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Learning To Read

Reading in the United States has been taught in a number of different ways. Until the late 1800’s, an “ABC”-style of teaching was used. Students would learn to sound out each letter. After that, students would learn two-letter syllables and how they sound, then three-letter syllables, and so on.

Two alternative methods of teaching children to read came out of this:

  1. The phonic method. Students were taught to recognize words by its sounds rather than the names of letters used in the word.
  2. Visually recognizing the whole words before sounds or letters. This was eventually extended to recognize whole sentences rather than words. This style gained some popularity during the 1920s and 1930s, but the phonic method ended up as the dominant style.

Several other teaching styles have since been created.