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Why Johnny Can't Read--And What You Can Do About It
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Why Johnny Can't Read--And What You Can Do About It

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  133 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The classic book on phonics--the method of teaching recommended by the U.S. Department of Education. Contains complete materials and instructions on teaching children to read at home.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published January 7th 1986 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published October 28th 1966)
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This is a highly opinionated book. It is inflammatory. Mr Flesch believes the educational system is completely misguided in their approach to reading. Although schools now say they use a 'balanced literacy' approach, locally our schools still follow the same outdated sight-words methods.. and Mr Flesch hit the nail on the head.

I loved it.

As a parent to a sight-words failure, this information is exactly what I needed. And it explains a number of issues my 'good' reader had as well (couldn't spell
Mar 01, 2011 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: moms and people who want to teach reading.
Shelves: nonfiction
Reading fascinates me. I went to college to prepare to teach young children to learn to read. In the end the math won out because it is so much more fun to teach all the way through school, and I really belong with older students.

This book is really important because it tries to show through the author's own experiments how much more effective phonics is than sight reading. This book was written in 1955 and newer experiments should be conducted to verify Flesch's results.

This book also includes
Jia Jung
The only reason I read this book is because my father was taught how to read from it (why this came about is a whole 'mother story)….and I'm so glad I did.

Flesch's impassioned writing had so much more verve and currency to modern language than one could ever expect out of a manual of English language and instruction, much less one written in the 1955. Also, everything he said was very true in a dire time; the dark ages between the 1920s and sometime around the 60s when the entire American educat
Jeff Ford
Great book! I found chapter two most enlightening. It is interesting that we tend to view knowledge as something that can be constantly improved upon. Education is constantly reinventing itself but not always for the better. I think the phonics approach as explained by Flesch makes perfect sense.
I am a strong advocate for teaching kids how to read using the phonics "method." I put method in quotes, because, until I came to live in the States (I grew up and went to school in France), I didn't know that there was any other method for teaching alphabet-based languages. But apparently there is.

When I went to school to get my grades 1-8 teaching certification, we were given an overview of the various ways of teaching reading. When I got my first job as a 3rd grade teacher, I found out that t
Samantha Penrose
I completely disagreed with everything that this man had to say aside from the fact that phonics kids grow up to be better spellers! He is merely a lawyer arguing his point as if it is fact. That is his job after all. He fully admits that kids who learn using the immersion technique are more fond of reading for enjoyment and have better comprehension. I see no point in rushing the process of learning to read if you cant understand and don't enjoy what you read. He brags about kids that can read ...more
Roseanne Wilkins
Hebrew is read right to left and then left to right, following the natural movement of the eye. It makes sense to read that way, but English isn't read the same way. According to Rudolf Flesch, teaching our children to read starts out with training their brains to work from left to right. At the back of the book are reading and writing exercises so you can teach your kids to read yourself. Although I sent most of my kids to public school and didn't teach them to read myself, the book was a great ...more
Feb 21, 2009 Huda added it
Recommended to Huda by: Dowz
Shelves: english-books
أ ُلف الكتاب عام 1955 ، طرح فيه الكاتب فكرة جديدة لتعليم الأطفال القراءة
والتي أستخدمت منذ ذاك الحين وحتى وقتنا الحاضر

نادى بإلغاء تقنية القراءة الصورية واستبدالها بالقراءة المعتمدة على الوعي بالوحدات الصوتية

وبنى فكرته على أساس أننا في القراءة الصورية نعتمد بشكل أساسي على إعطاء الكلمة للطفل بشكل متكرر ثم مطالبته بتخمينها كل مرة إذا أراد قرائتها
وهذا الشيء صعب التطبيق ؛ لأنه يستحيل علينا تقديم كل الكلمات الجديدة بالطريقة ذاتها

بينما نجد أن الأطفال سيتمكنون باستخدام الطريقة الجديدة من قراءة كلمات جديد
Zalee Harris
Regardless to age, Johnny and Twanna need to be taught life skills and be re-taught how to read using the purest form of phonics. Yes, whether Johnny or Twanna is 3 or 30, they need to be taught how to sound out the alphabet. They need to learn and understand the vowels. They need to learn to read properly formed sentences. They need to learn how to use the dictionary and thesaurus. When Johnny and Twanna can start learning on their own, they will want to learn more. Once they are able to self-l ...more
I am reading this now, even though C is 2, so that i can be "in the know" when she's ready to learn to read. While it is outdated by many years, its message is a good one...that teaching phonics thoroughly first is the easiest and most successful route to a good reader (and speller!!!!) and not just a good guesser of words. He includes a helpful section in the back of his book for use at home. Thanks for the recommendation, Gina! I can clearly see why you emphasized its importance. :)
I agree with the overall argument that phonics is the best way to teach children how to read. However, the tone of this book is often condescending, superior, and self-righteous. It is clear this book was written in the 1950s and is full of unsubstantiated claims and propaganda. A quick read, but dull and repetitive when he is preaching to the choir. Read it for my diss on child rearing in the 1950s or I would have put it down after the first chapter.
Kristen Rudd
This might have just become my top recommendation for parents who are interested in homeschooling their kids. I don't know where the whole language vs. phonics debate stands now, decades after this was written, but I am one hundred percent sold on phonics. If you have kids or are interested in education, read this book. I'm buying this one as soon as I can get to a bookstore.
I've been wanting to read this for awhile. Basically it's going to be a book about why teaching kids phonics is better than teaching them the look-and-say method when teaching beginning reading. I'm already a firm believer in phonics, but I'm reading this book to find out more about why phonics works so well and the look-and-say method doesn't.
Jessica Bingham
I must remember to buy this book when I have children. The reading exercises listed are so easy to follow. This book was written over 60 years ago and the information is still relevant. I also liked that Durham and Wake county school test results were listed from the 1930's. Interesting read!!
Pamela Fox
Interesting read. I have read bits and pieces, but still need to read from start to finish. Makes you really think about how children are currently being taught to read and what the best way to teach them may be!!!!
Refreshing read. If you think English is difficult to read, it is normal because the consonants and the vowels used in it NEVER reflect the accurate pronunciation of the words involved.
Skimmed for information for LIS 722 presentation about male readers. Interesting - but all in all not the book I thought it would be. Thanks for all the generalizations, Flesch!
Aaron Slack
An absolutely fantastic introduction to and summary of phonics, as well as a critique of look-say and whole language.
Goodbye Dick and Jane!!! Thank goodness someone out there is reasonable when it comes to proper reading education. :)
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From Wikipedia,

Rudolf Flesch (8 May 1911 – 5 October 1986) was an author, readability expert, and writing consultant who was an early and vigorous proponent of plain English in the United States. He created the Flesch Reading Ease test and was co-creator of the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test. He was raised in Austria and finished university there, studying law. He then moved to the United States
More about Rudolf Flesch...
The Classic Guide to Better Writing: Step-by-Step Techniques and Exercises to Write Simply, Clearly and Correctly The Art of Clear Thinking Art of Plain Talk The Art of Readable Writing Why Johhny Still Can't Read

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