Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
Reading made easy
on January 2, 2003
At first glance, this book reminded me of - "A Home Start in Reading" by Ruth Beechick (a wonderful little pamphlet for homeschoolers/parents). I would still recommend the pamphlet, but Reading Reflex has much more information that might be needed to teach a beginning reader.
Although Phonografix has a reputation for being very effective in remediating reading, it is very easy, effective, and fun to use for beginning reading as well. The skill of reading is broken down into more basic components -- blending, segmenting, auditory processing, and code knowledge. There is a test at the beginning to help pinpoint problem areas so that no time is spent on areas the student understands. A beginning reader would just begin without the test and cover all the lessons.
There are some other aspects of reading that the book covers that I have not seen so thoroughly and effectively explained in any of the other reading methods I've encountered. The English language is based on a phonetic code, but some letters/letter combinations can represent multiple sounds and some sounds can be represented in multiple ways. The authors include information about how to effectively explain these ideas and lesson plans for how these ideas work in practice. For example, the word 'out' might be pronounced 'oat' or 'owt'. The only way to know which is to have the word read to you or to figure it out from the context of a sentence. Part of reading is simply remembering which pronunciation to use on particular words. There are often patterns to these pronunciations and noticing these patterns is included in the lessons.
If all this information isn't enough, the authors include "error corrections" in each lesson. The authors emphasize that mistakes are where real learning happens.
One minor point I disagree with is the emphasis on writing. Some children really dislike writing or simply don't have the skill to write to the extent suggested by the authors. Fortunately, writing isn't necessary to learning to read through this method. It was easy to adapt the activities so that writing wasn't necessary. Another area I disagreed with was the assumption that a tutor/teacher should control the learning. The activities can be easily adapted into fun games that children can choose to play and learn from. It is the information about reading that is useful and makes this book great, not the format. Another tip -- instead of cutting out all those puzzles, just make up a set of letters (multiples of the ones that are used twice or more in words). Additionally, the authors have a website with more great information.
Overall, this book is a great resource for any person interested in helping others - children and adults - learn to read.