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I have been working with small elementary reading groups for the last four years under my mentor/supervisor. She has 30 years of experience and at least two masters degrees, one of them in reading instruction. We have an "oldie but a goodie" of a program called Glass Analysis. It consists of flashcards with guided repetition of a certain group of letters and was developed to teach illiterate adults. I can't tell you if it's the latest "top down" state board of education approved method, but I can tell you- it works! Sadly, our students are arriving in our reading intervention program lower and lower every year. This year we had at least 10 children who needed basic phonics and letter recognition- in the third grade! Usually, our annual number of lowest students is two to four. Granted, some of the children are ELL, or their parents are; but most of them have been in our school system for three years. We used to have a beginning rating of ability called 'primer,' based on our leveled testing of potential students. This year we had to add 'zilch.' (Not that we told the kids!) These were the 3rd-graders that had many mistakes reading a simple, short primer-level selection in September. I am happy to say after much hard work on our part, and a daily 1/2 hour or more of Glass Analysis, this group of students is well on their way to grade level or above. Now, if only we could help these kids before third grade, and other students all over America. We need to let go of ideas that don't work, and spread ideas that can make such a big difference in education.