What causes Reading Failure?
There are two main causes of reading failure.
First, reading depends on the development of neural pathways in the brain during the first eight years of life. Automatic reading is delayed when the pathways in the left and right hemispheres are not sufficiently coordinated.
Second, unlike most written languages, English is not phonetic. Written words cannot reliably be sounded out. In the example below, for instance, the vowel combination 'ea' is pronounced 16 different ways.
"How on earth would you react to the creation of a bureau for treating heart, ears and head next to an eatery and a theatre. The idea is to bear the treatment, follow with a beautiful meal of steak or ocean bream and then meander on to see, maybe, Sean Bean."
Instructing the pupil to "sound it out" just adds to the confusion. There is no indicator to tell the reader how to pronounce each "ea"
When words are wrongly read or, more commonly, not read at all, the meaning of the text is lost and motivation to continue reading disappears. For many pupils reading stops permanently at that point because it is too hard. This can be the beginning of a cycle of literacy failure. Increasingly symptoms of behaviour disorder, low self-esteem, anxiety, attention deficit, depression and autistic traits are associated with inability to read, with school refusal and later chronic unemployment.
All of the above is compounded if the student has dyslexia or dysgraphia.