The Most Effective English Teaching Methods

The English Teaching Method Debate

There have been many different theories and schools of thought over the years when it comes to methods of teaching English and reading. Since the majority of the population seems to read automatically and learns to read with little direct instruction, this tends to give the misconception that systematic reading instruction is unnecessary. Thankfully, studies conducted in the last decade have shown not only the benefits but the necessity of explicit phonics instruction for a solid English foundation.

English Teaching Methods Research and Findings

In April 2000, the National Institutes of Health released the findings taken from the all-inclusive study on methods of teaching English conducted by the National Reading Panel. The following is taken from that report:

“In the largest, most comprehensive evidenced-based review ever conducted of research on how children learn reading, a Congressionally mandated independent panel has concluded that the most effective way to teach children to read is through instruction that includes a combination of methods.

“The panel determined that effective reading instruction includes teaching children to break apart and manipulate the sounds in words (phonemic awareness), teaching them that these sounds are represented by letters of the alphabet which can then be blended together to form words (phonics), having them practice what they've learned by reading aloud with guidance and feedback (guided oral reading), and applying reading comprehension strategies to guide and improve reading comprehension.”

The study also gave conclusions on English teaching methods when addressing those with special-learning needs :

“For children with learning disabilities and children who are low achievers, systematic phonics instruction, combined with synthetic phonics instruction produced the greatest gains. Synthetic phonics instruction consists of teaching students to explicitly convert letters into phonemes and then blend the phonemes to form words. Moreover, systematic synthetic phonics instruction was significantly more effective in improving the reading skills of children from low socioeconomic levels. Across all grade levels, systematic synthetic phonics instruction improved the ability of good readers to spell.

Applying Findings to English Teaching Methods

Through current research, more educators and parents are becoming aware of the need for this method of teaching English, but most still do not know how to give instruction systematically and explicitly. This is where training becomes an important component to the effectiveness of this type of reading instruction. Reading Horizons offers FREE online training because we know how important this is, and we want to make it accessible to everyone

We can no longer assume that simply exposing kids to letters and sounds and having them read for the sake of reading will give them the skills necessary to help them become efficient at decoding and encoding. Taking the time to instruct learners in a multi-sensory fashion and giving them transferable strategies and skills will more than pay off. The way to ensure reading success is to employ this method of teaching English.