Archive for the how to teach an older child to read Category

FREE PHONICS CURRICULUM – because YOUR Child Can’t Read!

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It is now the middle of the summer, and you have been trying to encourage your child to read fun books, and, well, he/she simply DOESN’T WANT TO READ.


Is it because he/she CAN’T READ?


Are you wondering why on earth your child, who’s gone to the public schools every day, has made it past the 3rd grade and still CANT READ? 


This is because our schools DO NOT offer systematic phonics in their reading instruction.  It’s true, and most of the teachers in our public schools wouldn’t have a clue how to teach systematic phonics even if they were told to use it for their reading method.  However, that’s not their fault! Systematic phonics instruction is NOT one of their required subjects in college. In fact, MOST colleges do not even offer a systematic phonics instructional reading course even as an elective course. 


I know, I know, your child’s teacher told you that he/she DOES teach phonics.  Well, he/she does NOT teach systematic, explicit phonics, and that makes all the difference in the world.  For certain, the “phonics” offered in our public schools today is NOT explicit systematic phonics. It is implicit, embedded phonics sprinkled in tiny amounts on top of LARGE servings of look/say whole-word memorization reading methods.


This is why the Candy 4WAY Phonics Program was specifically written for Moms and Dads – to help them solve this reading crisis with their own child, no matter what age their child is.


If a child is taken step by step, lesson by lesson, and taught the letter sounds, how to blend those sounds from left to right, and taught, step by step, lesson by lesson, all the phonograms that make up those sounds, that child will learn how to read unless he has a neurological disadvantage.


If you would like to learn systematic phonics yourself while you are teaching your child to read using a parent-friendly, systematic phonics curriculum, step-by-step, lesson by lesson for ABSOLUTELY FREE, click here.   Make certain that YOUR CHILD learns how to sound out every word on every page for the rest of his/her life?


Children who have difficulty reading represent a virtual cross-section of American children.  They include rich and poor, male and female,rural and urban and in all sections of our great nation.


Sadly, the latest NAEP assessment scores tell us that the number of older children who CANNOT READ has now become a grave, NATIONAL problem. Tests also confirm that the biggest stumbling block for ALL of these non-reading children is THE FACT that they NEVER learned to recognize what reading experts call “phonemes.”


Candy 4WAY Phonics offers 100 lessons of every phoneme your child will ever need to know in a parent-friendly, easy-to-use curriculum for ABSOLUTELY FREE!  Why is it 100% FREE?  It’s ABSOLUTELY FREE because the author of this program is FED UP with the fact that our children CANNOT READ!  


We truly believe that our ABSOLUTELY FREE COMPLETE PHONICS-FIRST CURRICULUM can’t be beat!




Carol Kay, President

Candy 4WAY Phonics

When an Older Child Struggles with Reading

Posted in FREE PHONICS FIRST CURRICULUM, Free phonics lessons, free phonics readers, how to teach an older child to read, my older child struggles with reading | Comments Off on When an Older Child Struggles with Reading

When an older child


falls behind in reading,


he inevitably falls behind


in every other subject area. 


When an older child struggles in reading and if he has been tested and no neurological disorder has been found, then it’s time to consider that this older child is lacking in phonics skills.  In the nation’s capitol, for example, the percentage of older students past 3rd grade who cannot read at grade-level is between 60 and 70 percent.


Fortunately, when poor readers at any age exhibit weaknesses in phonological processing, word recognition speed and reading accuracy, the problem can be remedied with systematic phonics instruction.  However, that instruction is only effective if the student is taught to sound out words starting with the smallest segment of sound, individual letter sounds, and then lead into lessons involving two and three-letter blends, digraphs, long and short vowel rules, word endings and then a systematic progression of all the phonograms. 


When older children do not start again at the very beginning of phonics instruction, they later suffer with poor spelling, slow reading fluency, deficient vocabulary development and ultimately, low reading comprehension.  You will seldom find these struggling students succeeding in a college classroom, and that’s such a crime because the whole struggle could have been stopped; the whole problem could have been fixed. 


