The Bottom Line
By Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox and Elaine Bruner; 395 pages. From the cover: "In only 20 minutes a day, this remarkable step-by-step program teaches your child to read -- with the love, care, and joy only a parent and child can share!"
Here's a book that does just what it says it's going to do: gives parents exactly the tools they need to conduct daily sessions and, in fact, teach their children to read. No theories, no case studies, just remarkably clear lessons that get results.
- Provides parents with scripts to follow to make teaching easy.
- Reinforces writing along with reading.
- Uses good old-fashioned phonics approach.
- Short teaching sessions offer good parent-child together time.
- Lessons build gradually, getting longer and more involved as they go.
- You do have to get your child to sit still for 15-20 minutes.
- You may feel silly reading off a script.
- You need to commit to doing it every single day.
- Reading comprehension is included, but not as successfully.
- Introduction: Pages 7-8
- Parents' Guide: Pages 9-27
- Lessons 1-100: Pages 29-392
- What Now?: Pages 393-395
Guide Review - Book Review: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
I know, you've been burned before. Books come along that promise you can teach your child to read, or use the potty, or behave, and you believe, only to find a lot of non-specific theories that leave most of the heavy lifting to you. If you've ever thought, "Why can't they just tell me exactly what to say!" you'll enjoy this book. Because they do. Exactly. In hot pink type.
Save for a little prep at the start, the book is devoted entirely to step-by-step lessons. You say what the book tells you to say, do what the book tells you to do, move your finger across the little dots under the words, enunciate slowwwwly, move your child along. The program may be aimed at parents who want their preschoolers to gain a competitive edge -- author Engelmann's previous book was "Give Your Child a Superior Mind" -- but it can in fact do the trick for children with special needs. In fact, I think about the only time I've successfully taught my language-processing-bedeviled daughter anything at all was during our sessions with this book.
She reads beautifully now. She often has no clue what words mean, but she can say them nicely. The one part of this book she couldn't follow were the comprehension exercises, and that's still a problem, 10 years on. But learning phonics is worth something. Being able to sound out new words or figure out spelling based on sounds is worth something. And successful parent-child interaction is worth something for sure.