Part 6 – Conclusion

In this concluding section the causes of reading and writing problems are summarized. When the problems are understood then prevention becomes more important.

Part 6: Conclusion

In conclusion:

  • The two attributes needed for successfully learning the mechanics of reading and writing are a good visual memory and good auditory skills. If either or both are weak, the children will find it more difficult and will need more support.
  • Memorising whole words initially, without knowing how the letters work, is particularly difficult for some children and is best avoided for all children.
  • There is a limit to the number of words the human brain can memorise, even for a person with a good visual memory.
  • Good readers are good at blending, and they always try to work out unknown words by blending the letter sounds.
  • Poor readers struggle with blending and need to use decodable books for longer; this allows them to practise the skill of blending until it becomes automatic and is never forgotten. Too often these children are asked to read books with words that they cannot blend and then they lose faith in blending, just guessing the words. Frequently, this is the start of a downward spiral, even leading children to forget the letter sounds.
  • Good spellers are good at hearing the sounds in words and remembering the correct letters to write for the sounds.
  • Poor spellers usually have a poor memory and spelling will always be harder for them. Not only do they have to remember which alternative spelling to use for the sounds in words, but they must also remember the many odd words that have unusual spellings. If they are also failing to identify the sounds as they write new words, they will continue to be very poor at writing and spelling.
  • Struggling children usually have a poor visual memory and weak auditory skills. Sometimes only one of these skills is weak and it is important to identify which one it is and to provide the necessary support.

Preventing problems is always better than trying to put things right at a later date. To find out more about preventing problems and supporting struggling children, go to Preventing reading and writing problems on the home page in the section Help with reading and writing problems. And that concludes the teaching on this section.


  • Korean words

    If unfamiliar with the Korean language, try memorising these words. Whole-word learning is not easy!