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The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading Paperback – October 17, 2004

128 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jessie Wise, a former teacher, is a home education consultant, speaker, and writer. She has decades of experience as a classroom teacher, elementary school principal, private tutor, and educational consultant, and is the co-author of the best-selling The Well-Trained Mind and the groundbreaking elementary grammar text First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind. She lives in Charles City, Virginia.

Sara Buffington has experience as a teacher and children's book editor. Now a freelance writer, Buffington is the co-author of The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and First Language Lessons, Level Three.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Peace Hill Press; Reprint edition (October 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972860312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972860314
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.9 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jessie Wise, a former teacher, is a home education consultant, speaker, and writer. She has decades of experience as a classroom teacher, elementary school principal, private tutor, and educational consultant, and is the co-author of the best-selling "The Well-Trained Mind" and the groundbreaking elementary grammar text "First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind." She lives in Charles City, Virginia.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

130 of 134 people found the following review helpful By My Paycheck Goes To Amazon on March 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I (homeschooling mom) was very skeptical when I first received the book: No pictures! Then we (my 6-year old twins and I) started. And we loved it! We are half way through the book, and both kids read fluently. In their free time they pick up other books or anything else readable that they can find.

The (231) daily lessons are very well structured, take about 10-15 minutes each, and provide excellent in-text directions for the teacher, so there is no preparation time. And I learned that because there are no pictures, the focus is on decoding the letters and applying the phonics rules without any distraction.

Optional activities/games are fun to choose from. I recommend getting the pre-printed index cards that go along with the lessons and games (directly from Peace Hill Press, about $5.00).

The book ends with "Reading a Really Long and Silly Word": supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Imagine your new reader to read that properly without problems, and YOU helped them to get there.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A. Lauer on August 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm using this with my 4-year-old son. Before I started homeschooling him, I had him in a private preschool, where he learned all his short-vowel and consonant sounds, as well as some basic math (beyond simple counting that is). In spite of that, I didn't skip the first two sections that teach short-vowel and consonant sounds, but I did cover two letters a day instead of just one. Otherwise I've followed the program the way it's laid out.

I gave the book 4 stars because it's simple, orderly, and lives up to it's name. However, I have a few issues so far that kept the book from getting 5 stars.

1) The poems in the first two sections. Yes, kids are great at memorizing things, but these are horrible. The very first letter caused problems for my son, who kept trying to say "first vowel" for both lines because the lines were so similar. Patterns are a wonderful way to memorize things, but these patterns weren't consistent. It made me wonder whether Jessie Wise had field-tested these on a variety of children before publishing them. I'm sure some kids will get them, but the combination of boring and inconsistent is a little too much for the short-vowel poem. The consonant poem is better - the pattern is consistent, and it's a little more fun (my son loved saying "/b/,/b/, bat" even though I didn't ask him to learn the poem), but after the short-vowel poem I opted to skip it. In my son's case it wasn't needed.

2) Other reviewers have noted a lack of phonemic awareness training, which I also noted.
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208 of 237 people found the following review helpful By Becky Hintz on August 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
After completing 89 lessons in this book, my daughter and I are calling it quits. We've worked on it on and off for over a year (she's 5 now), and for the sake of preserving a love of reading, have decided to shelve it. This book has been helpful in a number of ways; it is great for giving a parent the sense that they can indeed teach their own children, that reading is easy, and laying out a path for doing so. I have found it useful as a reference book, i.e. to show me what to introduce, remind me what the actual "rules" are, and give me direction for our lessons. However, there have been some significant problems.

1) The layout of the pages is daunting for a child. There are lots of words, no pictures, nothing to visually set apart the words that the child reads except that they're a bit larger. It seems overwhelming and very un-child-friendly.

2) The practice stories often make no sense, and fail to capture my daughter's interest at all. An example from today: "The black snake did wish that he had a snack of mice. The snake did scan the grass to prey on mice. The grey mice sat on the rock and ate nuts. The snake came to the rock. Hey! The mice fled. They hid in holes. The snake will have no snack this day." Awkward wording, nothing particularly interesting about that, no pictures. The optional follow-up activity is to illustrate this story and label the items.

3) The practice sentences are way too long, and overwhelm new readers. For example, the child has just been introduced to the "fl" blend (lesson 50), and reads the sentence, "Ducks in flocks flit and flap on the flat pond." This sentence is too long, has onomotopeic words with which they may not be familiar (flit), and makes them use the new rule 4 times!!
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70 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Debi on October 14, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book not only begins with a straightforward, easy-to-understand method, but it keeps going where most expensive reading programs leave off.

It wholly maintains phonetics and encourages the student to sound through longer words with its step-by-step, building sound-upon-sound approach to reading.

The result is children who can read more difficult passages fluently at a very young age thus giving them literary freedom.
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143 of 176 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Bennett on August 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
I am a teacher and a Language Arts' specialist. Because I am home schooling my own child, I ordered Wise's book as I felt I wanted a book specific to phonics instruction (and I love The Well-Trained Mind). I didn't want my son to miss something important along the way (yes, even teachers feel insecure about their own kids).

Although it's helpful to think about different vowel sounds and consent blends/digraphs, I find that Wise's very structured lessons are too limiting for us. Maybe it's my kid, but he is much more interested in learning to read in context than through the lessons (The Bob Books are a big hit, as are the I Can Read books). In fact, he even says the "boring" word when I pull out the book. Uh Oh. We do little bits throughout the day and I only focus on those areas where I can see he needs more support (as he taught himself to read at the age of 4). We do try to get as silly as possible as there is great potential for making up extremely goofy rhymes thanks to the helpful lists of word families.

A note of caution: Wise favours the terms "little a" and "big A", which can be confusing for children (upper case and lower case, although more technical, are more accurate descriptors than size). In addition, describing vowel sounds as "short" and "long" is also confusing for a child as you can draw out the "short" a in "cat" to be as long as the "long" a in "take". Unfortunately, these are the conventional terms used to differentiate vowel sounds; however, we choose to describe them differently at our house.

For the insecure or inexperienced "teacher", this book will help you understand the important phonetic concepts to cover with your child. *Your* child may enjoy the lessons and you may have peace of mind that you are being thorough.
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The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading
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