How Complicated Is Reading?

I was talking to a friend the other day who mentioned how complicated reading English is compared to other languages, like German. I don't read any other languages so I have nothing to compare with, but how complicated is it really to understand the written words of English? If we go by the amount of people who struggle with it, we would say it must be extremely complicated. However, is it recognizing the words that is hard or is it the methods used to teach word attack skills that are complicated?

We all know that English is one of the richest languages in the world because we "borrow" words from almost every other language in the world - including dead languages. This makes it seem complicated, but when you know the phonetic rules about 80% of English's almost one million words are either phonetic or have large phonetic components. That leaves only 20% that are irregular [like laugh or rough] which simply have to be learned.

English has 26 letters which only make 44 sounds. Out of the 26 letters, 16 letters almost always make the same sound. That only leaves 10 letters that habitually make more than one sound.

So why do so many people struggle with comprehending the written word? The fault is not with the people who struggle - many are very intelligent people. The reason is that reading is made unnecessarily complicated by talking about "hard" or "soft" sounds [no such thing really], and teaching more consonant blends than are necessary, and giving long lists of words to memorize.

Academic Associates teaches reading in small simple steps. By the end of the first lesson [usually 1-3 hours] every student, no matter how young, will have read out loud 300 words. The entire course only takes 30 - 60 hours of instruction on average and the student will be empowered to read everything they want to read.

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