If you believe Carmen and Geoffrey McGuinness, our children are in grave danger of becoming illiterates--and the McGuinnesses are the only ones who can save them. Reading Reflex
is an exhaustive how-to guide for the reading instruction method they've developed called Phono-Graphix. Phonics and whole language take a beating here, with the authors accusing both methods of failing generations of would-be readers. Their approach, unabashedly touted as far superior, stresses the 43 sounds of the English language, treating letters as symbols of these sounds. Phono-Graphix teaches children to separate each phoneme in a word so that the phonemes can later be blended back in the right order. If this sounds familiar it's because the same method was heralded in 1997 in the well-publicized book Why Our Children Can't Read
, by psychologist Diane McGuinness (Geoffrey's mother).
Parents may find the first long chapter on the history and process of learning how to read a bit tedious and technical. But since each chapter--and the method--builds on these thoughts, it's a must to read the book from cover to cover. Harder still is accepting the McGuinnesses' claim that Phono-Graphix has a 100 percent success rate. Much of the research cited in their book seems to have been conducted by the authors themselves, with no indication of comparison groups or follow-up studies. Still, numerous schools throughout the country and in England have adopted the method. And the McGuinnesses' tone of alarm may ring true for some parents frustrated with their children's struggles to read. Phono-Graphix represents a new alternative where none existed before. Future analysis by outside evaluators will show whether it deserves the confidence its creators possess. --Jodi Mailander Farrell
Nancy Loyd managing editor, Florida Primary Educator Reading Reflex gives parents everything they need to teach the young child who is ready to learn or the older child who is struggling.
Daily Telegraph (London) A sparklingly clear guide to teaching reading...Reading Reflex is the essential handbook for anyone who wants to teach reading at home or in the classroom.
Steve Truch director of The Reading Foundation The authors have done parents everywhere a great service. This book contains a well-researched and logical system of teaching children to read. It will go a long way in helping to meet the literacy challenge of the 21st century.