Reading Time

I am trying to teach my daughter how to read. Ok, so I have no clue what I am doing. I guess this is why you need all sorts of special certificates to teach these kinds of things in school. It is totally different than regular teaching, and there is supposedly some sort of methodology.

Of course going into it I had no idea about any of this other stuff either. I mean, *I* learned how to read, so why could I not teach someone else? Right? Except, yes, I know there was in fact a time when I was little and illiterate, and then something happened and I was no longer illiterate, even though still little. Yes, something happened. Some sort of process took place. And I don’t remember any of it. I have no recollections of a time when I didn’t know how to read.

So I went to one of those instructional stores for elementary and preschool kids hoping to get some advice and materials that might help with this process. Of course my first instinct was to take out one of the dozens of books Ally has and use it teach her how to read. That is apparently not how you do it.

I knew of one reading resource. I vaguely remember advertisements for it, but at that point I was already reading. In fact I think I was in middle school or high school or something. But I remember thinking it was pretty interesting. So, when I got to the child learning store I told them I wanted to teach my daughter how to read, and asked if they had Hooked on Phonics. I might as well have walked in there and told them I wanted to murder small babies and tiny kittens. They gave each other the “who allowed this woman to have children?” look and then informed me that that is a terrible way of teaching children to read.

They spent about half an hour telling me why Hooked on Phonics is Satan’s spawn, but nothing they said was terribly convincing. The longer they talked the more it sounded as though they weren’t so much advocating against Hooked on Phonics as trying to sell me something else. I became suspicious.

So I went online. Hooked on Phonics does indeed have a slew of people who don’t, for myriad reasons, agree with the methodology employed in teaching children to read. But it also has just as many people who vouch that their children received the desired results.

To make a long story slightly shorter, I went on Amazon and bought a starter kit for Ally. If she learns nothing from it, then we will have spent a few hours together and I am out $50. Worse things have happened.


  1. Phonics was how I learned, back in my twoness and threeness years. It seemed to work OK. For what it’s worth (nothing, actually), there are very few things for which I have less respect than I have for the current “School of Education” orthodoxy. Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” comes to mind…

  2. I don’t recall learning to read at any point, but I do remember learning languages in my threeness years… it was interesting to say the least, and I was actually in the middle of blogging about it right now…

    While I am not terribly fond of Vonnegut’s style, I cannot deny he has made some interesting and relevant points about society.

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