If an older student does not go back to the very beginning of phonics lessons, he will never break his habit of reading whole words by sight; he will never learn to approach a word by looking for and blending together its individual letter sounds and blends; he will never learn to sound out every word on every page. 


I’ve had parents ask me, “Does my older son or daughter really have to start at the very beginning of phonics lessons in order to learn to read phonetically? 


I always answer them with, “Yes! Absolutely! You want your child to learn how to sound out every word on every page.”  

You see, the ability to hear and isolate individual sounds in words (phonemic awareness) is a major skill that most older students who struggle in reading have not mastered. Rather, they have memorized whole words without knowing the individual letter sounds and blends that make up those words.  Moreover, they have not learned a proper left/right reading sequence, for the sounds within words should always be blended together from left to right.  Oh, there are many, many older students who may have caught a sound or a blend here and there, but that’s just the point.  It’s a hit and miss situation, and they deserve to have the same amount of phonetic instruction, from beginning to end, as that of a younger student learning to read for the first time using a step-by-step, systematic phonics curriculum.   


However, remember, these older students will be going through the simple lessons at the beginning of a phonics curriculum at a much faster speed than a younger child.  The important thing is that they need to begin at the beginning of a systematic phonics program to make certain that they have grasped every phonemic skill that they will need to read textbooks at higher reading levels.  Remember, eventually, they will need to absorb college level texts, and so they will need to know every sound and every blend in every word in order to never again struggle in reading.     


Frequently, a mom or a dad feels that they can skip the beginning blending and reading lessons of the phonics curriculum because their older son or daughter already knows many of the three and four letter words used in the lessons.  Again, naming the words and being able to isolate the individual sounds inside the words are two completely different matters. Isolating and blending sounds will make all the difference later on, so this is a foundation that all students need. 


Also, parents many times feel that the beginning blends and sentences are too childish etc. and as a result, they never really get started at all because they aren’t certain where to begin.  Sadly, they feel that it’s a waste of time to start their older student at the beginning of a phonics curriculum claiming that it will take too long for them to learn what they need to learn.  It’s at this point that I often share the following story:


A 40-year-old woman with no college degree worked in the lunch room for minimum wage at her local school. She began to consider going to college to get a degree in social services, for she daily observed many at-risk children she felt she could help if she only had the appropriate degree and the correct training. 


One day, while she was talking to her close friend in the lunch room about her plan to go to college, she explained her hesitation, “It’s going to take me four years before I graduate; I’ll have to start at the very beginning of college, and I will be going to school with a great many students younger than me.  Not only that, but I’ll be 44 years old by the time I graduate with only eighteen years left until I can draw social security.” 


Her wise friend asked, “And if you don’t go to school, in four years, how old will you be, and what will you be doing?”


The woman replied, “I guess I will still be working here in the lunch room and still seeing many at-risk students that I would like to help.  Hmmmm!  I guess I’d better enroll in college right away. I guess I need to get started.”


The moral of this story is this: No matter how late you start and no matter how far back you have to go to begin, the sooner you get started, the sooner you will finish. However, if you don’t start back at the beginning, you’ll never learn everything you need to know in order to do everything you want to do.


Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, teaching an older child to read is not difficult.  Your time in teaching must, however, be carried out on a daily basis following a correct systematic phonics program.  Your child can learn to sound out every word on every page, but it is vital that you begin your student at the beginning, and allow him the time to go through every necessary phonics lesson.

Click here and CHECK US OUT 

We are a COMPLETE Synthetic Phonics Curriculum


the Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum is



The Candy 4WAY Phonics Curriculum includes step-by-step phonics lessons, multi-sensory helps, flashcards, phonics readers, and lifetime rhyming phonics charts.  It will carry any student from the very beginning phonics lessons all the way through a 4th grade reading level and higher.

