Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Review: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy LessonsI have been curious about this book after having read about other bloggers using it with their children.  What really caught my attention was when a lady said she was starting it with her two-year-old daughter!  I happened to find it at the library when I was perusing the section for Parents and Teachers.  I decided to bring it home and take a look at it.

First of all let me say I don't know a thing about teaching a child how to read.  My major in college was Science Education (with emphasis in Physics and Chemistry) for secondary school.  I have next-to-no training in teaching young children.  I did teach in my church's Christian school for three years and received on-the-job training, but I did not teach any of them reading. Secondly, I was not formally taught how to read.  My mother, from my earliest of memories, read books to me every night before going to bed.  From the time I could sit up, she had books available for me to play and read.  Basically, I taught myself how to read when I was five years old.  Most likely, though, because I did attend kindergarten at my church (before kindergarten was instituted in Mississippi's public schools), I probably did have exposure to phonics which would've helped me to figure out how to read.  I just remember that my favorite book was Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.  I remember being placed in the advanced reading group in first grade, along with other friends who also attended the same kindergarten with me.  I have always loved reading, and I attribute that to my mother who exposed me to a lot of books and encouraged me to read.  She bought many books for me and my brothers; I have had a lifelong tendency to collect books (thought I am trying to go all digital now with few exceptions).

Even though I know next-to-nothing about teaching reading, I've always been a strong supporter of phonics-based reading programs.  It just makes sense to me.  Sight reading is a waste of brain cells and energy.

I am hoping to teach my daughter to read before she starts school.  We will most likely be sending her to our church's Christian school, but I will be working with her in the meantime.  After having read the introductory pages which includes narratives regarding their philosophy of reading education and looking over the lessons, I have decided that I will be purchasing this book to use with Gracie when she is a little older.

Included in their introductory chapters are reasons for why traditional reading methods do not work.  They also state that any child who has an IQ above 70, of four years of age or older, can learn to read well with this program.  They say that we need to get rid of labels put on children, that they are a deterrent to a child's success.  I find this very encouraging.  I've worked with a number of children who have struggled with their schoolwork, and I wonder if they have a stumbling block in their mind because of labels being applied to them.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if children could have no clue that they have certain labels (ADHD, learning disabled, etc.) and could just learn to read and read well?!  I've always believed that, to a large degree, I could learn anything I wanted to simply by researching on my own.  I do believe that there is a place for formal education (whether it be homeschooling or private schooling or even public schooling).  Teaching is so much more than imparting knowledge and skills....but that's another topic for another day!

This program goes from step zero of teaching vital pre-reading skills with gradual step-by-step changes towards learning to read.  The first lessons all deal with learning the sounds of certain letters and combining sounds of different letters.  They use an altered orthography (which just means some of the written letters look funny) to help with consistency. Although a couple of words are read in the first few lessons, but reading words doesn't really begin until Lesson 9.  It may seem slow, methodical, and rather tedious, but research has shown that this method works!

One thing that they stress about the program is that the key is good communication.  There must be good communication from the teacher to the child and from the child to the teacher.  In every lesson there are explicit directions for the teacher to follow as well as helps for how to correct the child when he responds wrongly. 

All in all, I'm very impressed with the book and am excited about using it in the future.  If any of you use this book or will use this book, I would love to hear your comments.

UPDATE:  Here is a post from the mother of a 4-1/2 year old girl:  Reading Lessons
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  1. You've really piqued my interest. I think I'll request this book from our library. Thanks for your thoughts. Oh! And I didn't know your major was Science Ed. - Chemistry and Physics! You're a genius! I never took higher science and I really regret it now. Anyway, thanks for this post! :)

  2. LOL! I just wish I remembered everything I had been taught.

  3. LOL! I'm hoping Lauren or Mitch want to take higher science, then I can learn with them! :D

  4. Thanks for the information. Teaching your child to read is very important to their future.

    Kelly Brown