Distar Reading Program

There are competing schools of thought on how to teach reading in the public schools today. Before the beginning of the 20th century, reading was taught using a phonics approach. During this century, other approaches have been tried and have failed to teach a significant portion of the students enrolled in public school to read easily and fluently with comprehension. The popular whole language curricula is contrasted with Distar, a reading program developed in the 60s, which is gaining new acceptance in the educational community. Distar is also known as Direct Instruction. It has been shown to be the most effective method of teaching reading to all children (Benjamin, 1981, p. 71). It meets the criteria for a phonics based, explicit, and systematic curriculum. It is easy for teachers to use including scripted lesson plans to ensure effective teaching. Success is guaranteed as a student does not progress until he has gained mastery.

The preeminence of America in the world is at risk. The risk stems from an inability of the public education system to teach its students to read effectively. Individual students who are unable to read at grade level suffer defeat and frustration in all subjects. The frustration and lowered self-esteem these children experience put them at added risk to leave school before they graduate from high school. It also decreases the probability of the student continuing his education at either college level or in trade school (Teac



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