Creator of the Gold Standard of Phonics Programs

About Smart Way Reading

The creators of Smart Way Reading were alarmed at the extremely low reading scores amongst U.S. students.  Extensive research indicated that 50% of high school graduates read at only a 4th grade level.  That is essentially illiterate.  And, despite pouring more money into education, the literacy rate had not improved.

In 2000, we decided to jump into this area, ourselves, to find or develop a solution.

We thoroughly researched the various methods being employed to teach reading and discovered that the centuries-old method of systematic phonics, with comprehension (understanding words), had been replaced with other, newer ideas.  But these newer ideas were not as successful as the “old fashioned” methods.  In fact, the results of their use have been devastating.  It was then that we decided to hire a team and we worked together to create the most effective phonics program possible and the result was Smart Way Reading.

Improving reading skills with phonics with Smart Way Reading
Witness, that as early as 1927, neurologist Dr. Samuel Orton, under a Rockefeller Foundation grant, concluded that children who had been diagnosed with ‘congenital word blindness’ (now called dyslexia) were actually severely harmed by the teaching methods employed (sight-reading).  His findings were reported in a scientific paper entitled The ‘Sight Reading’ Method of Teaching Reading as a Source of Reading Disability.

It seems evident that sight-reading methodology, and the results it produces, are nothing less than child abuse, which is a criminal offense.

It is interesting to note that in 1981, the legendary children’s book author, Dr. Seuss, demonstrated a keen awareness of the absurdness of, and destruction caused by, whole-word teaching: “…they threw out phonics reading and went to a word recognition as if you’re reading a Chinese pictograph instead of blending sounds or different letters. I think killing phonics was one of the greatest causes of illiteracy in the country.”

Smart Way Reading follows the Elements of Reading InstructionAt the same time we were researching successful “how to read” techniques, the National Reading Panel, commissioned by Congress, issued their comprehensive report and concluded, after reviewing over 100,000 studies on reading, exactly how reading should be taught.

As it turns out, the Smart Way Reading program is a superb model for their findings.  The program aligns to all of the points identified in the National Reading Panel report on how to effectively teach reading skills.


Smart Way Reading truly is a “back to basics” systematic and explicit phonics methodology for those learning to read, for those who need to learn American English, and for struggling readers, be they older students or adults.

No Games. No Gimmicks. Just RESULTS!

“Students are miraculously transformed from initially being hesitant, intimidated,
and mostly embarrassed to students that are amazingly confident
and successful readers.” – AF, Educator and Tutor

© 2001-2017 Sue Young & Scott D. Welch. All Rights Reserved. Smart Way Reading-Made in the U.S.A. (727) 734-8483