There’s a real flaw with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, at least for us: the orthography. At first I thought this was brilliant; Stiggy really took to it and reading words with long vowels, ‘e’ at the end, and other silent letters was a breeze. At lesson 73 they introduce the child to normal font. I thought Stiggy would have no trouble transitioning, but it’s not going smoothly. The past 3 lessons have been SO frustrating for both of us, worsening with each lesson. We’ve never had such bad reading sessions. Stiggy just doesn’t want to do it, he cannot concentrate, and my anger has gotten the best of me.
The lessons do try to ease the child into it, but it’s not gradual enough. I feel like I’m having to teach him to read all over again and that I should have just taught him how to read with normal font from the start. The programme does not explain to the child what a long vowel is and the rules behind it. When he sees the words written in regular font, he sees them as totally new and sounds them out, silent ‘e’s and all. So, I’m having to explain the rules now because otherwise he has to just memorise each word, which is not how phonics works. It’s just created more work for both of us. AND this is making reading seem more of a mystery, more of a chore, and not so enjoyable. Not good.
This is why I’m critial of The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. The programme relies heavily on a poem to teach phonemes, which created an extra step in the child’s mind whilst reading. This is the method schools use to teach reading because they’re having to teach large groups. This is not necessary when teaching individually. It takes a bit longer, but it’s easier just to teach the phonemes without this ‘trick.’
But when I looked at EZL, I didn’t see the orthography as a problem; I figured the transition to regular font would happen much more gradually, and go virtually unnoticed by the child (as the authors claimed), but it hasn’t. So, we’re learning to read…again.
I’ll be using The Road to Reading by T.H. MacDonald, which I believe is out of print, but still available. This book is a bit old-fashioned in its method, but solid and more thorough than EZL. We’ll also be using the Modern Curriculum Press Phonics workbooks, which he enjoys. We’ll be starting right from the beginning with basic blends. This will be easy for him, but a good review and will get us used to the programme. Hopefully we will work quickly and easily through it, then just go on to reading books. I think we’ve both had enough of ‘reading lessons.’ Let’s just read.