A creative and committed teacher (see 36 Children), Kohl starts with the premise that ""anyone who reads with a certain degree of competency can help others who read less well,"" addressing himself more to those involved in tutoring programs and alternative schools than to professional reading teachers. He suggests that anyone can learn to read if sufficiently motivated and allowed to develop basic skills at his own rate. He has no use for standardized tests or for the competition and approval-seeking inherent in the traditional classroom approach. Rather than looking to grade levels or test scores, he divides the reading skill into four levels of achievement -- beginning, not bad, with ease, and complex (for each reading stage there is a potpourri of word games, writing exercises and recommended books) and goes on to provide extensive suggestions about approaches and materials likely to be useful at each stage, always with the caveat that he's dictating neither curriculum nor methodology but merely sharing ideas that have served him well. In fact, Kohl is almost dogmatic about his lack of dogmatism, a trait that may lead some professional educators to write him off as a laissez-faire fanatic. This would be unfortunate since his approach has as much to offer in the public school classroom as it does the remedial reading clinic. Anyone interested in teaching Johnny to read has something to learn from this book.