Upon completion of all the lessons and readers, your student will have learned every sound and every blend necessary to sound out every word on every page. After that, his reading practice and trips to the library will truly pay off.



Carol Kay, President

Candy 4WAY Phonics



P.S. Please, don’t forget to Click here and read little Candy’s TRUE STORY – a little girl who struggled in reading.   

P.P.S. “Reading activates and exercises the mind.  Reading forces the mind to discriminate. From the beginning, readers have to recognize letters printed on the page, make them  into words, the words into sentences, and the sentences into concepts.  Reading pushes us to use our imagination and makes us more creatively inclined. . . The doors of the world are opened to people who can read.” (Dr. Ben Carson)


Young Children Who Struggle in Reading Soon Become Older Children Who Struggle in Reading!

Posted in children who struggle with reading, how to teach an older child to read, my child can’t read, when kids can’t read | Comments Off on Young Children Who Struggle in Reading Soon Become Older Children Who Struggle in Reading!


 The other day

I read a statement 

made by a current

American educator

that talked about today’s classroom methods

for teaching our children

how to read,

and I was just grieved at the absurdity of what it said. 

It indicated that young children

need to begin

their reading education

with a two-step process:

Step 1 – Learn to

sight read whole words

Step 2 – Learn to

break down those whole words

 into smaller segments.

This is absurd

because it’s a backwards way

to learn to read.


I printed the statement,

(see below)

and then

I put the words and ideas

that concerned me

in blue letters.


 Here’s how the complete statement read:  

“ Phonological processing is one of the earliest requirements for successful reading. This is the understanding of how letters correspond to different sounds in a language, such as, how a ‘d’ sounds like “duh” and “w” sounds like “wuh.” …But this concept can be complicated for little minds to grasp. First, children have to be able to break words down into individual letters, assign the letters to sounds, and blend the sounds together to make a word. Breaking words apart into individual sounds, or phonemes, can be tough. This skill is called decoding, referring to the idea that reading is breaking a “code” of letters and sounds. Kids who have difficulty at this level of reading are often noticed in kindergarten or first grade when these skills are taught.” 


Ok, so why does it bother me that this statement claims that children should start their reading education by:

First –  learning to sight read whole words


Second – learning to break those whole words apart?


I am concerned because a grave number of children who learn to read in this backwards way quickly become struggling readers.  They never learn to sound out words from left to right.


Moreover, these young children who struggle in reading soon grow into older children who struggle in reading.    

Let’s examine more closely some of the current classroom ideas shared in the statement (ideas printed in blue) that I truly believe to be backwards methods of reading instruction in order to understand why children should not start their reading education learning to sight read and memorize “whole” words. 


The following statements

printed in blue

are the current

educational ideas

that I believe

should concern us:

A)   this concept can be complicated for little minds to grasp. First, children have to be able to break words down into individual letters

Why is this statement incorrect?  Why are little children (“little minds”) required to break apart “whole” words to get to the smaller letters so they can “figure out” the sounds of the letters? This strategy used in American schools across this nation, this strategy of giving beginning readers whole words to memorize and break apart, is completely backwards.  Little children should not start out reading “whole” words.  Instead, little children should first learn the individual letter sounds that make up those whole words. After that, children should learn how to blend those sounds together to form words.  Eventually, they will learn how to  sound out every word on every page they encounter, sounding out each word from left to right.  


B)   children have to…assign the letters to sounds

Why is this statement incorrect?  Beginning readers should not be given the task of sight reading big words and then matching the sounds they hear in those big words to the letters that represent those sounds.  This is backwards.  Yet this is what American public schools are doing.  Our educational classroom methods are asking children to sight read big words before they have learned the sounds inside those big word and how to blend those sounds together in order to read those big words.      

