Chris Julin, Trey Kay Published

Us & Them: Reading Wars

A female teacher shows a flash card to three students who are learning to read. The card reads, "Web."
Kidergarteners learning to read in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Emily Hanford/APM Reports

Researchers say science makes it clear that there’s a direct, systematic way we should be teaching kids to read.

But lots of people discount the science of reading. They say teaching kids to sound out words is boring, and kids will learn to read naturally if they’re read to and exposed to lots of books.

This is more of an angry argument than a polite debate. It’s been raging for years. And there’s a lot at stake. Millions of American adults are not proficient readers.Trey talks with Emily Hanford about her radio documentary, “Hard Words“, which looks at the reasons why kids aren’t being taught to read. 

You can hear Emily’s full “Hard Words” documentary here.