The Atlantic

How I Taught My Kid to Read

Children can learn quickly by sounding out words, letter by letter—but somehow, the method is still controversial.
Source: Isabel Pavia / Getty

Now that it’s summer, I have a suggestion for how parents can grant their wee kiddies the magic of reading by Labor Day: Pick up Siegfried Engelmann’s Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. My wife and I used it a while ago with our then-4-year-old daughter, and after a mere 20 cozy minutes a night, a little girl who on Memorial Day could recognize on paper only the words no and stop and the names of herself and her family members could, by the time the leaves turned, read simple books.

My wife and I are not unusually diligent teachers. The book worked by, quite simply, showing our daughter,

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