Computers are being used in some places, especially in English as a Second Language programs, to teach reading to children. The software allows the child to repeat the words and phrases and to have the pronunciation corrected by the machine. Adult programs also teach reading with excellent results. Annabell Thomas provides an example. She was unable to read despite her years in the New York City school system. [...] After leaving school, she had been taught by tutors and had enrolled in library literacy programs and adult education classes trying to overcome her handicap. Nonetheless, she never learned to read. Finally, Ms. Thomas, now 56, enrolled in a computer program and was taught to read and write by a computer.
Computers are notably effective with slower students because the machines have the vital characteristic of unlimited patience. This trait is necessary in someone teaching a subject demanding frequent repetition and painstaking attention to details that are unnoticed by readers but frustrate non-readers.
...Computers could do what is now unthinkable, and could do it rapidly. They could effectively wipe out illiteracy in the nation.