When a public school teacher told me my youngest son would never read, I said to myself, “We’ll see about that.” The first step required pulling him out of the school system. We tried a one-room Christian school for awhile, but he still struggled. Finally God allowed him to come home to school.
During that first lesson, his eyes lit up. This wasn’t like any of the other reading classes he sat through. One hundred lessons later, he could read. Postscript: In high school he started writing stories and planning books. Although life and five little babies slowed him down, I’m expecting a book one day.
What I like
I love the way the author lays out the scope of the book in such a way that it helps the learner organize his or her thoughts about reading. Arrows guide the direction the child’s eye should travel. Dots point out the sounds. Little letters show silent letters that are not read aloud. Overall, the system makes sense to a child.
The presentation of sounds with visual clues such as a line over long a, an arrow under quick sounds such as p. and digraphs joined together but introduced early such as th, all make this system work.
The use of rhyme to teach family sounds, for example, the letters m, t, and d will be shown. Children are told the ending sound is -en. They then point to the letters and say men, ten, and den.
Introducing sight words with phonetic clues, for instance, sounding is out as iss, and then an explanation that we pronounce it iz.
Slowly building on learned skills is definitely one of the books greatest strengths.
Line drawn pictures go with the stories. Hands down, that’s the children’s favorite part. The author suggests covering the picture until after your child reads the story. I used sticky notes to cover it, and then transferred the sticky note to the next picture at the end of each lesson. Currently I use the book with three different children at the same time. I wrote their names on the sticky notes which helps me keep track of where each child is.
The children also enjoy the humor in the stories (much more than I do!)
What I don’t like
Number one and my greatest dislike is the lack of anything biblical. It doesn’t have flagrantly wrong philosophy, but neither is there anything good and right and godly.
Also, many lessons take longer than 20 minutes with a reluctant learner. On the other hand, a motivated learner can finish in less than 10.
Some pictures don’t meet my modesty standard, although I was able to add a little art work to improve it.
I prefer the Bob Jones Press Pre-Cursive writing, although theirs is far better than the ball and stick method.
Telling me exactly what to say isn’t my cup of tea, either, but I get over it.
This book really does the trick. The price is fantastic. Until I can write a Christian version, it’s definitely one to consider especially for struggling readers or special needs situations.