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Common Core Reading Instruction Is Failing

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Common Core


Is Failing


to Teach Kids


How to Read!


Is your child struggling in reading?


Please, don’t tell me that you were depending upon the new Common Core Standards to make the difference in your child’s reading skills.


Common Core

reading methods

cannot work.

They will leave our children


by the time

they graduate

from high school.


Common core claims to have raised the standards for reading.  The problem is, you can’t throw a child into a book with tons and tons and lines and lines and pages and pages of unknown words without first teaching that child how to sound those words out, one letter, one blend at a time from left to right.

Believe me when I tell you that Common Core is NOT giving our children those necessary early letter-blending reading skills.  They are, however, frustrating the death out of our children with their whole language methods.     








The Common Core WHOLE LANGUAGE APPROACH is nothing new.  It teaches children to guess at words by: 

LOOKING at the pictures on the page

LOOKING at the shape of the word

MEMORIZING a few dozen frequently-used words

SKIPPING over words they don’t know

SUBSTITUTING words that seem to fit

PREDICTING the words they think will come next.


A child who has spent his time in a Common Core reading group will learn to: 

a) Memorize whole words

b) Guess at words based upon the shape of a word

c) Guess at words based upon the first letter and the picture on the page

d) Memorize WHOLE STORIES by reading the same simple story over and over and over and over again alone and in groups.

e) Skip over words they do not know.

f) Substitute words that seem to fit the context of the story.

g) Predict (guess about) the words they think might come next in the story.


Common Core is a synonym for “insanity”

– doing the same thing over and over again

and expecting different results.


The child who is taught to read using Common Core methods should expect to see the same BAD reading habits of: 





Children shouldn’t be fearing words. 

Instead, our kids should be gaining the ability to approach new words confidently.   

They should be armed with the phonetic knowledge to correctly “sound through” every word on every page “from left to right.”


It’s so unfortunate for America’s children that our Common Core schools are giving out high grades and happy report cards to students who are good at guessing and memorizing words in order to convince their parents that their child can actually read. 


Moreover, and contrary to public education opinion:

a) Teachers using WHOLE WORDS in their WHOLE STORY reading groups will not teach our kids how to sound out, from left to right, every word on every page.  Sadly, WHOLE STORY reading groups WILL teach our kids that if they MEMORIZE a few hundred Dolch Sight Words proficiently, their teacher will give them a passing grade in reading.


b) Children working with other children quietly at their desks will not teach kids how to sound out words (ever heard of the blind leading the blind?).  


c) A word wall of phonics chunks will not systematically teach a child how to sound out words.  This is because throwing in “phonics chunks” to attack WHOLE WORDS on a hit and miss basis AFTER the student has already learned to GUESS and MEMORIZE words SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK! 


d) iSAIL does not teach our kids how to sound out words, and it will not teach your child how to fluently read trickster tales, fables, tall tales, biographies, information books or poetry, award-winning literature or all the words on the pages of their magazines, newspapers and electronic resources.  How could a child ever hope to do any of that if he hasn’t learned how to sound out every word on every page?).


Common Core is a synonym for “insanity”

– doing the same thing over and over again

and expecting different results.


You see, Common Core reading methods begin with tons and tons of whole word memorization that has been sparingly salted and peppered with implicit phonics instead of beginning our children out with individual letter sounds and moving them along into blending within a systematic structure of explicit phonics.  


Here’s how it goes down in today’s public school classroom. 


The teacher sticks a child in one of her three reading groups so he can read aloud with other children.


When the child comes to a word that he doesn’t know (and that’s not going to take very long) the teacher stops, points to the WHOLE WORD and then tries to explain to the student how to break the word up into syllables and blends.


I know, you’re saying, “Well, that should work, shouldn’t it?  Isn’t that what we want our children to learn?”


Yes, of course, but we wanted them to learn that BEFORE we stuck them in a kindergarten or first grade book loaded with lines and lines of unknown, multi-syllable words containing prefixes and suffixes and complex phonograms.  

We wanted them to learn to sound out words in a systematic, consistent way, starting with the smallest sounds (letter sounds), eventually blending those letter sounds together; and, then, through patience and practice, gradually gaining the ability to sound out bigger and bigger words with more and more syllables and blends.    


However, Common Core does just the opposite.  Common Core attempts to teach the mechanics of reading backwards.  How?

Common Core starts with THE WHOLE SENTENCE

That’s right; you read me correctly on that



You say, “…but the child hasn’t yet learned how to read all the words in the sentence.”


That’s right!!!!!!!!! He hasn’t!!!!!!!!! Are you seeing it?????


And learning to memorize and repeat and recite WHOLE SENTENCES and WHOLE STORIES isn’t going to teach a child how to sound out the thousands and hundreds of thousands of words he will encounter in his 4th grade and above textbooks.  

Do the math.  The most words a child can realistically memorize per year is between 100 to 300 words.  WHOLE LANGUAGE combined with salt and pepper phonics has never worked.   It never will work. 


Common Core is a synonym for “insanity”

– doing the same thing over and over again

and expecting different results.


Common Core reading methods are making the whole “learning to read” adventure IMPOSSIBLE!


Let me explain it another way. 


