not believe it.


Here it is; here’s the answer found through the latest NCTQ study as to the best reading method for our teachers to use:

“No single text, (meaning a textbook that outlines the main reading method for teachers to use) no matter what its approach to reading instruction, was assigned in more than a handful of courses. Teacher educators clearly have not reached any sort of consensus about a single scholar or text that serves as essential reading in the field. In truth, the field is a free-for-all.”

Moms, Dads, YES, you read those last three hyphenated words correctly.

What our teachers

are being taught to use

as their BEST option

for a reading strategy is a





Now can you understand why Johnny still can’t read?

Now can you see that Johnny still won’t be reading anytime soon?

Can you understand what will PROBABLY be taking place in our Common Core K-4th grade reading classes?

What will be taking place is a “free-for-all” of reading instruction.




Our teachers entered the teaching profession because they wanted children to learn.

Teachers want to succeed, but their efforts are STILL being sabotaged

Because our colleges

REFUSE to give them a sound reading methods education.



Here’s what you’ll find going on right now, today, if you do the research.

  • You’ll find blog after blog where teachers are asking other teachers for help in how to meet the Common Core standard for reading instruction. The answers they will be given will be a “free-for-all.”

  • You’ll find one Pinterest post after another giving out supposedly “Common Core” reading worksheets and lesson plans and strategies. Some of those Pinterest boards actually WILL contain vital, workable, phonetic strategies, but far too many of those strategies will be MIXED with the whole-word memorization poison.  This is because, in spite of all the well-meaning intentions, Pinterest posts will be a “free-for-all.”

  • You’ll find some Kindergarten and 1st grade classes sending home reading books for children to memorize. It will be a free-for-all.

  • You’ll find some Kindergarten and 1st grade classes doing a combination of sight-reading Word Walls MIXED with activities to help students learn the sounds represented by the 26 letters of the alphabet. It will be a free-for-all.

  • You’ll find some Kindergarten and 1st grade classes teaching long and short vowels along with other Kindergarten classes teaching whole-word memorization and avoiding short vowels altogether. It will be a free-for-all.

  • You’ll find some Kindergarten and 1st grade classes teaching children to rhyme words while sincerely believing that THAT is systematic phonics. It will be a free-for-all.

  • You’ll find some Kindergarten and 1st grade classes teaching phonemes. Yes, you will!  You’ll find some classroom teachers actually teaching systematic phonics. Unfortunately, according to the findings, you won’t find this very often.  That’s because reading instruction in our schools today is a free-for-all.


Systematic Phonics in our public schools is not being taught, is desired to be taught, and is being attempted to be taught everywhere, anywhere, somewhere, or maybe not at all. In most cases, it’s NOT being taught AT ALL!


Because it’s a “free-for-all” out there for what teachers are prepared to teach in their reading classes.

Common Core standards WILL NOT CHANGE how reading is taught.  What Common Core will do is severely FRUSTRATE our children as more and more teachers give younger and younger kids more advanced reading lessons at an earlier age.

The majority of our public school teachers do NOT know systematic, explicit  phonics; they just know they are supposed to raise the reading standard.

As a result, Common Core is resulting in the samo, samo.

Common Core standards are still forcing teachers (who know nothing about systematic phonics education) to insist that their students continue to “guess at words” by:


LOOKING at the pictures on the page

LOOKING at the shape of the word

MEMORIZING a few hundred frequently-used Dolch sight words

SKIPPING over words they don’t know

SUBSTITUTING words that seem to fit

PREDICTING the words they think will come next.




ANSWER: Moms, Dads, teach your OWN children how to read using a systematic, step-by-step, parent-friendly, affordable systematic phonics curriculum. If you have $9.97, you can purchase the equivalent of a $300 curriculum in non-consumable, printable format from this website:



Parents can – THEY MUST – take the teaching of reading into their own hands.

By using a step-by-step, parent-friendly curriculum, Moms and Dads

CAN make the difference!


Carol Kay, President

Candy 4WAY Phonics

(Where learning to sound out every word on every page is made easy.)