Welcome to the Reading Blocks Website!

Phonemic Awareness Test


Over 25 years ago my second daughter was having trouble learning her ABC’s. Many of the letters sounded the same to her. She would say “deee” for “eee”. I would say, “No, you’re supposed to say “eeee” for this one.” And she would say, “I’m saying that.” And I would say, “No you’re saying ‘deee’.” And she would get frustrated and not want to do letter time anymore. At this time, I did not know anything about Reading Programs or how to teach reading.

At first, I thought it was no big deal, she would just pick it up as she got older and then later I thought maybe when she completes kindergarten it will be easier for her. But it wasn’t and she didn’t. All the other kids were passing her up and she was getting more and more frustrated about school and falling farther and farther behind her peers. This started a long and many times exasperating journey into what was causing the difficulty. I knew how intelligent she really was and how frustrated this was making her in school. Her confidence was plummeting.

At the time this was happening, I was pursuing a degree in mathematics. I remember thinking that if someone had a difficult time learning math they would usually laugh about it and just say it was not something they were good at doing. Not being good at math does not really impact someone in a big way. But, nobody laughs about not being able to learn how to read.

This realization changed my purpose in life.

Not being able to read has a detrimental impact on just about every aspect of a person’s life. I saw this firsthand in my daughter’s struggle. I continued on in school to get a Master’s Degree as a Reading Specialist. I was trying to uncover what causes someone who is obviously intelligent to struggle with learning to read. I learned a lot in the graduate degree program but not how to explicitly teach someone how to read. I continued to do my own research and experimenting.

Then I started my career in the school system. I ended up at a school with children who switched schools frequently according to their parents’ employment. I might only have this child in my small group for three months and then they were off to another state and another school. I only had a short window of time to teach them how to read.

Many of the reading programs I had studied took two or even three years to complete and others were so expense they were out of reach for the majority of kids, especially in my district. I didn’t have two years time to teach these kids and they didn’t have the money to pay for a private $20,000 dollar program. This was the dilemma I found myself in so I continued to research and was always looking for a quicker way or a better way to teach someone who struggled how to read.

Over time, I began to piece together a program that I thought of as my version of the 80/20 principle combined with learning to read. I decided on the first five sounds to start with, based on mouth movements and how best to combine and practice them. This gave the struggling reader more tools to use to be able to tell the difference between the sounds. I learned that these early lessons helped to develop pathways in the brain that a good reader already has but a poor reader did not develop for some unknown reason. The kids began to pick up reading skills faster and faster.

Eventually, after 25 years of researching and working with kids, I developed the Reading Blocks program for teaching someone how to read.

It is quick, effective and affordable. In short, it works!


I found help for my daughter in a program that cost me over $20,000 dollars. It’s probably more than triple that amount in today’s money. I had to refinance my home to pay for her to attend this program. It did work for her and she did learn how to read so I am grateful that I could do it.

But how many people are in a position to do that? I wanted to be able to help others get what my daughter got without that huge price tag. I wanted a parent or a teacher to have a tool to use if they found themselves sitting in front of a little face that was terribly frustrated with not being able to learn how to read. That’s why I worked so hard and so long to complete this program. I had hundreds of these little faces in front of me and I was so grateful that I knew how to help them.

Reading Blocks Reading Program

Click here to learn more about the Reading Blocks program.

THE GOAL OF the Reading Blocks Website

The goal of the Reading Blocks website is to give parents and teachers more information into the learning to read process. There are many facets in the process of learning to read. If you want to learn about each separate element, you will find that information on this site. If you just want a program to follow, you will find it on the Products Page along with more information about each product. Take a look around and please let me know what you think. You can leave a comment or ask me a question below. I will be more than happy to help you out. Thanks for visiting!

All the best,

Veronica McCarthy