Teach Your Child To Read With A Proven Program
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Teach Your Child to Read With A Proven Program

Most parents send their children to school expecting they will learn to read and write.

The brutal fact is that at least one child in five leaves school without developing the level of literacy skills to function in the modern world.

There has been a great dealt of research done to understand the process and the neurology behind learning to read.

This is well and good, but it takes experience to teach someone to read.

Keda Cowling is such a person. She has devoted over twenty-five years to developing her program Toe by Toe – A Highly Structured Multi-Sensory Phonetic Approach to Literacy. It was first published in 1993 and it is still available. Harry Cowling worked with her to develop the program.

There is such a thing as the ‘reading wars’. Keda was subject to a lot of hostility over her program. She does not use any of the orthodox theories of special needs teaching in the program. But she has a following of parents and children who have benefited from her approach.

The program is called 'Toe by Toe' because it is not a step by step system of learning to read. That is too broad a way to describe the ‘integrated, comprehensive and finely structured system.'

The student has their own book and works through it guided by a coach. Photo-copying the pages are strictly frowned upon (and it is against copyright law). But the point is the student must have their own copy of the book. This is how the program works.

The student must complete every exercise in this book and must start from the first exercise. Each student must have a coach to support them as they move through the exercises. Strict instructions are given to the coach to follow. Everything the student does is recorded as they study the lesson.

Anyone who can read can be a coach. Toe-by-Toe recognizes that the inability to read can run in families. The instructions are very clear. The parent /coach is taught how to teach as they work through the program with the child.

It is the minute steps that enable the student to succeed. Skills are systematically developed in the correct order.

Students with reading difficulties often struggle with establishing a word in their long term memory. This is why there is plenty of repetition built into the program.

Even if the prospective student has some reading ability they must still begin at lesson one. They will pass quickly through the lessons they understand.

The program does not contain any games. Instead, it provides a child with success.

Who would benefit from the ‘Toe by Toe” approach to learning to read?

  • Any child who is finding learning to read difficult. It is especially useful for children diagnosed with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia).
  • Adults with weak reading skills
  • Parents with weak skills who wish to learn while teaching a child
  • Classroom support assistants who are working with an individual child.

‘The authors believe that at least twenty percent of the population needs this book.

About Toe by Toe

  1. It is a multi -sensory teaching method developed by Keda Cowling who has worked with many students diagnosed with dyslexia
  2. It is methodical, gradual, finely structured, measurable, easy to use and highly successful when worked through as directed.
  3. It is cheap, effective and easy to use.
  4. It teaches reading of words through syllable divisions that correspond with what the student hears.
  5. Presents ‘link words’ systematically. These are the words that cannot be easily sounded out.

About Spelling

Most of us learn to spell by a process of remembering a word as we read.

People with reading difficulties can’t do this. They attempt to spell words by sounding them out. For example, enough becomes inuff. A spelling program relies on the person being able to read fluently.

Toe by Toe incorporates some aspects of spelling, but its focus is on developing reading fluency.

Keda and Harry Cowling continually update and refine the program. It is regularly tested on children of all ages and adults from all walks of life.

This is what one tutor has said of the program;

“I have now used the scheme with many pupils of all ages and without exception all have been amazed. In a relatively short time, at their unexpected progress. Like the 21-year-old who told me, about 1/3 of the way through the book that he could now read the signposts when they went out for a drive!” A.S. Private Tutor, Warwickshire, England.

If you know of anyone struggling to read, this book could be the answer.


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