Why is English a Challenging Language to Learn to Read?

Why is English an especially challenging language to learn to read? It’s because the sounds that letters make in English can change in such unpredictable ways. In fact, in English there are 1,768 ways to spell 40 phonemes. That’s why English is one of the only languages in which the dictionaries have a pronunciation guide.


Consider the following sentence:

I knew in my head and heart that the theater bureau’s harsh reaction to the ocean & earth pageant, which I thought was a great, beautiful production, was mean spirited – though they included the caveat that their opinion was changeable.


In this one sentence, the “ea” letter combination has 13 different pronunciations. Standard phonics based reading instruction teaches children the rule that “when 2 vowels go walking, the first one does the talking.” But in the “ea” sentence above, only one of the 13 words with “ea” follows that rule. How can that be considered a rule when it applies in so few cases?



Reading Kingdom, on the other hand, uses a patented “Six Skill Method” to teach reading, in which teaching the sounds that letters make (phonology) is only one skill taught to children – and it’s taught in a way that enables students to learn the sounds of English letters in a context that makes sense – without any rules to memorize.


If you want to learn more about Reading Kingdom’s groundbreaking reading program, you can read “How Reading Kingdom is Different from Other Reading Systems” on our website or check out “The Reading Remedy”,  the book written by Reading Kingdom founder, Dr. Marion  Blank.  Sign up for a free 30 day trial to watch your children and students learn to read today!