Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science


How many phonemes are there in the English language?

How many different ways are there to represent these sounds in written English?

What is the difference between a phoneme and a syllable?

What is a morpheme?

These basic facts about the study of language –and the English language in particular – should be known and understood by all teachers, not just those who teach language as a subject. For teachers of reading they are essential. And there is much, much more to learn; yet how many teachers are even aware of this knowledge, let alone familiar with it? For an overview, we recommend the excellent short book by Professor Louisa Moats whose title we have appropriated for this post.

Moats asserts that “the difficulty of teaching reading has been underestimated” and that teacher preparation courses have not equipped teachers adequately to ensure students succeed in this most essential academic skill…

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