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Resources to Help Kids Thrive Newsletter

Teaching Kids to Read

A weekly update of content from childmind.org featuring parenting advice, in-depth articles, and the latest thinking on children’s mental health and learning disorders.

May 24, 2022

There’s big news in the world of reading — important for kids learning to read and especially kids who are struggling with reading. For years supporters of phonics-based approaches, which are supported by brain science, have been fighting a popular teaching philosophy called “balanced literacy,” which many schools still use. Now the most influential name in balanced literacy, Lucy Calkins, has acknowledged that teaching phonics works better.

How do you know if your school is using a phonics-based curriculum? Instead of focusing on sounding out words, balanced literacy teaches kids to read words using a number of strategies, including guessing at words from the context, or even the pictures. Some kids will learn to read no matter what curriculum is used, but for many others, especially those with dyslexia, phonics is the key to success. This week we round up our resources on how kids learn to read, the most effective way to teach them, and how to make sure kids with dyslexia are getting the support they need.

Related Resources

What's the Best Way to Teach Reading?

Why phonics trumps the popular “balanced literacy” approach.

How Kids Learn to Read

Brain science shows us how kids learn to read and the best way to support kids who are struggling.

Teaching Kids With Dyslexia to Read

Systematic phonics instruction is key to building skills and confidence.

Complete Guide to Dyslexia

What it is, tips for spotting telltale symptoms, and how to help.

Supporting the Emotional Needs of Children With Learning Disabilities

What to do when kids are struggling.

Tips for Recognizing Learning Disorders in the Classroom

Characteristics of learning disabilities that can hide in plain sight.