Children are encouraged to use pictures or other cues to guess unknown words. This approach is supported by the use of predictable books rather than decodable books. Predictable books have sentences that are repetitive and have words that many beginner readers cannot read by themselves.
Learning to read is not like learning to talk. Most children need to be taught explicitly what sounds that letters, and groups of letters, make. Phonics helps in this process. Unfortunately, RR strongly and mistakenly disapproves of phonics. As a result, RR denies most struggling readers with the very skills they need to become successful readers.
RR does not teach children how words work. In addition to letter sounds,there are other important building blocks that children need to learn to help them read. Children need to be able to blend sounds together, segment words into their separate sounds, and break words into syllables. These skills are also really important for spelling development. RR does not focus on developing these skills even though the research about their importance is overwhelming. Struggling readers are disadvantaged as a result.
RR has little to no focus on spelling. Yet, there is a lot of evidence that shows reading and spelling should be learnt at the same time.
RR has turned out to be a big disappointment. One major review of early intervention programs showed that RR was no better than one-to-one interventions that were done by teacher aides or volunteers with little training. This comprehensive review showed that the most successful reading intervention programs in the junior primary school were based on phonics approaches. Yet, RR clings to outdated reading approaches that end up disadvantaging the very students the program is supposed to help.
Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results.