Thursday, June 2, 2011


Several years ago, I had a friend introduce me to this book:

It was awesome. Livi learned to read and it was super easy for me to teach her. I have since passed the book name on to several friends, all with major success.
Even though I didn't tell Autumn, here is her story about her daughter:

A Reading Accomplishment!!
Ellie's on her way to becoming a great reader!!

And I'm super thrilled for her--and me.

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

You could say I don't want my kid to watch excess TV. You could also say that having a 4 year old without a sibling to play with makes me feel bad for her. And so you could also say that I wanted her to learn to read so she could have another way to entertain herself. And now I can say that I'm thrilled she's on her way!!

The short story:

Thanks to Jake's sisters who introduced me to this book. We started this a year ago and I thought we'd be done last June. Ha! Lets just say it took more than 100 days. (Over a year.) I'd HIGHLY recommend this reading approach!! I'm so very pleased with the approach and the results.

The longer story:

Here are a few thoughts about my experience.

Why did we do this?

A few reasons: We experimented with a reading method created by Glenn Doman. I believe in so much of his philosophy and the learning methods he's created. However at a certain point Ellie lost all interest after she had forgotten a lot of what she had learned. She became uninterested so I felt it was time to try something else. (Also per the recommendation of the GD philosophy.) I believe kids can learn pretty easily if we give them the opportunity, so I didn't want to wait until Kindergarten to get started.

One of the greatest things I like about this method is that you don't teach your kids the alphabet first. (Something in common with the Doman method.) Its actually encouraged that you try to avoid teaching them the alphabet to avoid confusion. When you introduce "a" you introduce the sound of the letter, not the name of it. Again I think this makes SOOO much sense since letter names are simply that, names, no real function for reading. Spelling something doesn't do any good unless you know how to string the sounds together...which has so many variations in this language of ours--which the book helps with so much for easily learning the rules without the kid even realizing it.

(Sidenote, it was pretty funny because it preschool--and at home of course--she's see letters and say the sounds they make, not the name of them.)

I was also interested in this since its a VERY simple program. Its broken down to scripts for the adult even so you know exactly what to say and how to teach it properly. Its broken into tasks so if you can't do the whole lesson, you can break it down into VERY easy steps.

After learning the sounds (first portion of lesson), and reading the story (second portion), the child writes a few sound (letter) names. I have been blown away-and flattered-with Ellie writing letters and notes entirely on her own (mostly love notes hence the flattery.) I attribute this of course to the book and learning how the sounds work together.

I also like the fact that there are pictures very early on in the program, even after two word "sentences". And even better, the kids aren't supposed to look at the pictures until they read the story. (So they're really learning how to read, not gather clues from pictures.)

At the end of the book they give a list of recommended books to do after their book.

To see sample pages of the book, go here to Google Books (A LOT, in fact.)

I recommend:
page 32, Lesson 1
Pages 44, Lesson 7: *They already blend a few words, "at" and "met"
page 94, Lesson 20: teaches how to go to next line by following an arrow.

I wish it had a page available to see the final story they read. Its pretty impressive...and all in all pretty painless to get to that point. (Google Books doesn't show it.)

Time frame per day
This was a pretty painless ordeal considering the results. Though our days varied with each lesson (some days we did 2 lessons-per her request), some days we only did 2 tasks (not a whole lesson)...the dividends are so great for the time put in. As the lessons get longer, they take a lot longer than 20 minutes-or did for us anyway. Depending on the interest level, age and ability, I don't know that much longer than that is a good idea. (Read onto bribing...) The past two months I decided Ellie was at an age where she didn't get the privilege of watching a TV show without doing her lesson. After all, that is a privilege, and she's quite capable of sitting down and challenging herself for 20 minutes, not to mention she quickly learned to love the stories and sometimes would forget about the picture at the end of the story-and even the bribe-because she was so into the story.) As she got older and understood consequences better, I made it very clear that it was her choice to do the lesson or not and that it REALLY REALLY was okay not to do it...but it just meant not privileges. For a child who shows perfectionist symptoms, this seemed to be a great way to handle this. On RARE occasions, she chose to not do the lesson and not have a privilege...though there were many days I wish she would have chosen NOT to do it because we put it off until the evening and she was too tired and it took an eternity...(There were about 5-10 evenings when we insisted it was bedtime and she sobbed all the way to bed, once talking about it in her sleep. Did the bribe have to do with the disappointment? We know the answer to that.)

Time frame per book
As I said this took a lot longer than I anticipated but we did start at a young age and some days I felt it shouldn't be a priority. I'd recommend keeping it as regular as possible and try to do it at LEAST 1-2 times a week. (We didn't do it for 3 weeks maybe last summer and I felt we lost significant ground and interest.)

When it all clicked
Through lesson 20-30-40ish (I forget now), she seemed to be getting all the sounds just fine. Then I felt like she was forgetting sounds and guessing a lot. But I KNEW it had to be in her head because she had conquered it was very strange. In the 80s it all came back to her and she started stringing words effortlessly. All of the information stored just poured out of her. It was an awesome day!

I did it for each lesson and I'll do it again (if we start so young.) We started when Ellie was just under 3 1/2 years old. Though I feel she was very capable of the tasks even at that age I wanted it to be fun for her and something she didn't resent. And THAT worked--she SO looked forward to the lessons, for the most part, even if it was because of the bribe. (Which ranged in all fashions.) This was strictly because of her age and mentality. If she was older and she could appropriately realize that not all tasks = rewards then there would have been no bribing...Since it did take us so long and she ended at 4 1/2, she chose to have a bigger prize for the last 10 lessons versus one per lesson. We also went to Chuck E Cheese's...(and I remember now that I owe her a princess balloon...yeah, bribes indeed.)

I wish I could display the final story to show just what a child can do in 100 Lessons but I didn't think to copy really is fabulous. And best yet, I got the real result I wanted--Ellie really does enjoy reading. She loves to pick up the "pre reader" books we've checked out and read them. Watching my kid learn how to read is far more thrilling than I expected. A definite joy of parenting. I'm thrilled for Ells and hope she'll continue to love this ability.

So, have you heard of this book? Used it? Experiences? If you don't use it and do something at home, what's your starting point?

An intro from their site:

Teach Your Child in 100 Easy Lessons was developed by real reading experts with a solid 30-year record of teaching success.

Children easily move step–by–step with phonics (sounds for letters) and learn the essential skills (left out of other phonics programs) to blend the sounds into words. Built on this unique phonics foundation, children quickly start to read those words in fully illustrated stories. This book was designed to be user–friendly for parents, grandparents, tutors or others who want to teach young (3– to 6–year old) non–readers. The book contains 100 twenty–minute lessons that are clearly color–coded and scripted (including how to motivate, teach, and correct) so that both you and the child you are teaching can be successful.

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