Parents, researchers, and educators have long wondered why some children fail to learn to read when other children in the same classroom with the same curriculum have easily learned to read. Is there something wrong with those that fail to read? Do they have some sort of disorder? What factors do and do not play a role in reading failure?
The term is often used by those who believe that poor reading is due to a neurological disorder. The problem, however, is that this fails to consider normal variations of mental skills or abilities. Remember that reading has been invented and is not an innate, biological entity of just one part of the brain. In fact, we actually use numerous parts of our brain to read.
Deficiencies in particular mental skills, most often due to normal variation, not brain damage, are the neurological basis for a reading problem. Years of research on the brain have conclusively shown that those diagnosed as “dyslexic” do not have damage to any part of the brain.
Numerous other studies have also demonstrated a high correlation between the ability to read and the ability to manipulate sounds in words. Although this skill has been called many different things (auditory processing, phonemic awareness, phonetic awareness, phonological awareness, or phonological processing), it can be summarized as the ability to “unglue” sounds in words, blend sounds to form words, and analyze sounds within words.
In other words, many students with reading problems struggle to hear, analyze, and separate the individual phonemes in words. Furthermore, it has been shown that children don’t automatically learn to segment words into sounds simply because they are exposed to a reading system. In summary, research consistently shows that phonemic awareness is the major predictor of reading ability (independent of reading scores themselves).
Other factors that impact learning to read to lesser degrees include speech problems, attention and visual processing. Inheritance is also a factor. But poor reading is not inherited. Reading cannot be coded in genes anymore than other high skills like typing or playing a piano. What can be inherited is the tendency to have difficultly blending, segmenting, and analyzing sounds. But these problems can be corrected.
To correct these problems the student needs to develop the ability to:
- hear the individual sounds within words
- blend isolated sounds into words
- analyze and manipulate sounds within words
PACE includes procedures that evaluate, pinpoint and develop to advanced levels the underlying mental skills required to assure fast and efficient learning-to-read skills. Beyond this, the developers of PACE have also developed a revolutionary new sound-based one-on-one reading and spelling program called Master The Code. For more information see www.masterthecode.com.