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Get Ready for the Code - Book a Paperback – Student Edition, June 30, 1992
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Now I've purchased Get Ready for the Code book A for my four year old and she just loves it! She says words and actually thinks about the beginning of the word and what letter it starts with. We are almost done with Book A and have Book B waiting in the book shelf. Other than the amazing way that this series helps children to sound out words by breaking them down in to their different parts, it also gives the children a sense of accomplishment. They get to the point where they understand what's expected of them and they can work through the page without you "holding their hand". Then they look at you, tell you they are done and you check over their work. Review where necessary and put away for the day.nIt's amazing how it can make them feel so important and grown up to work on their workbook, on their own, without the mom or teacher yapping at them the whole time.
I tell people about this series ALL THE TIME. I wish that the public school system would consider what an asset this would be in the classroom. I feel so blessed to have "happened" upon this series in my research frenzy and that we had the opportunity to use it and see what it can help your child accomplish (on their own even).
1. Most of the pictures are clear examples of the sound being taught, but occasionally you get an ambiguous exercise. For example, there is a one with a picture of a "telephone" for the letter T (introduced in book A). Nowadays with cell phones, most kids have never seen a telephone, let alone heard it referred to as that. My son thought "phone" started with the letter F. No big deal, I just told him what a "telephone" was and he rightly identified it. In another instance, there is a "rabbit" for R. My son identified it as a "bunny" and looked for a B instead. Sometimes I help him re-identify the picture if B is not an available option, but if the exercise is open-ended, like simply writing the correct letter, I don't worry too much about it. He is still learning and demonstrating an ability to sound out the word and identify the letters. If I wasn't helping him and witnessing the learning process, I might think he had gotten it wrong, but because I am there to see him doing it right, I let him have a self-directed learning experience and let it be correct.
2. This book teaches consonants b, f, m, k, r, and t (not necessarily in that order). It introduces both lower-case and capitols and the letter names, but the focus is mostly on letter sounds and lower-case letters. That is a good balance for me. All the writing and tracing is lower-case.
3. If you are not at all familiar with these books, they really do have wonderful and repetitive exercises that really solidify each letter. Several pages are devoted to each letter. There is a combination of identifying words and their starting letters (circle the letter, draw a line to the letter, etc.) and writing the letters (tracing with fingers, tracing with writing utensil, drawing on your own). I thought writing the letters would be too advanced for him, but was surprised and amazed that my 4-year-old has learned to write pretty well. He is very proud that he can write various letters and I've really seen him progress in his fine motor abilities, as well as being able to hold a pencil correctly. For each letter, the exercises start off easy and progress to more challenging. My son really loves the work and will often beg to do extra pages. Eventually, I often have force him to "save some for later" because I don't think he should be doing so much bookwork at this age.
4. For each letter, there is one page that doesn't have instructions. These are found in the mysterious Teacher's Guide. Maybe there is some very valuable info inside, but from what I can see, this is a ruse to get you to purchase an additional manual you otherwise wouldn't need. We just skip this page or make up our own instructions for it.
5. As you can see from the cover, the pictures are kind of rough and imperfect, but I think they're cute. Everything inside is black and white, which is fine with me. Some of the exercises (and optionally all of them) have the child color the pictures. It's clean, black and white, and distraction-free. And if being monochromatic is what makes these workbooks so affordable, that is great by me.
6. I wondered how this program teaches letters that make more than one sound. In Book B, I found out when the book introduces the letter "S." For example, the "s" says "sss" like "sock," as well as "z" like in "closes." Well, this book teaches only the first "sock" sound. I don't know at what point they decide to introduce the "z" sound, but I feel slightly disappointed that we are pretending S only says one sound. Still, the books are great, so I don't take to much issue with this (yet). I've told my son that S makes two sounds, but that we are learning just one of them for now.
7. Every child is different, but my son really caught on to this at about age 3.5 to 3.75 years old. I bought book A for him when he was almost 3 (jumped the gun a little?) and would periodically bring it out to see if he was ready. If he didn't grasp it, away it went for a few more months. He is quite precocious with an incredible attention span and LOVES to read books (aka have books read to him) and will read for hours, if I'm willing. He will sometimes sit through chapter books and books with few or no pictures. If your child is like that, he or she may be ready for these introductory books at 3-4 years old. Other children may do better at 4-5 years old.
I debated giving 4 stars for that unusable Teacher's Guide page and for the fact that it only teaches one letter sound, but in the end, neither of this is a really big deal to me so far. It seems like an excellent program that really enforces the concept of letter sounds; my son loves it, and he is learning so much through it. He loves picking out the letters and sounds he's learned in every day life, like spotting familiar letters in signs at the stores, or sounding out what toy he's playing with. Although this book deals with sounds at the starts of words, he is starting to sound through the words and identify several letter sounds in them (like "Pain-T-B-R-ush"). I am eager to see later on how it teaches reading, blending, and more complex sounds, letter combos, and reading rules.