Reading connected print helps a child to practice fluency skills. Good fluency helps a child to have good comprehension. Comprehension is the entire reason for reading. A child reads to get information from connected print!

The reality is that many parents spend two or more hours each day reviewing phonemes and spelling words. Their children may spend only two minutes a day reading connected print.

Research shows that the more a child reads, the better he reads. It is simply the number of connected words read each day that adds up to improved reading skills. A child who reads forty-five minutes of connected print per day has a great advantage over a child who reads two minutes per day.

Merging Phonics with Whole Language
The best reading program teaches phonics, phonemic awareness skills, and has a child practice them by reading good, connected print. For example, a child can learn the st blend by doing a fast flashcard drill, playing an auditory game blending st words, and reading about the storm when Jesus told the wind and the waves to "Be still!"

The reality is that Junior may be able to read after learning forty-nine phonemes. But only if he has learned them to an automatic level, and if he has played lots of phonological awareness games, and is applying the phonemes by reading connected print.

Mr. Phonics and Mrs. Whole Language seemed to be happy with my answer. Hopefully, their reading battles are over. They can enjoy peaceful evenings reading a newspaper, while Junior practices letter n by reading about Noah in his Bible storybook.

Peggy M. Wilber is a teacher, author, and speaker with a mission of helping children learn to read well. She has been diagnosing and remediating elementary and middle school children's reading disorders since 1987. Her education includes a Masters of Education from Boston University and Certification in Early Childhood Reading Instruction from University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, specializing in integrating reading methodologies.  Peggy has worked alongside the team at Cook Ministries to create Rocket Readers a biblically based reading program designed to teach children to read using Scripture. Visit www.cookministries.com

1. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics, "Executive Summary," of The Nation"s Report Card: Reading 2002,   NCES Number: 2003521 Release Date: June 19, 2003,
  
2. Sally Shaywitz, et al., "Functional Disruption in the Organization of the Brain for Reading in Dyslexia," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 95 (March, 1998): 2636-2641.