Monday, February 21, 2011

Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading Review

This is my personal review for "The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading" by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington.  We started this phonics reading curriculum in October 2009 and finished it in early February 2011.  When we started it, my daughter didn't know how to read and was 6 years old.  We made sure we mastered each lesson before going on to the next and reviewed previous lessons occasionally.  We didn't use the tiles, just the book.  We normally spent 30-40 minutes a day.  The book has 231 total lessons.

You can view a sample lesson in this video

I had my daughter read all of Modern Curriculum Press' 120 phonics readers (although we did omit one that was about magic or something like that), Bob books and Abeka readers in the evenings once she was able to.  I have a PDF list of when the child will be ready to read a certain reader alongside the OPGTR.  I took that list and put sticky notes throughout the OPGTR so I would know when K was ready to read what.  I also have a PDF list that tells you when to incorporate penmanship/writing, grammar and spelling at what lesson in OPGTR.  You can email me for either PDF or both.

What I loved most about OPGTR, is that it had no pictures and my daughter concentrated more on the words and read faster in this book than the readers that had pictures.  You will find when its just text, that the child will read quicker because they aren't distracted.  Every phonics curriculum SHOULD leave the pictures out so the child can concentrate on the text.  You can let them read pictures/text in their evening reading but phonics instruction is all about instruction not comprehension of a story.

I was completely amazed that in just 1 year and 3 months, my daughter went from not reading at all to a 4th grade reading level!  This is without sight words lists too!  This is pure phonics instruction, with only the occasional sight word such as the, have, etc.  I've found and read research that most public schools today have the children memorize these big lists of sight words each week, so they can "look" like they are teaching so great.  What happens is, come along a few years later, they have what is called the "4th grade slump" because these kids didn't really learn pure phonics, they just got good at memorizing.  So when they encounter a lot of new words on a 4th grade level such as supplementary, they can't read it because they don't know how to decipher new words because they didn't have the proper phonics instruction.  For example, in my daughter's 4th grade level book she read this past week, "Pegasus", she encountered words such as Bellerophon and she was able to decipher it with her phonics abilities.  What would a child who learned to read from memorizing sight words do when they come to this word?  Thus, the 4th grade slump in reading - it will cause them to lose interest in reading, fall behind and the public school system wonders WHY kids today can't read.  It isn't more money the schools need - its more competence!

My daughter seemed "behind" in the beginning from her peers that use public education as they could read books with words they memorized.  However, now my daughter is reading at a 4th grade level and advancing while they are still back there at a 2nd grade level.  Do you see what I'm trying to say here?  You are teaching your child to read - sound out words, learn phonics instruction - not memorize.  And really, those 100 sight word lists that teachers make the 1st graders learn - are merely for looks, because we know that the average public-schooler today can't read in high school!

I HIGHLY recommend "The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading" if you want your child to be a great reader and not have issues with reading later on.  It may seem silly to start at the beginning but let me tell you, you will be glad you did to ensure your child doesn't miss anything!  In the back of the OPGTR, you will find an article on remedial reading for older children and how they can use the OPGTR and become great readers.  There is no shame in a 9-year old doing this curriculum because they are proficient readers today because of it.

Have I convinced you yet that this is THE BEST, and easiest for parents to teach their children how to read?  If you teach them how to read properly, you will have given them one of the greatest tools for their learning and that is something that you can bask in the success of.

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