After (having spent) 13 years in adult education, it was a pleasure (for me) to find a phonetic software (Reading Horizons) program that addressed the needs of the illiterate adult.
I was initially seeking a program in 1998 for the new family-literacy program at the Capital District Educational Opportunity Center, when I came across Reading Horizons. From my past research, most phonics programs were strictly geared for elementary students and were humiliating to an adult. Finally, I found one that seemed to do the job without the embarrassment that most adults entail when admitting to illiteracy.
When (it was) implemented, I discovered that it also addressed the ESL/ESOL student. In our program, there were several Russian students who spoke no English, and several Spanish-speaking students. They just loved Reading Horizons! In a matter of weeks, they progressed way beyond the norm. They were also able to use their new skills with their own children, which was the purpose of initiating the family-literacy program.
One 40-year-old mother of two enrolled, reading at a second-grade level. She went through the 11th grade school year never being able to read due to severe dyslexia. She was humiliated and ashamed that she couldn’t help her own children with their homework. After a few months using Reading Horizons, she brought her reading level up two grade levels, and after one year, (she raised it) two more levels.
Reading Horizons is a wonderful program for both the English-speaking illiterate adult, and the ESL/ESOL student, as it addresses the foundation of reading, but also affords the students to work at their own pace, in their own style. It allows the instructor to provide individualized instruction. If I could have a Reading Horizons station for every student, it would be my dream.
I would encourage any adult-literacy institution to try this program. I’m sure they will be as pleased as we were.