≫ Publisher: Wayne State University Press
Leonard Bloomfield and Clarence L. Barnhart
≫ ISBN: ISBN-10, 0814311156; ISBN-13, 978-0814311158
≫ Paperback: 468 pages / 8 x 10
About the book:
Let's Read presents a simplified method of teaching reading based on the alphabet and centered around spelling patterns. it teaches the child one thing at a time.
Leonard Bloomfield (1887-1949), one of the greatest linguists of our time, created these lessons based on firm scientific principles so that he could teach his own children to read.
Let's Read was published for the first time by Wayne State University Press in 1961. It has been reprinted many times, and is a recognized classic in the field of reading instruction.
- First Reading
- Easy Reading
- More Easy Reading
- The Commonest Irregular Words
- The Commonest Irregular Spellings of Vowel Sounds
- The Commonest Irregular Spellings of Consonant Sounds
"The system is totally orderly, totally logical, and virtually foolproof. It is strictly a reading system. Reading is means, process, and end."
— Charles C. Walcutt, Council for Basic Education (CBE) Bulletin
"Let's Read may well be the most important book on beginning reading in our time; the important point is that here is a new methodology soundly based on psychology and linguistics . . . The lessons are ingeniously constructed to induce smooth, rapid progress. Let's Read is not just another reading text; it is a new system."
—Russell Cosper, Journal of Reading Development
Still one of the best after 40 years — By Pizzercat "pizzercat"
There are other, newer books out there which provide phonics-based instruction, but this reading book is still one of the best. And it's simple: no distracting pictures, no strange marks differentiating long and short vowel sounds. It works (as research has repeatedly proven in the 40 years since the book was written) because it relies on phonics and introduces phonemes in an order which logically builds on previously learned material. It's very repetitive, yes -- but that's how our brains learn.
My mother used "Let's Read" more than 30 years ago to teach me (at age 5) and my brothers (at age 4) to read. She also used it to teach a mentally retarded adult to read through an adult literacy program, and she used it again to provide remedial assistance to a 6th grader who was a victim of the whole language approach to reading. More recently, I used "Let's Read" to teach my then 5-year-old son to read. He was diagnosed with apraxia of speech when he was 2, so learning to talk and learning to read were difficult for him. He now reads several years ahead of his grade level. I also used the book to teach my second son to read, starting at age 4. This book works.
Teach your child with this book — By Joseph C. Varilly
When my oldest child was six years old, I came across Let's Read in a library. It was ideal for teaching not only reading, but also spoken English: though my children's first language is Spanish, they soon became completely bilingual. A short session
each evening, working through this book, gave them a wonderful head start with formal schooling. I was overjoyed to see it still in print. I concur completely with "A Reader" who called it "an astounding find". Whether your children's school is good or bad, this book will change their lives, and yours too.
This book is great! — By A Customer
Everything Bloomfield guessed about teaching reading has been confirmed by modern neuroscience. This is the best approach to teaching reading because it works with how the human brain processes language. It is even better than phonics. Children who learn to read with this system will be able to read nearly everything by the time they are in junior high.
An astounding find — By A Customer
I have joyous memories of learning to read from Lets Read when I was three, and my mother, who taught one of my brothers and me, still speaks of it fondly. So when I went on line, without much hope, to try to find a copy for my small niece, I was thrilled to see that it was still in print.
What a shock, however, to discover that it was written by the linguist Leonard Bloomfield! It appears that he devised the method and materials for his young son, who wanted to learn to read.
Looking at it now, as an adult (and, coincidentally, a one-time linguist), I find the book's approach fascinating. It is based, seemingly, on a simple assumption: that if you give children carefully controlled examples that demonstrate specific rules of written English, they will extrapolate and internalize those rules on their own without too much conscious effort. Bloomfield went systematically through the English language, figured out the rules of representation of sound in our occasionally bizarre writing system, and grouped words together in ways that demonstrate the rules automatically to an absorbent young mind.
There is no commentary for the child, no lesson as such, merely words combined to make them easy to master as one acquires a broader and broader knowledge base. The heavy use of rhyme adds to the pleasure, for the child, and is part of the system at first. The text advances from two, three or four word sentences at the beginning ("Nan can fan Dan. Can Dan fan Nan?") to a complex "big kid" story at the very end. It is a relaxed and enjoyable program and very accessible to a child who wants to learn to read but is still too young to go to school. It assumes an eager child and a mild schedule of perhaps 15 minutes per day for several months. A patient and willing teacher (I was extremely fortunate in mine) is also a necessary part of the deal.
Bloomfield's introduction remarks: "Purely formal exercises that would be irksome to an adult are not irksome to a child, provided he sees himself gaining in power." The phrase reflects precisely the sense of empowerment that I as student and my mother as teacher vividly remember coming with each successive chapter.
Of course, it is more than 50 years now since Bloomfield and his colleague Clarence Barnhart (who learned of the materials when he mentioned to Bloomfield that he was looking around for a text to teach his own child) first began to look for a publisher. The reading samples in the Let's Read text, once you move beyond the "Dan Nan fan" stage, are unmistakably dated. It's startling to remember that in 1949 textbook mothers ironed and cooked while fathers took trains to work. The Nans and Dans would probably divide up their activities differently now, but I did not see anything in a quick glance-through that made me terribly worried of fostering an anti-feminist brainwashing of the next generation. If one is bothered by the stereotypes in the old texts, however, one can easily take the words from each chapter - a useful index is included -- and use them to write little stories of one's own.
I am not a teacher and know nothing of the other systems of teaching reading, but I suspect that Bloomfield's approach may be a good one. It may lead to practices of analyzing language that go beyond simply learning to read English text. At any event, it should certainly do the latter. And it was wonderful for us.
This book is the best tool to learn to read that I know of. — By A Customer
I am the proud parent of five children that could all read BEFORE they were in the first grade! This book is amazing. It is logical and it is proven to teach the concept of reading. All the talk about education is just that- talk. This book is the best tool that I have ever seen for teaching reading, it should be manditory in every school system in the United States and I can't for the life of me figure out why it isn't. Get a copy, look at it and try it- I am sure you will agree with me