Monday, October 20, 2008

A Final Farewell to 100EZ Lessons

Back when I first started homeschooling, I heard about Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Reading being one of my top priorities, I decided to give it a try because (1) I liked the title (2) I liked that it was an all-in-one resource (3) I was scared that I'd scar my children and relegate them to illiteracy if I didn't use something so obviously helpful.

Well, Ben showed the desire to read early (3.5) and not wanting to stifle his learning and chances for full-tuition scholarships to Harvard, I began to gently introduce him to this book and the future of learning. It worked well for a little while, then when Ben began to cry when I brought it out, ("I don't like that book, Mommy!") it sat on a shelf for a bit while we did other stuff. I'd bring it out periodically, we'd make progress, then Ben would freak out and I'd put it away.

At some point in his kindergarten year, Ben and I came to an understanding that this was school and it would not bite him, scare him nor scar him. He settled into "doing" 100EZ well. But at that point, I started to dislike the program. It began to remind me of the Dick and Jane sight word reading programs that were used when I was in school. I noticed that the unique orthography (print type) was not teaching the child why we had a silent "e" at the end of some English words and what it's affect was on the vowel before it (My "ah-ha" moment with that phonics rule was gratis Between the Lions at some point in my son's 3rd year of life). I was also noticing that Ben was doing well with guessing words, but not so well when confronting new words. He seemed to have few strategies for sounding out words.

We switched to The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading -- it was a great resource. But, I'm just not excited about using it again. My sit-on-the-couch-and-cuddle-while-doing-school days are over. Too many boys, too many things going on, too little time.

So, here comes Luke, ready and eager to read. We've completed 40 lessons in 100EZ and he is doing well. But, I got that niggling feeling in the back of my mind about the need for strategies to decode words. I spent this weekend comparing Ramalda Spaulding's Writing Road to Spelling (3rd edition) and the accompanying homeschool guide and My All About Spelling-Level 1 (AAS) book that I began using with Ben in 3rd grade to improve his spelling abilities. Given I'm already ahead on the AAS learning curve and like it, I'm going to follow AAS to teach Luke to read. There is a huge FAQs section at the AAS website if you'd like a comparison between it and Spaulding.

So far (2 days), Luke has learned nearly all the beginning phonograms (step 1), he is getting better at alphabetizing the ABCs and has learned the difference between a vowel and consonant (step 2), and by Wednesday we'll likely be ready to begin segmenting words into phonemes (sounds) and picking out beginning/ middle/ end sounds. I've also been able to spend a few minutes at the end of our lessons helping Luke make 3-letter words out of the tiles (pan to pin to tin to tan, etc.) which is complementing the lessons we're doing on Explode the Code Online. Each level of AAS has a progress chart, and we just printed off Luke's today.... I suspect we'll begin putting stickers on his mastered levels this week! He will love this for visual reinforcement of his progress.

In all, I'm really happy with this change. And totally at peace with it, too, which is really a good, good sign. I'll be adding 100EZ to the For Sale pile in the basement.


argsmommy said...

Hi! I found your blog through Graphically Designing. Darcy just finished mine (your blog design was one I told her I really liked). Anyway, this time I actually visited your blog to see what you have to say. : ) I have a beginning reader as well, and we use The Ordianry Parents Guide. Sometimes it works well, sometimes not. The lessons can seem long to me, but there are also so many lessons that I wonder if we will ever finish the book! I've often wondered about 100 EZ, so thanks for your review.

Happy Homeschooling,

Krissy said...

I've hear AAS can also be used for teaching little ones to read!! So glad I'm gonna start using it this year!
BTW I'm on the homeschool crew and just came by cause of the blog walk!! Finding some great helps here!!

Krissy said...
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