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alternatives to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, I wanted my 5yo dd to teach herself to read, but she has been badgering me to teach her with LESSONS and has been threatening to go to school because the teacher at school will teach her to read....

For anyone else in this predicament who is turned off by 100 Easy Lessons (seems excruciatingly boring to me, but I know others have had success with it), I came across a nice book called "Teach a Child to Read with Children's Books" by Mark Thogmartin. It's a literature-based approach which does not ignore phonics entirely but which places phonics in the context of reading real books. kind of a whole language-phonics combo, with an emphasis on the whole language part, using phonics only for specific sounds the child has trouble with.

anyone else have any ideas? I'm particularly interested in how folks with an unschooling philosophy approach reading when a child is REALLY interested.
post #2 of 15
I got the BOB books for dd. They are small simple books, they come in sets. She likes them a lot. Basically they are just really simple, each book introduces new words.

I checked out 100 easy lessons and did not like it at all. I have no interest in doing real reading instruction, but dd enjoys learning games, so we have boggle jr, my first alphabet game (where they have to dtermine if they have a picture on their bingo type card that starts with a certain letter), and another phonics game, where you get a card with say a picture of a cat on it, and there will be the word cat with one letter missing, the child then picks the letter tile that completes the word. Oh we also have alphabet bingo.

Another thing I saw in a magazine that I want to do with dd, is to make your own abc book. Each day, or whenever, you do a letter. Basically the child makes a picture of st that starts with the letter, say apple, for a, and you paste it on paper, folded in half, to make a book. Each time you do a new letter, you add a page to the book. When the book is done, you can make a nice cover. They had instructions to make it a pop-up book, which sounded really neat, you kinda stick the pics on a tab, which makes it pop-up when you open the book.

I don't know if this is the kinda thing you were looking for. My dd is 5 too, and we are very relaxed. I figure if learning is fun to her, she will always be curious, and self motivated to learn things, so we dont force anything.

The teach a child to read with books program sounds neat. I'll have to look into that.

Also, do you know those SPOT books? DD loves them bc she can try to sound out the simple, bold face words.

Hope this helps a little
post #3 of 15
I really like Reading Reflex. It is a systematic phonics approach. It is mostly puzzles and games that you cut out of the book and the exercises are very open ended. DD just started on it and really likes it.

She also enjoys the Explode the Code books. This is a wonderful series of workbooks. My DD likes workbooks so they are perfect for her, but would be a poor choice for a child who dislikes workbooks.

Different things work for different people.
post #4 of 15
Scrabble jr. is a good game too. The board has two sides one for non or beginning readers and one for those who are more advanced. My dd loves it. We are still only using the easy side since the other side really requires more spelling than reading and we just aren't there yet.

We have also used the Bob books, which are nice, especially for small hands to hold and really feel like they are their's.

We do use 100 EZ b/c my dd was begging me for lessons and I had heard good things about it. However, we do it our own way. I am very flexible with it and only use it at my dd's request. I definitely don't go the "do it every day religiously way" although I know people have had wonderful success using it that way. We are a pretty unschooling family so that doesn't work for us. I don't like to "sit down and do lessons." Dd thinks the stories are funny. I simply leave the book where she can get at it and leave it up to her whether we do it or not. We are now in the 80's and have been using it since Sept on and off. Some of the grammar in the stories is poor and that annoys me and I don't like the way they present some of the "rules" but if you use it as a tool and not as a curriculum I think it can be helpful.

We have also been using a small notebook that dd has been carrying around with her for at least 2 yrs. Whenever she sees signs that she is interested in she writes them down and then we work on sounding them out together. This helps with both her reading and writing skills as well as learning to be observant. She also might see something of interest which is not a written word (such as an excavator at a construction site) and asks me to help her spell the word so she can put it in her notebook. I really believe this is what started her reading, in addition to my reading to her incessantly. She got the idea from the notebook used on Blue's Clues and has been carrying different ones around ever since. It also adds some fun to car rides and doing errands.
post #5 of 15
Ryan, I love that notebk idea! I bet dd would really enjoy this.
post #6 of 15
There's one called Phonics Pathways that is recommended in The Well Trained Mind. They prefer it too 100 easy lessons, but I forget why. I haven't seen it.
post #7 of 15
We ended up buying "Hooked on Phonics" it was expensive but It will last through 3 kids.

