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Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons Paperback – June 15, 1986
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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About the Author
Siegfried Engelmann is a professor of education at the University of Oregon, and has written many books on teaching, including Give Your Child a Superior Mind. He is the originator of Direct Instruction, the most successful approach to teaching, and he has developed more than fifty Direct Instruction programs.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
TASK 1 SOUNDS INTRODUCTION
1. (Point to m)I'm going to touch under this sound and say the sound. (Touch first ball of arrow. Move quickly to second ball. Hold two seconds.) mmmmmm. (Release point.)
2. Your turn to say the sound when I touch under it. (Touch first ball.)Get ready. (Move quickly to second ball. Hold.) "mmmmmm."
(To correct child saying a wrong sound or not responding:) The sound is mmmmmm. (Repeat step 2.)
3. (Touch first ball.)Again. Get ready. (Move quickly to second ball. Hold.) "mmmmmm." (Repeat three more times.)
4. (Point to s.)I'm going to touch under this sound and say the sound. (Touch first ball of arrow. Move quickly to second ball. Hold.) ssssss. (Release point.)
5. Your turn to say the sound when I touch under it. (Touch first ball.)Get ready. (Move quickly to second ball. Hold.) "ssssss."
(To correct child saying a wrong sound or not responding:) The sound is ssssss. (Repeat step 5.)
6. (Touch first ball.)Again. Get ready. (Move quickly to second ball. Hold.) "ssssss." (Repeat three more times.)
TASK 2 SAY IT FAST
1. Let's play say-it-fast. My turn: motor (pause) boat. (Pause.) Say it fast. motorboat.
2. Your turn. Wait until I tell you to say it fast. motor (pause) boat. (Pause.) Say it fast. "motorboat." (Repeat step 2 until firm.)
(To correct child saying word slowly -- for example, "motor [pause] boat":) You didn't say it fast. Here's saying it fast: motorboat. Say that. "motorboat." Now let's do that part again. (Repeat step 2.)
3. New word. Listen: ice (pause) cream. (Pause.) Say it fast. "icecream."
4. New word. Listen: sis (pause) ter. (Pause.) Say it fast. "sister."
5. New word. Listen: ham (pause) burger. (Pause.) Say it fast. "hamburger."
6. New word. Listen: mmmeee. (Pause.)Say it fast. "me."
7. New word. Listen: iiifff. (Pause.)Say it fast. "if."
8. (Repeat any words child had trouble with.)
TASK 3 SAY THE SOUNDS
1. I'm going to say some words slowly, without stopping. Then you'll say them with me.
2. First I'll say am slowly. Listen: aaammm. Now I'll say me slowly. Listen: mmmeee. Now I'll say in slowly. Listen: iiinnn. Now I'll say she slowly. Listen: shshsheee.
3. Now it's your turn to say the words slowly with me. Take a deep breath and we'Il say aaammm. Get ready. "aaammm."
(To correct if child stops between sounds -- for example, "aaa [pause] mmm":) Don't stop. Listen. (Don't pause between sounds a and m as you say aaammm.) Take a deep breath and we'll say aaammm. Get ready. "aaammm." (Repeat until child responds with you.)
4. Now we'll say iiinnn. Get ready. "iiinnn." Now we'll say ooonnn. Get ready. "ooonnn."
5. Your turn to say words slowly by yourself. Say aaammm. Get ready. "aaammm." Say iiifff. Get ready. "iiifff." Say mmmeee. Get ready. "mmmeee." Good saying the words slowly.
TASK 4 SOUNDS REVIEW
1. Let's do the sounds again. See if you remember them. (Touch first ball for m,) Get ready. (Quickly move to second ball. Hold.) "mmmmmm."
2. (Touch first ball for s.) Get ready. (Quickly move to second ball. Hold.) "ssssss."
TASK 5 SAY IT FAST
1. Let's play say-it-fast again. Listen: motor (pause) cycle. Say it fast. "motorcycle."
2. mmmeee. (Pause.) Say it fast. "me." iiifff. (Pause.) Say it fast. "if." shshsheee. (Pause.) Say it fast. "she."
TASK 6 SOUNDS WRITING
(Note: Refer to each symbol by its sound, not by its letter name. Make horizontal rules on paper or a chalkboard about two inches apart. Separate writing spaces by spaces about one inch apart. Optionally, divide writing spaces in half with a dotted line:-----.)
1. See chart on page 24 for steps in writing m and s.) You're going to write the sounds that I write. You're going to write a sound on each line. I'll show you how to make each sound. Then you'll write each sound. Here's the first sound you're going to write.
2. Here's how you make mmm. Watch. (Make m at the beginning of first line. Start with a vertical line:
Then add the humps:
(Point to m.) What sound? "mmm." First you're going to trace the mmm that I made. Then you're going to make more of them on the line.
3. (Help child trace sound two or three times. Child is then to make three to five m's on top line. Help child if necessary. For each acceptable letter child makes, say:) Good writing mmm.
4. Here's how to make sss. Watch. (Make s at beginning of second line. Point to s.) What sound? "sss."
5. First you're going to trace the sss that I made. Then you're going to make more of them on the line. (Help child trace sound two or three times. Child is then to make three to five s's on second line. Help child if necessary. For each acceptable letter child makes, say:) Good writing sss.
TASK 1 SOUNDS REVIEW
1. (Point to m.) I'm going to touch under this sound and say the sound. (Touch first ball of arrow. Move quickly to second ball. Hold two seconds.) mmmmmm. (Release point.)
2. Your turn to say the sound when I touch under it. (Touch first ball.) Get ready. (Move quickly to second ball. Hold.) "mmmmmm."
