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Let's Read

A Linguistic Approach

Clarence L. Barnhart, Leonard Bloomfield, Cynthia A. Barnhart, and Robert K. Barnhart

Childhood Studies, Education, Linguistics and Rhetoric

Published: June 2010
ISBN: 9780814334553
Pages: 480 Size: 8 x 10
Illustrations: 17 b&w illus.
Published: June 2010
ISBN: 9780814336861
Pages: 480 Size: EPUB
Illustrations: 17 b&w illus.

Let's Read may well be the most important book on beginning reading in our time.

— Russell Cosper

Originally published in 1961, Let’s Read is a simple and systematic way to teach basic reading. Developed by noted linguist Leonard Bloomfield, the book is based on the alphabetic spelling patterns of English. Bloomfield offered an antidote to the idea that English is a difficult language to learn to read by teaching the learner to decode the phonemic sound–letter correlations of the language in a sequential, logical progression of lessons based on its spelling patterns. The learner is first introduced to the most consistent (alphabetic) vocabulary and then to increasingly less alphabetic and less frequent spelling patterns within a vocabulary of about 5,000 words. The second edition of Let’s Read brings Bloomfield’s innovative program into the twenty-first century without changing the sequence of exercises but with revised text and an attractive new design and layout.

Authors Cynthia A. Barnhart and Robert K. Barnhart, who have long been involved with Let’s Read, have refined the original edition with new vocabulary and content based on feedback from longtime users. The new edition lightens the first learning load by presenting lengthy patterns in two lessons rather than one, adding more connected reading and new vocabulary, and introducing some sight words earlier in the sequence. The authors have also added a list of multisyllable words at the end of part 1 that fall within the patterns of the first lessons, and they have added some longer stories later in the program. The notes introducing each part of Let’s Read have also been revised to be more informative, and new illustrations have been added.

Let’s Read not only teaches users to read English based on spelling patterns but simultaneously reduces the emphasis on pronunciation to teach letter sounds, making it useful for bilingual and nonnative English speakers as well. Parents, reading teachers, tutors, as well as ESL teachers and adult literacy instructors will be interested in the second edition of Let’s Read.

Cynthia A. Barnhart is a dictionary maker with a special interest in new words and usages. She has been involved with Let’s Read since its initial publication and was the first Barnhart family member to teach a child to read working from the manuscript of Let’s Read.Robert K. Barnhart was a dictionary maker who created the original reading passages for Let’s Read. In addition to the 1976 edition of the World Book Dictionary, his most important dictionaries were the Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology and the First, Second, and Third Barnhart Dictionary of New English.

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

Let's Read' is a valuable resource to any literacy teacher, very highly recommended."

– The Midwest Book Review