Sunday, March 11, 2012

Review: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

I'm planning on doing a series of blogs on literacy to promote  My Campaign for Woman's Literacy  I still haven't figured out how to make links look like  links in this blog so that is why the tacky purple.  

Its been a few years since I taught either of my children to read but somethings are burned into my memory.  I started off with Sing Spell Read and Write, tried Bob books, Dr. Seuse, a few things of my own devising, none of which worked. One day when I was wishing to Mindy  that I wanted to help her out in the ministries cafe.  She leaned over in a sing song voice whispered in my ear "I'll teach your child to read if you come in and help me."  I was so desperate I jumped at the chance.  You know what is so amazing is 4 years later after Sweet Potato had been reading and reading words well, she was tested by her nuro therapist. Much to the therapists amazement Sweet Potato could read words at a 6th grade lvl but shouldn't be able too since her short term memory only held 3-4 bits of information, you need 5-6 to be able to read well.  

Look at what dedication on Mindy's part and prayer on mine can do :-)

Mindy pulled out her handy dandy Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and proceeded to train my daughter to read. She also taught me how to use to book. Now I had picked up this books at least 5 times but it totally mystified me. Why are there lines over letters? Why are their arrows under letters? It looked like a mess. What I had never bothered to do was read the introduction that explains exactly how the system works. DOH!

One thing Mindy taught me was to only do it for 15 minutes at a time.  Yes the lessons are supposed to be timed for a 15 minute block, but lets face it I had a child with audio processing issues, Strabismus and visual processing issues.  At the time her right eye was being used at like 20% and the glasses she wore blurred her left eye. She had a lot of road blocks to overcome.  So if we only got 3 parts of the lesson done in 15 minutes we quit. (well some days she persisted because I bribed her with treats).
So I had to learn to let go of 1 lesson per day and face reality my child may need 1 lesson per week.  That was harder than I thought it would be.  I wish then I knew what I know now! That kids with these type of non nurotypical behaviors need to see something 400 times before it clicks.  But then I'd have been trying to show it 400 times by showing it to her 10 times for 40 days. 

Another thing that helped Sweet Potato is the fact they had 2 a's one with a line over the top and another that was all plain... One thing they do not teach right away is the names of the letters.  I want to  know who thought it was a good idea to name these letters does H sound like aech? no it sounds like huh. The book is correct in thinking teaching the names just confuses the child.

I saw this first hand when I had the opportunity to teach Little Miss Sunshine to read. She had never learned the alphabet names. It was no trouble to teach her the short and long sounds for the letters.

As a side note, she really struggled with blending, since Chinese is a pictorial language blending was not a concept she understood. A quick trip down Dick and Jane lane really helped.  Just in case you don't know Dick and Jane teach whole word reading, and was a perfect bridge to her ability to sound out.   Notice how the beauty of home schooling is you can tailor the work to the child.  We were 5 weeks into 100 EZ lessons and still on lesson 3 when I brought out Dick and Jane.  One week in Dick and Jane with EZ on the side and she had an epiphany over the word "see"

100 EZ lessons is a training tool. Did my kids love it? NO! Did it teach them to read  YES! Sweet Potatoes  ability to parse words is amazing. Al-tho she still struggles with comprehension, it all goes back to "How much can her short term memory hold?"  It was an easy book to use and teaches in a systematic way.  I did find I had to supplement vowels with Little Miss Sunshine as she still rushes through the work. Both of my children find pleasure in reading. Sweet Potato loves books of facts and biographies of real people, where as Little Miss Sunshine prefers mysteries and silly novels.

I have decided to do a My Campaign for Women's Literacy as a memorial to the fact My daughter can read!  As I worked on reading with Sweet Potato, I often used to think if she was in India, she would be that girl that proves the belief "its pointless to teach girls."  Her and my struggle over her reading was a long and arduous road.   So click on my link and donate a few dollars :-)
and help us reach a woman who never had the opportunity to learn to read.


  1. I laughed at your spellings of the sound for 'h' and agree with you about the impractical names. Although, at the school in India the kids learned their alphabet like "Annie Apple, Bouncy Ben, Clever Cat," etc instead of names of letters...oh that way was pretty clumsy so I see why "A, B, C" is more universally embraced. ;) You make good points though!

    1. When I took Hindi lessons, that is how we learned the sounds of the alphabet. Which thankfully is all phonetic once you can twist your tongue around the sounds, you can read. When I asked what the names of the letters were, the tutor looked at me as if I had 2 heads :-)

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