NBT's - Never Been Taught (to read) 


The Year of Reading (2012) came about as a result of data showing that 43- 49% of Australians between the ages of 15 and 72 were functionally illiterate. 

Little has changed since then.


A huge percentage of children, teens and adults who cannot read and spell were never taught. They may have sat in phonics lessons, been given flashcards to memorise 'sight words' and worked through intervention after intervention. They cannot read and spell. They were, therefore, never TAUGHT. The learning did not take place. This is explained by Dr Gavin Reid




When we look at the kids who are having a tough time learning to read and we went through the statistics, thirty-eight percent nationally, disaggregate that, seventy per cent of kids from poverty and so forth hit the wall. Ninety-five of those kids are instructional casualties. About five to six per cent of those kids have what we call dyslexia or learning disabilities in reading. Ninety-five per cent of the kids hitting the wall in learning to read are what we call NBT: Never Been Taught. They’ve probably been with teachers where the heart was in the right place, they’ve been with teachers who wanted the best for the kids, but they have been with teachers who cannot answer the questions: 1) What goes into reading, what does it take? 2) Why do some kids have difficulty? 3) How can we identify kids early and prevent it? 4) How can we remediate it?

G. Reid Lyon, Past- Chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch of the National Institute of Child Health & Human DevelopmentNational Institutes of Health, Current senior vice president for research and evaluation with Best Associates. Source: COTC Interview – https://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/lyon.htm#Instructionalcasualties


My humble opinion is the problem with learning the code is not really with the code, it’s with the teaching of the code. We have long periods in the history of reading instruction in America where the code wasn’t taught or was taught in such a boring, offensive or misleading way that it didn’t do much good. I could even be more extreme and say that teaching the code probably was a negative factor. Drilling kids to death on letter-sound correspondences probably is as bad as not teaching them at all. Or almost so.

So, the first problem that I see is that it’s difficult to find a time when the code was seriously taught and taught well. And I can’t explain why it is that even today there is such enormous resistance to deal with the code among the college faculty who teach reading methods to pre-service and in-service teachers.

Richard Venezky, Past Unidel Professor of Educational Studies and Professor of Computer and Information Sciences, and Linguistics at the University of Delaware. He is the author of The American Way of Spelling: The Structure and Origins of American English Orthography. Source: COTC Interview – https://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/venezky.htm#TheCode

So this is where the I Can Read Without You (ICRWY) Project comes in! Learn to Read and Spell in 100 Lessons using the SSP Monster Mapping app.

I don't totally remove the teacher, to address the issues with regards to teaching The Code, but by following the lessons I can reduce the chance of students becoming instructional casualties. I do this by teaching them myself, through the SSP Monster Mapping app.  Teachers who support students using the app will, themselves, become empowered. The student learns, the supporting teacher learns.  Win-win! 

Obviously, when children are very young they are going to need more guidance from older siblings, relatives, early years teachers ...however the lessons offer the framework for those helpers. 

The lessons are especially useful for older children who have struggled, and functionally illiterate teenagers and adults. The information they have struggled to understand is presented differently, with phonemic awareness deficits addressed in Phase 1.  

the-reading-whisperer-logo-uk2018 (2)_jp.webp

Miss Emma
BEd Hons. MA SEN
Doctoral Student, University of Reading.  

Miss Emma The Reading Whisperer - SSP Monster Mapping app

This can be a confronting and scary idea for many adults. Students can move into the 'self-teaching' phase far earlier if they want this to happen; if they want the students to work as if they didn't exist. 

fuller - Copy.jpg
Code Mapping and Monster Mapping are the tools to unlock the learning to read and spell code