The best way to teach reading is to teach students how to match letter sounds to the oral language system through decoding and encoding letter sounds (Clanton Harpine, 2019). There are no rules to memorize, and students are never allowed to guess at a word. Vowel clustering teaches students to decode or break words down into individual letter sounds or sound clusters and then to encode or reassemble those sounds back into pronounceable words. My vowel clustering method also teaches spelling, handwriting, oral reading fluency, comprehension, and story writing. All of my reading programs teach vowel clustering. Vowel clustering has been tested and proven to work with struggling, at-risk, and failing students. A student, who failed for nine years using balanced literacy and phonics, learned to read in 3 ½ years using vowel clustering. I have even had struggling students move up four grade levels in one year using vowel clustering. These were students who had failed multiple years in schools that taught whole language, balanced literacy, and phonics. So yes, we can teach students to read, but to do so, we must change the methods that we use to teach reading.
Children must be able to decode or take a word apart, letter sound by letter sound, and then put those letter sounds back together (encode them) and say the word correctly for children to be able to read effectively. To improve their comprehension, children must also learn the meanings of words.
Children learn to read from interventions that stress intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is motivation from within. Giving children rewards and prizes is extrinsic motivation,which is much less effective. As soon as the rewards go away, the reading stops. Instead, children learn to read because they want to read and enjoy reading rather than being forced or bribed to read. Children made the pop-up village in the picture above by reading written directions. They enjoyed the project, and reading helped them to accomplish it. This is intrinsic motivation.