Let’s examine what’s happening to our kids in their Common Core reading groups by using the analogy of learning to drive a car. 


Suppose we want to teach a student how to drive a car safely on the highway.   


We would start by introducing the student driver to the steering wheel, the brake, the turning signals and by explaining what the purpose for each of those is.


Next, we would teach the student how to buckle up and then start the car.


Next, we would take the student on short runs around the parking lot.


Next, we would take the student on short runs down a non-busy city street.


Next, we would take the student for longer runs down busier streets.


Next, we would take the student for longer runs at higher speeds on the expressway.


I can see this clearly,

and I know YOU can, too. 

Learning how to drive starts out small

and progresses to bigger.


NOW, let’s suppose we decided to teach our student how to drive using “THE COMMON CORE METHOD.”


If we used Common Core in our Driver Ed Classes, we would need to start our young driver out on high speed runs, down busy, 4-lane expressways.


Next, if our student driver hits another car or if he slides off the road or if he accidentally drifts into the other lane, we will just pull him over to the side of the road and attempt to break down the problem by explaining to him what he did wrong.


For example, maybe he pressed down too hard on the accelerator.


Maybe his steering was a bit off.


Are you getting this?

The Common Core method

starts out COMPLICATED

and then CRASHES!  


You see, if we used the Common Core method to teach our children their driving skills, it would result in killing many of our students as well as many of their driving instructors.

In reality, Common Core is killing many of our students’ reading hopes, and it’s encouraging many of our teachers to quit the teaching profession altogether. 


Common Core sounds ludicrous, right?


Well, that’s not the worst of it.  The worst of it is that the Common Core instigators are actually bragging about their methods.


You see, learning to read using this Whole Word/Common Core method will teach children (it is claimed) to read 500 high frequency words in first grade.


However, this type of bragging is very, very, VERY deceiving because even if this pace can be achieved (and in soooooooo many cases, it is NOT achieved) these students will know only 6000 words by the end of high school.


Now 6,000 words sounds like a lot of words, right?  However, knowing how to read ONLY 6000 words wil leave that child semi-literate.


An even worse reality is this: Most of our Common Core students will end up only mastering between 900 to 1200 words by the end of the third grade.

Judged by its own claims, the whole word/whole sentence methods of COMMON CORE WILL NOT WORK!


You ask,

well, how many words

should a child

learn how to read

by the end of third grade

and by the

end of high school?


At the end of the third grade, a Common Core student will have learned how to read between 300 and 900 words

On the other hand, by the end of the third grade, a systematic phonics student will have learned how to read over 30,000 words.


At the end of high school, a Common Core student will have learned how to read approximately 6,000 words

On the other hand, by the end of his high school days, a systematic phonics student will have learned how to read over 1 MILLION words.


So what exactly am I proposing for a solution to the Common Core Reading disaster? 

The solution is simple: use a systematic, explicit phonics reading method instead of the Common Core reading method.


Of course that’s the solution; and by the way, I’m not the only one proposing this solution. To be sure, The RIGGS INSTITUTE has known for 23 years that students who learned to read using synthetic, systematic, explicit phonics methods could read, write and spell proficiently in a very short period of time. 


They also learned that it didn’t matter whether a student lived in a ritzy, influential neighborhood or in a low socio-economic neighborhood; if that student was trained to read using a systematic phonics program, that student was going to  read, write and spell more proficiently in a very short period of time.


Moreover, they proved that whether a child is Caucasian, Afro-American, Asian or Hispanic, ALL students learning to read using synthetic, systematic, explicit phonics reading methods would eventually read better, write better and spell better in a very short period of time. 


In fact, RIGGS discovered that kids who learned to read using systematic phonics instruction from the very beginning of their reading experience finished the first grade quite capable of: 

a) fluently reading from the World Book

b) spelling at 3rd to 7th grade levels

c) mastering the parts of speech

d) writing creatively with proper grammar, syntax, capitalization, punctuation and legible handwriting

e) having the ability to read and enjoy classical literature.


So, yes, you guessed it.  I’m proposing that you ignore what’s going on in your child’s public school reading circles and teach him to read at home using a simple, parent-friendly, step-by-step, ABSOLUTELY FREE systematic phonics reading program.  


Moms, Dads, I’m proposing that you DO NOT dump your child’s reading problem on his public school teacher. Your child’s school teacher is stuck with Common Core.

However, parents are NOT stuck with Common Core; and that’s great because parents are ultimately responsible for making sure their child can sound out every word on every page.


Folks, let’s do something about America’s reading problem. 

Let’s take the matter into our own parental hands. 

Let’s teach our children 

how to sound out every word on every page.


By the way, Dads, Moms, Grandpas, Grandmas, you can do that in an affordable manner.  You can do that by using an ABSOLUTELY FREE COMPLETE phonics curriculum coupled with 20 minutes of reading instruction each evening with your little guy or gal.



We are NOT limited by Common Core.


A Mom or a Dad or a Grandpa or a Grandma using the FREE Candy WAY Phonics COMPLETE Reading Curriculum can teach a child (and maybe even themselves) how to sound out every word on every page. 


The result will be: 

the adventure of books.



Carol Kay, President

Candy 4WAY Phonics