How NOT to Teach Reading: Memorization

I Guess Not!

Part Three of a 12-part video series showing the flaws of common word reading strategies taught in schools– Moral: Do not teach struggling readers to guess or memorize!


Word Memorization – Auto the Otter Strategy

Fluent reading and writing require automatic reading and spelling of all common words. Many of the most common words in English are phonetically irregular (e.g., <to, too, two>), and that has led to the practice of teaching the most common words as sight words (i.e., words that must be read “on sight” –memorized as opposed to understood or analyzed).  However, this is not a good strategy because the spelling of most all phonetically irregular words still makes a great deal of sense when you look at the word’s meaning elements.


Watch the video below to see an example of this strategy compared to our approach, structured literacy.

How you can help your struggling reader

We want to give struggling readers specific, explicit, and systematic instruction so that they feel they can tackle unknown words. This is exactly how the Lexercise structured literacy approach works. Connect with one of our certified, structured literacy therapists here.

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Jennifer Salisbury

In 2004, Jennifer joined Teach for America as a special educator where she taught kindergarten through fifth grade. Her passion for reading instruction led her to be trained in a program based on the Orton-Gillingham method. After achieving significant results with her students, she began conducting trainings to help strengthen other teachers’ reading instruction. “My motivation as a teacher is to share my love of learning, and my gift has been working with struggling readers. There is no better feeling than to help someone become a strong reader and independent learner.” Jennifer earned a B.A. in Global studies University of California Santa Barbara and M.S. in Special Education from Lehman College.