Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Teach Your Child To Read--100 Easy Lessons

I am constantly in conversations with other moms about reading. When to teach our children to read, how to teach our children to read, etc... Over the next few weeks, I'll post about several ideas and resources that can help you teach your children to read. You can decide upon the right combination of methods for your individual child.

As far as when to teach your child to read, it really depends on the child. Personally, I wouldn't push a young child. Let their interest guide. But when you've got a child constantly asking "does 'car' start with a 'c' or a 'k?'" or attempting to sound out words in their story books, jump on the opportunity to begin teaching them slightly more formally.

Today's method:

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
by Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox, and Elaine Bruner

My sister swears by this book. She has taught three children to read with it, and they have each become highly successful readers. Basically, the book contains one hundred 15-20 minute lessons, complete with all the prompts you need for helping your child through the exercises.

What I love most about the book: The lessons are all there for me. All I have to do is sit down with Blaine, go through the prescribed activities, and we're done. Zero prep.

The only drawback I've found: The lessons are written in black, white, and red. Some days Blaine wants something a little more exciting or stimulating. So, on those days, we do something different.

Overall, I love to recommend this book to people. Blaine enjoys it, it's easy for me to use, and--most importantly--it works!


Melanie said...

I have to agree with you and your sister. This book is amazing and I've used it to teach my two oldest boys to read (ages 6 and 4). I recommend it to everyone. Granted, it isn't "frilly" and reads a bit like a textbook, but when my kids got to the sections where they had to read stories about the hidden pictures, they were hooked. I love that it only takes a few minutes each day and the methodology is rational and sound (no crazy games or gimmicks to teach the sounds). I was blown away at how quickly my kids picked up on reading.

Savannah said...

I LOVE this book! I have not yet used it with my child (she's only 13 months), but I was actually taught how to read with this book! My mom started teaching me when I was about 3.5-4 and I was a reading machine well before I entered kindergarten. I attribute ALL of my early success to knowing how to read. And those successes lead me to more and more academic successes as I got older. LOVE this book!

Here's a tip my mom used to make it more interesting... With the later lessons (as I remember) there is a picture that goes with the story that you read at the end of the lesson. My mom would cover up the picture so I'd really have to pay attention to the words I was reading to get the picture in my head. Then when I was done, she'd uncover the picture. I loved my little reward for reading! This also helped me figure out what words meant from their surrounding words more, instead of relying on the picture.

Savannah said...

After reading Melanie's comment, I'm wondering... Are you supposed to cover up the picture? Is that part of the teaching style? If so, how funny! Here I thought my mom was so clever! ;)

Sarah said...

This is what we use at our house. We got to the point with Samuel where we just stopped because he didn't need it anymore; I think around lesson 75. Now that William is doing it, we're taking a twice a week approach I know it's not recommended, but sometimes I get frustrated, so this makes it easier on everyone!!

Mrs. Small House said...

I didn't use this book to teach my son, but had a lot of people recommend it to me. They all swore by it. I've heard nothing but success stories.

Rae. said...

My Mom taught me to read with this book too! I loved sounding out the letter until her finger would hit the dot...

I am going to pick one up myself as well. And thanks for the earlier posts on reading to your child (I think it was Anne who wrote that one)...it resparked my commitment to make sure I read to my daughters at least 15 minutes each day. We just headed to the library today and loaded up on another 20+ books. Eeek!


Suzie said...

We love this book at our house. When it got to the part with the stories & pics I always had to hide the pic so my son would focus on reading, but it has definately developed a love of reading & spelling words for him!

Vicky said...

I also have this book and have used it to teach my eldest 2 how to read, both started school being able to read quite confidently, and I will use it again with my youngest when the time is right.
They should use this method in schools, because I think it is so much better.
My only complaint with it is that the stories are so wierd and complete nonsense.

The Parkers said...

My son is 3 1/2 and I have been looking for something to help me teach him to read and I had no idea where to start. So thanks for this post and all the comments, I will definitely be ordering my copy from Amazon today! I'm excited to see how this goes.

Rachael said...

Okay, Anne, as a former teacher I would LOVE to hear your perspective on this! I have purposely not taught my oldest daughter (entering kindergarten in 6 weeks) to read. She knows all her letters, she can write them all, and she's taught herself to read simple words and I've encouraged her in that. We read together every single day (at least 15 minutes, usually more like 30-45) and she loves books.

Here's why I haven't taught her to read: I have heard SO many stories from our fellow grad students--including my husband--about how they did horribly in school until they started college, simply because they were so bored because they started kindergarten knowing how to read--and they were always ahead, and they were always bored and never did their homework, etc.

