My daughter, Katie, has always been interested in reading. Back when she was two, she often went to her bookshelf to get books for my husband and I to read aloud to her. After reading a book or two, I would told her I would read again the following day. She used to beg me to teach her how to read because she wanted to be able to read by herself after I was done reading to her. I wanted to support her desire to read independently, so I bought several books on how to teach kids to read. One of them is Montessori Read and Write: A Parent’s Guide to Literacy for Children. I wasn’t very successful with this because it took me a long time to read the book. I was working about 35 hours at the time, so I didn’t have time to put into practice the suggestions that the book suggested. Also, implementing them would take a lot of preparation time. I still tried some of the techniques like using movable letters and using sandpaper letters for tracing. However, it was too much effort and I didn’t have a lot of time. I wasn’t also getting the results quickly enough so I lost interest in using the techniques.
After giving up on figuring how to implement the Montessori method in teaching how to read/write, hence, I signed up for ABCMouse.com. I had read a lot of reviews from families whose kids learned how to read from the website so I gave it a try. Initially, I put her in level 5 which is the level for kindergarten. She didn’t know most of the lessons. She forgot the letter sounds that she had learned from the Montessori preschool that she used to attend, so she had to start from the beginning. She started on level 1, over a year ago. After 4 months, she had completed levels 1-4. At this point, she still couldn’t read. She memorized some words after completing the same lesson over and over. She did learn all the letter sounds after completing level 4. However, she couldn’t blend sounds together. Although I was reading aloud to her for at least an hour a day, she was never content. She wanted me to read more and my throat was very sore after reading to her, so I was very motivated to teach her how to read. Whenever I told her that story reading was over for the day, she told me that she wished she knew how to read.
After searching for another way to teach my child how to read, I found a book called Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons in Amazon.com. It had great reviews. Most kids who were taught using this book were learning to read quickly. I got the book and sure enough, my child was making progress a little everyday. We worked on it consistently. By the end of lesson 100, which took about three months, she was able to read well. I took this picture right after she completed the book. As you can see, the book was worn out. I promised her a prize if she stuck to her lessons and she picked out a Mulan fan for her prize.
According to the book, the child would be reading at second grade level by the time the last lesson was done. The book was published in 1986. At that time, the lessons were probably appropriate for second graders. However, based on Common Core Standards, it seems like the last lesson is at first grade level.
I gave our copy of this book to the mother of one of the kids in Katie’s class. His mom said that his reading wasn’t very good. I talked to her this morning, and she said that they are at lesson 70 and her son’s reading skills have improved a lot. His progress wasn’t as fast as Katie but the teacher suspects that he has dyslexia.
At this point, Katie was very excited to read books herself. We went to the library, and she picked out books from the easy reader section. However, some of the books she picked out were still too hard for her. The books used a lot of words that weren’t easily decodable.