Strong Tree, Solid Treehouse
The Reading Treehouse is supported and sheltered
by the Language Tree.
Reading requires some visual skill--but a whole lot of language.
Children need an adequate language foundation to begin the job of learning to read.
They need ever-growing language to read at higher levels as they get older.
Readers use language skill to ‘sound out’ a word.
Readers need to name letter-sounds quickly, remember the series of sounds, and blend them together into a word.
Naming sounds, remembering sounds, and blending sounds
are language skills.
Another language skill is figuring out what that funny-sounding word actually must be.
Written language is a somewhat different language.
The written vocabulary is larger . . .
Written sentences are longer and more complicated . . .
Written ideas are more involved . . .
. . . than in most spoken conversation.
Spoken conversation is typically equivalent to perhaps a third-grade reading book.
To climb higher than conversational-level reading,
students need more than Phonics and visual skills.
They need to keep growing in language.
Children do not spend enough hours in school to expand their language adequately.
Parents need to talk and read with their children in order to help grow their language.
Read aloud to children who are already reading--
it helps their language to grow!
The nature and process of reading are well-understood.
We know how literacy is built upon language.
If we cooperate, we probably know enough to teach 99% of students who can hear and see, and understand spoken language.
Of course, deaf and blind children learn to read too.
This site does not present information especially for their needs, though.
Literacy is the most complex language skill.
Many learners still struggle, for different reasons.
Reading failures lead to finger-pointing and accusations of ‘wrong methods.’
Some proponents of Phonics, decry Sight Words,
and declare war on ‘Whole Language.’
Some ‘Whole Language’ advocates have been opposed to ‘Phonics’
--as if the sounds of language were not part of the whole of language.
This controversy is crazy.
I don’t hear carpenters arguing this way.
First carpenter: Hammers are what you need to build a house!
Second carpenter: Not at all! Give me a saw any day!
Third carpenter: You’re both wrong! Blueprints are what really work!
Clearly, all of these tools, and more, are required to build a decent house.
Literacy is at least as complicated as carpentry.
The truth is, all readers need ALL the tools, if at all possible.
But children deserve to begin in a way that is successful for them.
Children who struggle at the beginning, may lose confidence in their ability to learn.
They may become fearful.
It is really hard to learn when you are stressed or fearful.
And then well-meaning helpers may conclude that the child has dyslexia.
Children need to begin right where they are, at the point of their success.
They can learn all of the skills more easily, once they have a successful start.
Teachers deserve to be empowered with all of the tools, and with the flexibility to make them work for each child.
It all begins, and ends, with the Language Tree.