When I’m talking to friends about the process of teaching our children to read, I always ask, “Have you heard about the book, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons?”
More often than not, my friends will say, “No, I’ve never heard of it.” (And I wouldn’t have either, if it hadn’t been for three or four of my dear friends who raved about it–and my sister-in-law, who loaned me her copy for 11 years and let my four children wear it out.)
So today, I am broadcasting this message as far as I can get it:
If you want to teach your child to read–or if you know a child who is struggling to master the skill–THIS IS THE BOOK.
Honestly, I wish I could buy these by the truckload and pass them out to every single parent. It is that good.
Now I understand that not every child needs this book in order to become a good reader. I personally learned to read by looking over the shoulder of my older sister. And there are children all over the world who are reading just fine without formal lessons. I also understand that some children will sadly struggle with reading no matter which resources their parents use. But when you consider the fact that there are college athletes who are reading below a third grade level and that the illiteracy rate in the U.S. hasn’t budged in 10 years (with about 14 percent of the adult population being illiterate), I think you’ll agree that there is a need out there for a game-changer.
This book is the best in its field, and in case you’re skeptical (like I was), I’ve put together some photos and ideas below that will explain why it deserves a prominent place on every family’s bookshelf.
Idea #1: Typical reading programs do not work because “the alphabet does not provide for all possible sounds” (p.14).
I volunteer at our elementary school once a month, and I like to work side by side with struggling readers. Our elementary school teachers are amazing, and they put 110% of themselves into their jobs, but there is no way they can give consistent one-on-one attention to every single child. I know it means a lot when parents from the community come in to help.
But here’s what happens when I try to teach a little boy how to sound out the word “alligator fish”: He starts with what he knows and sounds it out phonetically: AAAAA, LLLLL, LLLLL… But then he doesn’t know if the “i” is long or short, and he can’t connect the “o-r” or the “s-h” together. After minutes on that one word, he finally shrugs his shoulders and wants to give up. That kills me.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons solves that whole problem because it uses the Distar alphabet that looks like this:
Here’s the pronunciation guide:
Children start out with with short sentences that look something like this:
But then the text transforms into this:
And eventually this:
It’s totally different than anything I’ve ever seen in a classroom, but it works.
Idea #2: Most parents are not taught HOW to teach reading.
I always knew it was important to read to my children, and so I took them to the library often when they were little and read to them while they curled up on my lap. In many cases, that may be totally sufficient.
But what I absolutely love about this book is that “my part” as the parent/teacher is printed in pink text. I simply open the book, go through the lesson with my child as outlined (which takes between 10 and 20 minutes), and then we’re ready to move on to other stories or activities.
Here’s a sample:
Idea #3: There are fabulous pre-reading exercises that basically work like magic (but I never knew about them).
When I initially opened this book, I thought we would start by naming all the letters in alphabetical order. I was wrong.
In fact, we didn’t name the letters at all with this book. Ever. We simply learned the sounds and how they worked together–starting with m, a, and s.
Then we practiced saying words r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y. And then really fast. (Perfect for when it comes time for your child to make sense of a word he or she just sounded out.)
And then we played rhyming games. (My kids loved these.)
These methods are brilliant. They teach foundational skills I never even considered.
Idea #4: There’s something powerful about sitting down with your children and deliberately teaching them to read.
When I look back on my years with preschoolers in my home (and yes, a part of me gets choked up when I realize those days are past), some of my favorite memories include these reading lessons. We didn’t do them every day. In fact, sometimes we only did them twice a month. But as I flip through these pages, I think of the stories that made us laugh, the way I felt when my children snuggled into my side, and the exhilaration I felt when I got to be the very first person to hear my children read.
I acknowledge that there’s a lot of “rushing” these days to get our children to master skills at a younger and younger age. I don’t agree with that. I want them to enjoy their childhood and progress at a natural pace. But I think every deliberate mother in the world wants to equip her children with the skills to thrive academically, socially, professionally, and in every other area.
One foundational skill for all of that is reading.
QUESTION: Do you have a favorite resource for teaching children to read? (Or have you had any experience with this book?)
CHALLENGE: Take a moment to assess your own child’s reading readiness–or that of a child in your extended family or community network. If you think this book would be helpful, check out the full page on Amazon, read the reviews, and consider purchasing a copy for your family bookshelf. (Used copies are available for about $6. Or you may be able to find a copy at your local library. I just strongly recommend that you get this book. You’ll love it!)
- If you’d like to listen to a five-minute discussion about this topic that I recorded with my 14-year-old daughter, click the play button below:
- Click the image below for a direct link to Amazon.
- Power of Moms’ Sharing the Joy of Reading Kit is an excellent complement to what this book has to offer. (Instead of focusing on how to read, it helps parents create powerful experiences with their children throughout the process of reading.)
Photo of mom and daughter (above) from Shutterstock.