My 3 yr old is learning her from it.

My son likes it because it was on tv. Unfortantly at the time that was more motivation than anything else.
post #8 of 15
I really like the "explode the code" books.

They look really fun and progress in a logical order. There are exersizes for writing that resemble mazes, each letter has a page that involves solving riddles and following instructions (for ex. There will be a page of picturs that start with "D". A riddle will say "It is made of wood, it stands at the front of a house and people knock on it. Put a blue "x" on that and then circle it)
post #9 of 15

something else

Erika, some of my friends are using Sing Spell Read and Write with their 100 EZ lessons to break up the monotony. Sing Spell incorporates lots of music. I would caution you to be sure to at least incorporate phonics into whatever program you pick. I know lots of kids who have reading problems because of the school systems temporarily using the whole language approach before coming back to their senses and getting back to phonics. Let us know if you get anything you like!

Leslie in MD
post #10 of 15

Re: something else

Originally posted by Leslie in MD
I know lots of kids who have reading problems because of the school systems temporarily using the whole language approach before coming back to their senses and getting back to phonics.
If one is truely using "whole language" then there will also be phonics in it; thus, it will be "whole".
post #11 of 15
Oh, I just knew that that would turn into a phonics/whole language thread! I used to tutor literacy and I've read tons of research of reading instruction. I feel very strongly that whole language adds some nice activites, but that reading instruction in schools should be based on systematic phonics instruction. The research is quite clear that this is the best shot for the most kids to learn to read. Here is a WEB site with some of that research.


However, all kids are different and the beauty of homeschooling is that we can tailor what we do to our children. While I feel strongly that ALL schools should have phonics based reading instruction (with a some funsy whole language activites thrown in) I don't have any strong feelings about what other homeschoolers do. Many homeschooled kids teach themselves to read or learn to read with minimal instruction. I think it is far easier for homeschooled kids to learn to read than it is for schooled children simply because they have so much more time to enjoy books!
post #12 of 15
We tried 100 EZ Lessons and ds was bored. We both love the Bob Books though and are about to start Explode the Code.

DS is 4 1/2 and asked us a couple of months ago if we would teach him to read. We don't push it, just do it when he feels like it. But he's already doing so well with it. I can't recommend Bob Books enough. They are simple and fun and, because they're separate stories in separate books (rather than one big book) ds really feels a sense of accomplishment when he finishes one. It's like he can read it, say "the end," put it away, and move on to the next one when he's ready. (Does that make sense?!) IMO, it's a low-pressure, yet effective way to introduce reading. As for Explode the Code, it looks right for us (we love workbooks), and a friend used it with her son with great results, so we're going to add that to what we're already doing.

Hope that helps.


P.S. Why does the learning to read issue always turn into a "whole word vs. phonics" debate? Doesn't it make sense to use a combination of the two, and tailor your lessons to compliment your child's way of learning? Just curious -- not trying to stir up trouble. (We actually use a combination technique with ds. There are some words that he just can't sound out, and has done better by memorizing....then there are some that work just the opposite.)
post #13 of 15
We use Explode the Code too. I personally think there are better workbooks out there but my dd really seems to enjoy explode the code and I guess that's all that really matters. She loves workbooks of any kind so I tried these after many recommendations. I do think those "Best Buy Bargain Books" workbooks published by Frank Schaffer are good too, though you may need to go up one grade level. They are cheap and I can get them easily at Barne and Noble (which is around the corner from my house).

Erika: Thanks for the recommendation on "Teach a child to read with children's books." I looked it up at amazon and, from the reviews, it looks like a great program for us to turn to next.

I really believe in a combination of whole language and phonics as well. Especially when homeschooling b/c we CAN tailor what we do to our children's strengths, personalities, and learning types. I do think phonics is very important since I still seem to use it when I come across a word I'm not sure about (like those long names of dinosaurs; I would be clueless without using phonics). I also think exposure to foreign languages helps too.
post #14 of 15
We like the Phonics software programs from Reader Rabbit a lot.
Best way to teach a child to read is to READ to them.
mom of 4
post #15 of 15
"Best way to teach a child to read is to READ to them. "

I second that, Vanna's Mom.
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