When little children are taught to sight read and memorize whole words without first learning to blend together all the letter sounds within those words, they are learning to read through a method called “embedded phonics.”  Embedded phonics is not real phonics, and it is dangerous. Embedded phonics coupled with the sight-reading/guided reading techniques in our schools today is causing enormous numbers of children to “guess” at words.  Click here to read more about the difference between explicit phonics and embedded phonics.    


 C)   Breaking words apart into individual sounds, or phonemes, can be tough

 Why is this statement incorrect?  It’s incorrect because it should be tough to break words apart.  Of course, our classrooms have made it tough by teaching our children to sight read and memorize whole words instead of first teaching our children the individual letters and blends inside those words.  It creates quite a problem for a child when he is asked to break apart a “whole” word into its individual letter sounds when he doesn’t know what those letter sounds are or what they sound like.  The task before him quickly becomes nothing but a big guessing game.  Learning to read should not be an overwhelming task.  Learning to read is a step-by-step process of learning letter sounds. learning to blend those sounds together from left to right, so that in time, a child can sound out every word on every page.   


D)   reading is breaking a “code” of letters and sounds

Why is this statement incorrect? 

  • Learning to read DOES NOT require children to break a code of letters and sounds.   

  • Learning to read DOES require children to learn the code of letters and sounds. 

  • In other words, children who are still trying to break the code of individual letter sounds within “whole” words are children who have never learned the code of letters and sounds in the first place.


E)   Kids who have difficulty at this level of reading are often noticed in kindergarten or first grade when these skills are taught.”

Why does this statement cause me grief?

 It grieves me because most of these kids should not be having difficulties learning to read.   

It grieves me because: 

  • None of those children are acquiring the necessary skills to recognize the sounds represented by individual letters.


  • Most of those children will make up the 8 million kids who are going to reach grades 4 through 12 that are still struggling to read.


  • Most of those children will make up the 70% of kids who will not be reading at grade level by the time they reach the 8th grade.


  • None of those children will have access to the rich morsels of the English language, of their country’s history, of mathematical concepts, of current events, of literature, or of science when they enter the fourth grade that they could have had access to if they’d learned to read correctly when they were little.


  • So many of those children are going to mistakenly be labeled with dyslexia and other reading difficulties when, in fact, if they’d learned to sound out words correctly when they were little, they would have never struggled in reading at all. 



Fortunately, it is NOT TRUE that the older a child is, the more difficult it is to teach him or her to read.

Fortunately, it is NOT TRUE that the window of opportunity to learn to read closes when a child gets older.

Fortunately, it is NOT TRUE that if a child can’t read by the end of third grade, odds are that he or she will never catch up.

Fortunately, it is NOT TRUE that children who have struggled in reading must continue dealing with a low self image. 

Fortunately, it is NOT TRUE that children who have struggled in reading must continue battling with frustration, anger, and defeatism.


Children, both young and old,

who are taught to read

with a step-by-step phonics-first curriculum

do not need to face all those struggles!



Am I saying that many, many children in America

who are struggling in reading

could learn to really and truly read

– that their whole reading “problem”

could disappear completely?  

You bet I am! 

A good many of these children

(and I mean a great many of these children)

who cannot read

can learn how to read every word on every page.


They just need to start again with a curriculum that works – a step-by-step, parent/friendly curriculum that teaches them the individual letter sounds, how to blend those letters together, and moves on to teach them, one step at a time, all the rest of the letter blends and phonograms that they will ever need to know to be able to sound out every word on every page.  Older kids and children who cannot read can learn to read.  They can learn to read with speed and fluency.  They can learn to read so that they can begin to understand what they read.   

Check it out:


Carol Kay, President

Candy 4WAY Phonics (a company that believes in children)

P.S.  One reason I relentlessly post blogs that correctly describe a workable reading process is because families whose children struggle in reading, or families with parents who have reading difficulties themselves, often do not want to talk about their child’s reading struggles.  It is my hope that by offering the Candy 4WAY Phonics blogs and by making an affordable COMPLETE curriculum available to these families, that they will no longer have a reading problem to talk about.