- Book: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
- Author: Siegfried Engelman, Phyllis Haddox, Elaine Brunner
- ISBN: 0-671-63198-5
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Concept: Using 100 simple lessons that require approximately 20 minutes a day you can teach your child to read and understand what they have read. This is a direct instruction method based on phonics and a phonetic alphabet.
How We Used It: I followed the script outlined in each lesson, saying word-for-word the teaching each lesson set out. While we continued reading books to our children, the child was not asked to do any reading beyond what was set out in each lesson (no reading books to themselves or us). We did one lesson per day for 100 school days, taking breaks for weekends, holidays, and school vacations.
We used this book for all three of our children. Two of them responded wonderfully and have learned to read using the methods outlined in 100 Easy Lessons. First Born and Little Man both used this method exclusively for learning to read and by the end of the 100 outlined lessons both could read and answer questions for Kindergarten and early 1st Grade level books (many of which are listed in the Now What? section of 100 Easy Lessons). First Born went through the book when she was 3. Little Man did it during his Pre-K year (ages 4-5). Our Middle Child, always wanting to be different, did not respond well at all to the lessons in 100 Easy Lessons. We tried it when she was 3 and she just wasn’t ready. We pulled it out again at four and she fought us every step of the way until we finally gave up using this with her. About 2 weeks after we stopped, Middle Child picked up a book and began reading. I still really have no idea how she actually learned to read!
Concerns: Because this material uses a phonetic alphabet to explain sounds, some children can have trouble transitioning from the phonetic alphabet to reading actual books. 100 Easy Lessons works from lesson 75 on to help with this transition, but I have noticed that wasn’t always as smooth as the book would like to you think. The writing lessons also assumes fine motor skills for a 5-6 year old. If you are using this book with younger children you may need to adjust your expectations of their ability to form letters.
Recommendation: Yes, we recommend this book as a great way to teach your child to read. While it won’t work for every child, (I have yet to find any magic curriculum that does) it is a good program with proven success. Pairing it with other phonics-based reading materials, such as Horizons Reading & Phonics Grades K-2, will also help to continue building reading skills.
TIP: If your child just isn’t “getting it”, put the book away for a few weeks or even months, especially if they are young. Learning to read is a process and if your child isn’t ready for it no materials or curriculum will change that. Wait a while and try again. Based on our family’s results, you will likely have success using this program.