I am excited to share with you our experience using The Reading Lesson program. We have not finished the program yet, but after we completed the first lesson Little Tiger (age 4) had learned to sound out words and could even read her first book!
(We were given these resources to try out and give an honest review. )
This was our first time using set lessons and I enjoyed having a thought out plan to follow. At first we were doing 2-3 pages a day and Little Tiger found it challenging, but not frustrating. The book recommends only one page a day for her age, but she really enjoyed doing the activities so we did them until she decided she was done. By the end of lesson 1 (which is 19 page) she could read the word a, cat, sat, and at–as well as sound out words. We paired Learning to Read with some beginning reading books we have and she read her first book to me after only completing lesson 1–it was so exciting and she was so proud (as well as myself of course)!
The program was created by Michael Levin, M.D. and Charan Langton, M.S. with the following ideas:
- Structured for homeschool and classrooms
- Uses phonics and Whole Language methods
- Begins with the most common letters in the English language
- Begins with lowercase letters that are seen more frequently in print
- Concentrates on teaching children to decode so they can begin to read independently
Little Tiger can now approach a word and sound it out letter by letter. This was a huge step for us! As we got into the second lesson she started having difficulty because more words were introduced. This was the first time she has ever felt really challenged and became very frustrated at this point (she is at the bottom end of the recommended age for this program). We slowed down and went back to the recommended 1 page a day, repeated activities several times over the course of many days, and included The Reading Lesson CD and the StoryBook CD that is part of the program.
Some points from our experience so far:
- The book starts out with common letters and has the child work on phonics. Then it takes those letters and starts forming sounds, and then words.
- The lessons come straight out of the book and are totally parent/teacher guided with no hands on activities.
- The book doesn’t always use complete sentences so sometimes she tries to add in words that aren’t there. The book will say “tom mad at cat” and she will try and say “tom is mad at the cat.”
- The book moves rather quickly which requires lots of review of the same material.
- The book uses font with a “funny letter a” as we call it and not a ball and stick a. It’s not a big deal, but just so you are aware.
- I like how it uses common cvc words so that as we are reading other books she is able to spot words she has learned from her Reading Lesson activities.
- The pages in the book are kept black and white and pretty plain so they aren’t distracting. My daughter isn’t always excited to do a page from her lessons, but she is excited when she is done with the activity and has learned a new word. You should see her face, it’s priceless!
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The creators of the Reading Lesson also have a math program called The Verbal Math Lesson for ages 5-7 and book 2 is for ages 7-8. We are still working on numbers and counting to 100, but once we have mastered that we will be trying it out. The idea behind this program is that “written math makes simple arithmetic tedious for young children.” All the activities are read aloud to the child in a fun “step-by-step program.