My mom didn't teach us to read before we started school, and I remember being SO excited about learning to read when I began school.

I'm also a little unsure about whether I should teach her to read--am I going to teach her something that she'll need to un-learn in another couple of months? Give me a lecture hall full of college students and I'll lecture away happily, but I totally do not know the "classroom" techniques for teaching anyone under the age of 20! :-) (Does my mothering intuition count?)

So that's my dilemma. From the standpoint of a teacher, what would you recommend?

Bloom said...


First of all, I don't think you need to worry about doing something wrong in teaching your daughter that she will have to 'un-learn!' Trust yourself--your teacher self and your mother self.

Second, any child who knows her letters and sounds, like you describe, will do fabulously in school. Like I said, we don't need to push our children to learn, but let them guide. If they're always asking about it, roll with it. Some children don't get very interested in learning to read independently until they're a little older, and that's not something to stress about.

And finally, I was so shocked/sad to read about so many people you know, including your husband, who had that experience. In my opinion, that has nothing to do with learning to read early, and everything to do with teachers that didn't know how to work with children at varying levels in their classrooms. My siblings and I all read before school, and I think we all feel we received a great public education. Of course, we each had some teachers who were less than amazing, but we also had many teachers who were masters at challenging each child at his or her own level. In my
2nd grade classes I had students who could barely read at a K level, and others who were reading (and comprehending!) the Harry Potter series. Reading and Writing Workshops enabled me to work with each individual on his or her level. There is no excuse for a bored student!

Rachael said...

Thanks so much, Anne! That was very reassuring. :-)

And I sincerely hope that all my kids are lucky enough to have teachers who are as dedicated as you! And I agree--I think it is so sad how many students didn't have a positive experience. I've really been surprised to see how common that experience was for all these people in our ward who are now getting their PhDs and are obviously quite bright, but not adequately challenged as young children.

Erin said...

I'm late to the party here, but figured I'd add my two cents. I love the "100 Easy Lessons" method and have used the book to teach my first three children to read. All three showed the requisite interest and ability at young ages (3 and 4), and all were able to quickly learn to read using this method. It's a great way to teach smooth sounds blending. In fact, I like it a lot better than the method our employed in our district's kindergarten classrooms. My friend also used this method to help her first grader who wasn't reading well and wasn't improving with the methods her school teacher was using.
I can't imagine having a child who was ready and eager to learn to read and not helping them to do it, especially when they're a long ways off from kindergarten still. Teaching them to read is a magical experience, and I love it--I'm selfishly glad they've done it at home with me, as I'd hate to miss out on it! If they weren't ready, I wouldn't have pushed them, but I think a lot of children ARE ready at this age, and this book gives parents the tools to teach them effectively.
Also, as to Rachael's concerns about learning to read too early, you'll find that kindergarten today is certainly not what it was 20 years ago. Standards have changed, and they now teach in kindergarten the curriculum they might have taught in 1st or even 2nd grade when we were kids (I'm sure some of this depends on your state and district.) Thanks to "100 Easy Lessons," my daughters were devouring chapter books by the time they started kindergarten, and my MIL tried to tell me that they'd be bored in kindergarten. I'm glad I didn't listen, because guess what? Each had at least a few other kids in their kindergarten class reading at or very near the same level. One daughter had 6 kids in her class who were all obsessed with reading Magic Tree House books (on their own.) During small group time, their teachers were able to give their advanced groups lots of leveled work, as Anne said she did. If you get a teacher who's not doing this kind of thing, speak up! Parents should never hesitate to advocate for the appropriate opportunities for an advanced child, just as the parent of a struggling student would do.
One last thought on this topic: I've had teachers mention to me that you shouldn't hesitate to teach your child concepts that will be taught in future grades if they're ready for them, but it's a good idea to use different materials than what will be used at school. So, for reading, you might avoid using the same set of readers you know the school uses in first grade so that your child won't automatically say, "Boring--I've seen all those books before." Same thing for math workbooks, etc.
I certainly don't think that kids who aren't reading by the time they go to kindergarten are BEHIND (that would be crazy talk!), but I personally don't think anyone should be afraid to enrich their child with as much learning as the child is ready for, at whatever age or stage in life. My girls have thrived in school and have learned so much from the hours of indpendent reading they do--their favorite pasttime! :)

Mr Jon said...

To help make learning to read fun and engaging, our reading program includes lesson stories that are matched to the progress of your child's reading abilities.

These lessons stories are part of the learning program, and comes with colorful illustrations to make learning reading fun and engaging for you and your child.

These are the exact same stories and step-by-step lessons that we used to teach our own children to read!

Find out here: Teach Your Child To Read?

Best rgs