(To correct child saying a wrong sound or not responding:) The sound is mmmmmm. (Repeat step 2.)
3. (Touch first ball.) Again. Get ready. (Move quickly to second ball. Hold.) "mmmmmm." (Repeat three more times.)
Copyright © 1983 by Siegfried Engelmann
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Upon getting it in the mail, I read the introduction. It picks a few sounds to teach and has kids reading very basic words with the high frequency sounds, adding sounds and words to the mix as it goes along. Brilliant! How I never thought of this on my own is beyond me. On top of that, it's scripted, which makes it so easy. It instructs you exactly what you should do if your kiddo makes a mistake, and how to praise when they get it right.
My daughter just finished lesson 25, and the transformation is amazing. She's gone from mixing up letters to reading simple sentences such as, "The cat is in the sack. The sack is near the man." On top of that, because she has experienced success herself, she is proud of herself and far more willing to engage in the activities! I won't lie; at first it was like pulling teeth, and mommy needed a big glass of mommy juice after a lesson. But she now picks the book up on her own in the morning and practices all by herself.
This book is definitely worth every penny, along with every beginning headache. Your kid will start to catch on sooner rather than later, and before you know, he/she will be reading!
Also as a reward, I would read a book to them at the end, which helped them remember the goal. We're also keeping a sticker chart of which lesson each boy has completed. It's not a competition but helps remember who is where.
We're on lesson 40, and this book has been wildly successful for him so far, but we've adapted a lot. He has always begged for reading lessons before we actually start one, but initially, would quickly grow frustrated or have real problems concentrating once they began. So after the first few lessons (which are shorter/easier and were novel), we started breaking them up into 2-3 chunks and "gameifying" them. I also bought a bag of 100 mini dinosaurs from Amazon, and unashamedly give him a new toy after every lesson. So yep. Bribery. Also, "blending" sounds was our developmental roadblock. I almost abandoned the book around lesson 25 or so, when he still didn't have it. He was doing the rhyming exercises without a problem, and also learning all the individual phonics easily, but had real issues blending the sounds together. I've heard that blending tends to be the skill that makes or breaks the book and some kids just won't get it till later. For my son, it clicked around lesson 30 (though I had to scaffold- often covering up the first letter of a CVC word, so that he just had to do one blend instead of two, and then connecting it with the rhyming exercises he was so good at, by saying "'It', very good. Now rhyme 'it' with 'ssss'.") He still sometimes covers part of a word with his fingers when the whole thing is overwhelming, and does it piecemeal. But he's totally sounding everything out and it's an awesome thing to see. He can even sound out the two-syllable words, like "little". And now that the words are easy for him, the excitement is there, and he's much more able to sit through a whole lesson- sometimes even asks for two.
I will say that I don't use the script a lot, and there are things we'll have to pick up in a second go, or from another source. Reading each story twice is too tedious. He doesn't have the motor skills to write, etc. And the focus on comprehension and fluency is something we'll have to keep working at- he sometimes forgets words from the beginning of the sentence because of the pace. But I think it's amazing that he's decoding so well. He hasn't missed a word or even needed help with one in the last three lessons. I do love that this is a phonics system. I didn't learn to read until in school and didn't use phonics- it made the idea of teaching reading opaque to me, since I wasn't sure how I actually learned to read myself. Phonics systematized it in a way that makes so much sense.
I do want to mention that there are other books that I suspect are as or more effective, and might be a better fit for your child. Some are more comprehensive and move at a slower pace, many more "fun" (and the welltrainedmind forum is a great place to get the run down). If I were starting over, I might have chosen one of these, because, due to the age of my son and his temperament, I had to basically become a one-woman show to keep things engaging and positive. I also think, for us personally, approaching blending from several perspectives, and maybe in a more gamefied manner, while providing more practice on one-blend words ("if," "on", etc.) would have helped crystallize things for him sooner/less painfully. As it was, I did a lot of supplemental oral blending work- breaking words up orally when in the care, reverse blending etc., and I think it helped, though I'm really not sure what made it all finally click. Once it did? Smooth sailing. And it clicked all at once- from getting every word wrong, to rarely stumbling. Kind of awesome to see.
Some final notes about moving beyond the book: it's apparently very common for kids to drop off around lesson 50, when the length and difficulty of the stories goes up significantly. My suspicion is we'll be ok here, because he really can sound out just about anything in each lesson, and now that he's succeeding, has a lot more patience to try (plus, we're fine with breaking it up if not). But we'll see. The second major drop off comes after Lessons 70-80 where the names of all letters, and the capital letter forms are introduced over about three lessons, and where the special orthography that helps with pronunciation disappears. I think this might pose a bigger problem for us, since he doesn't know capital letters or letter names already- and learning all that quickly will be a stretch, and the specialized script really does help. The specialized script, for me, is a bit of a love-hate thing. It's definitely a useful tool, but it makes using any easy readers or complementary systems really hard. Reading a "real book" is so much more motivating for him now, but many of the readers I've seen (Bob, or I am Sam books) aren't a great match, since they introduce letters at different times, have a different orthography (e.g., no hat on the a), and don't use phonics-based script. There's just a lot of new information- and he struggles at even the simplest readers. It'd be great if there were accompanying readers you could use in tandem with this book- because there's a difference between reading a few sentences, and reading a "real book"- a big one.
I know there are a lot of caveats in this review, but my kid is reading a full two years before kindergarten, due to ten minutes of practice every few days over a single summer. And he's excited about reading more each day. Really hard to give less than five stars there.
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