Problem / Solution

The Problem
When the average six-year-old child enters first grade, he or she already knows the meanings of about 26,000 words. They may not use all those words themselves, but they understand what the words mean when they hear them.

The goal of most first grade reading programs is for students to read between 200 and 600 common words by the end of the school year. Sadly, many students can’t even read 100 words by the time they finish first grade. In the United States, at least 40 to 45 percent of school aged children are below level in reading.

In fact, many of them never learn to read well at all. A landmark study by the federal government found that over half the adults can’t read material written at the sixth grade level. They can’t read street signs or the directions on a medicine bottle or fill out a job application. Almost 40 percent of American high school students drop out of school before graduating. Many other English-speaking countries report equally dismal results.

We now have an epidemic of illiteracy

Who’s to blame?
Although teachers are often blamed, it’s not their fault. It’s the fault of a defective reading instruction method. Early in the twentieth century, a small group of influential educators changed the way reading was taught. Prior to that change, nearly everyone who attended school learned to read in a very short time. In our large cities, over 90 percent of the adult population was fully literate. As schools began phasing in the new method, they abandoned the method that had been used successfully to teach reading ever since reading was first invented. As a result, we now have an epidemic of illiteracy.

Millions of children and adults are paying a terrible price because of what those early educators did. It causes huge problems throughout our entire society. Parents, schools and colleges spend billions of dollars annually in an effort to bring students up to basic reading levels. In the Coachella Valley of Southern California, The Desert Sun newspaper reported that 97 percent of freshman students in the local community college (College of the Desert) require remedial help in reading or math. Some prisons report that 80 percent of inmates are functionally illiterate. They are victims of a teaching method gone terribly wrong.

The Solution

A simple process
Learning to read is a simple process. Letters stand for sounds in almost all written languages. Just pronounce the sounds of the letters in order, and the word is pronounced automatically.

How it works
Sixteen letters almost always make just one sound each. These 16 letters are called the Constant Consonants. Anyone can learn their sounds quickly.

B D F H J K L M N P Q R T V X Z

So only ten letters make more than one sound. But these ten letters are the major cause of most reading problems. When properly understood, however, even first-graders can easily learn the sounds and a few rules for these letters.

A E I O U C G S W Y

Simple, logical rules
Each of these ten letters is dependent on rules for pronouncing them alone or in combination with other letters. Although they are easy to learn, hardly anyone teaches these rules.

For instance, there are four rules that dictate which sound an s will make, such as in sat, or rose. In sat, the s makes its own sound because it is the first letter of the word, but in rose s copies the sound of z because it is surrounded by vowels.

Was that hard? The other two s rules, and the rules for all the other letters, are just as easy to learn.

The ch combination has its own set of rules for its three sounds, as in chip, chrome and chef. These and other equally important rules are entirely omitted from nearly every reading instruction method, but are vitally important when learning to read. Of course, they are included in the Academic Associates method.

Students of all ages learn fast

Students of all ages learn fast
Students are gently led through a series of easy steps. As they respond, they automatically begin to read. It’s so easy they often don’t even realize they’re reading at first. In the very first lesson, every student, even those with severe learning disabilities, will read at least 300 words and be prepared to read thousands more.

That first lesson is usually completed in an hour or two, but very young students will require more time. When taught in a classroom of 20 beginning readers, more time may also be required.

A step-by-step protocol
Each lesson is taught in simple, step-by-step increments, with every new concept building on all the previous concepts, until students know everything they need to know to sound out nearly all of the words in the language. By the last lesson, most fifth-graders through adults read and spell college-level words, and comprehend material written on their appropriate level or higher.

Each lesson includes a targeted reading list which is completed during class. Students also complete a comprehensive written assessment for each lesson, which reinforces that lesson and all previous lessons. The assessments provide constant updates of the student’s status, while identifying any areas in which he or she needs further reinforcement. A student kit contains all their reading lists, completed assessments and rule cards for quick review.

The ultimate goal of reading—it’s not just phonics
The Academic Associates methodology is not just about phonics. If it were, then reading would be rendered to a slow, monotonous process as words were laboriously and methodically pronounced one-by-one. Although our method may appear at first glance to be similar to some other phonics-based methods, it is a radical departure from every one of them. It develops all the skills of reading.

After learning to read words, students are ready to begin using their skills to accomplish the ultimate goal of reading—rapidly and effectively extracting information and knowledge from written material. They are taught specific techniques for understanding and applying what they read, and reading becomes a pleasant, productive and relatively automatic activity. Students then discover that the more they read, the more they enjoy it and the better readers they become.

Most students finish the course within 30 to 60 hours

Can boys learn as well as girls?
Although males have traditionally been poorer readers than females, boys and men learn as quickly and as well as females with the Academic Associates method. Parents and teachers are often surprised to learn that there is no significant difference in learning to read between males and females with our method!

Most students finish the course within 30 to 60 hours, although a few take longer. Most gain at least two grade levels (years) in reading, and very often, more than two levels. Every student is different, and each learns at a different rate, so we progress through the course at the student’s optimum learning speed. Only very young students and about two-to-three percent of others (those with severe learning disabilities) may require more than 60 hours.

A secure, positive atmosphere
Students are taught individually or in small classes by patient, caring Reading Instruction Specialists, and are never embarrassed or blamed for their reading difficulties. Old barriers and limitations crumble and self-confidence and self-esteem escalate rapidly.

World’s most effective method
The Academic Associates method has helped thousands of students of all ages and many different ethnic and language backgrounds in the U.S. and several other countries. It even helps with accent reduction. It works consistently, even after all other methods have failed. It is unquestionably the most effective reading instruction methodology in the world. (Click on the section entitled, Successes! in the column at your upper left.)

Learning disabilities
We’ve taught students from four years of age to 72, and they all learned to read. Although they typically began as the poorest readers in their schools—some with dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, autism, Aspergers syndrome, stroke, developmental delay, fetal drug and alcohol syndrome, Savant syndrome, Tourette syndrome, auditory processing deficit, etc.—we taught them all to read. If they can speak reasonably well, they can learn to read, as can those with speech impediments.

A small percentage of students will never read fluently due to atypical neurological development or extensive brain trauma from accidents, surgery, disease, or other severe learning disabilities, but even they will advance to the upper limits of their capacity.

Advanced students advance farther
The course is not just for students who are experiencing difficulty. Those who already excel will receive a welcome boost toward even greater success. Many of these students gain several additional grade-levels (years) in reading ability. They experience a rocket-like boost to their overall reading skills.

Free evaluation
Let us show you how the Academic Associates course can work for you. Other centers may charge as much as several hundred dollars for a reading evaluation. Our free, no obligation evaluation will demonstrate beyond question your student’s reading status, and show you exactly what he or she needs in order to succeed.

We will use one or more standardized tests to assess the student’s reading proficiency level. We will also use our own proprietary Assessment of Basic Word-Attack Skills to pinpoint the reasons for deficiencies, if any, and explain in detail what the student needs in order to become a proficient reader.

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