Children Learning Reading Review
I purchased the "Children Learning Reading" system recently in the hopes of finding an effective way to help my daughter learn to read while avoiding any potential pitfalls in the process. In this review I discuss my own experience with it, how effective it has been, and some potential drawbacks you may experience. By the end of this review you should have a good idea if the "Children Learning Reading" system is right for you.
How "Children Learning Reading" works
The creator of this system put it together to teach his own children to read. His goals were to make the lessons short enough to hold the attention span of a small child yet effective enough to teach the child to read — even at a very early age. The system has been refined through the raising of his own three children.
A basic assumption is that parents need to be involved in helping their child learn to read effectively — not TV and videos, computer programs and apps, or even the school system. For a child to effectively learn and master reading skills they need consistent attention from one or both parents. With this in mind, however, the lessons are kept short from 5 to 15 minutes a day. An additional benefit of this approach is that you will also build and improve your relationship with your child.
This system is ideally suited from children anywhere from around 2.5 years up to about 7 years of age. It can also be used with older children who are having difficulty reading.
The ultimate goal is to have your child become fluent in reading both capital and lowercase letters.
By providing background information, related research, and lesson plans you will be teaching your child the following:
- Letter names — both capital and small letters
- Letter sounds — both capital and small letters
- Combining and blending of letter sounds to read whole words
- Separating out sounds to break down a word into its separate phonemes (useful when learning to spell)
- Common words your child will likely come across that are exceptions to basic phonetic rules
- How to read — starting from small individual words, working up to sentences and eventually full children's stories
Also include are tips on organizing your lessons, dealing with resistant learners, proper mindset and expectations, and more.
Information is presented in the following ways:
- Written booklets with background information, detailed lesson plans, and reading material (provided in pdf form)
- Videos demonstrating how to use the lessons with your children
- Audio recordings presenting how to correctly pronounce each phoneme separately as well as in a variety of example words
- Cue card printouts (provided as pdf files). These cards are formatted to be printed on business card sheets that are commonly available in office supply stores. However, regular paper can be used and cut into separate cards with scissors.
"Children Learning Reading" is a phonetic based reading system. This means that it first teaches your child the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make. It then applies this understanding to help your child figure out words based on the sounds the letters make. The program is designed to teach the basic "code" for reading initially. Only after this has been mastered are exceptions, complications, and variations introduced.
The author chose the phonetic approach over the whole word method for many reasons which he presents within the product. I won't go into detail about the research behind the phonetic system here and how it compares to the whole word method. However, if you are interested the author of the system does go into great detail on related studies as well as provide a full list of resources that he used to base his research on.
Mastering the foundational reading skills will allow your child to focus on understanding the topic they are reading rather than struggle with understanding the words ultimately leading to a more rewarding and enjoyable reading experience. The techniques used to help your child read have also been shown to improve their reading, comprehension, and spelling ability in the early school years.
The scientific research behind this approach is impressive and suggests it very effective. However, you are probably more interested in whether or not the author effectively used the research to create a system that will work for your child. The rest of this review is devoted to my own experience using this product to teach my 4 year old daughter to read and will hopefully give you some insight into this issue.
My experience with "Children Learning Reading"
As with probably every other parent I want my child to find reading rewarding and enjoyable. I believe that a strong foundation in reading will provide my child a good foundation to be successful in school and beyond. One of my hopes with teaching my daughter to read was to encourage her to enjoy reading more than engaging in unconstructive entertainment such as TV, video games, and the internet.
Before purchasing this product I had already taught my daughter the names of the letters and the sounds they make but I had difficulty showing her how to apply this information to read. I started worrying I was doing something wrong or maybe I wasn't able to give my child the head start I wanted for her.
I found this product after searching online for a complete system for teaching reading which has daily lesson plans that build skills incrementally over time. There are many websites and apps available (many of which are free) to help teach your child to read - I've even tried many of them. However, I found none that provided a complete and systematic approach that I was looking for.
After purchasing this product and reading through the initial information I was encouraged to learn just how much research the author put into this product - citing different studies and reports from major research institutions around the world while presenting the information in an easy to understand way.
After providing some frightening statistics about the lack of literacy in children and the problems that stem from it he goes on to provide detailed information that he has found to be the most effective strategy for teaching children to read. He also cites research that shows how this approach leads to increasingly enhanced academic performance in the future.
Not only does he give you a systematic way to teach your child to read, he also educates you along the way as to why you are doing what you are doing and how it compares to other popular methods of teaching reading skills.
I found the actual teaching part of the system to be presented in a simple and clear way and quite easy to follow. The program is designed to teach children to read in a very logical and sequential order, and it involves simple, step-by-step lessons and a gradual and steady learning process.
Naturally I was quite excited to get started.
I was a bit worried that my daughter may find the lessons boring at first as she already knew the alphabet. However we were able to move through the first several lessons fairly quickly and focus more on the parts that related to reading and less on learning letters (he even addresses in the book the situation where the child already knows the alphabet). However, reviewing the letters and their sounds also proved to be valuable as there were some letters she didn't know as well as others.
I was very pleased with my daughter's response — she loved it! After going through the day's lesson we often continue to play with the cue cards reviewing the letters and words and creating new words. She also regularly teaches her stuffed animals how to read which further reinforces the lessons.
Even though we haven't yet worked through the whole program, she is already reading simple words on her own and is always eager to move on to the next lesson — regularly asking if she will get new cards today or not.
Needless to say, I am very pleased with this product and I'm confident I have found the solution I was looking for. I am relieved and encouraged to know that I am giving my daughter the foundational skills she needs for a bright and successful future.
While each child and parent is different I cannot say for sure that you will have the same positive experience that I had. However, I can't imagine any improvements to the system that would make it more accessible than it already is.
Pros and Cons
- Easy to follow, effective systematic learning system that engages small children and incrementally teaches reading skills
- Thorough presentation of the topic as well as supporting scientific research on the method used.
- Flash card printouts for effective and engaging lessons for small children
- Excellent communication of the material in written, video, and audio form
- Potentially long download times for people with slower connections
- There are two pricing options — standard and premium. The cue card printouts, which are only included in the premium package, are invaluable and in my opinion should be included in both packages.
"Children Learning Reading" is built on an established foundation of scientific research into what methods are most effective at teaching children to read. Further scientific evidence is provided that shows the reading techniques taught provide a foundation for enhanced reading and academic performance in the future.
The phonetic based system involves a gradual and steady process of teaching the child to reading by introducing new letters over time while exposing the child to words incorporating already learned letters. The child progresses from short words to sentences and eventually full books.
Personally, I found great value in "Children Learning Reading" and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a system to teach their child to read.
Where to Buy "Children Learning Reading"
The "Children Learning Reading" system can be purchased from the official product website.
As I mentioned above, the cue card printouts are invaluable but (at the time of this writing) are only included in the premium edition. If you are thinking of purchasing this system be sure to take this into account and opt for the premium edition.
If you are hesitating in making a purchase keep in mind that the program comes with a 60 day money back guarantee — no questions asked. This is more than enough time to determine if it is right for you and return it if it isn't.