Stop worrying! You can do something about it! I know it sounds daunting but you can do it. Fortunately, today we have the Internet and there are lots of programs there to choose from. The secret is to know which one will be the best one for your child.
My advice is to ignore the ‘I taught my child to read in two weeks’ programs. They will be superficial and worked for the author’s child’s unique problems and may have no relevance to your child’s reading needs.
When you realise that the other children in your child’s class have been learning to read and progressing for two or even three years, two weeks just isn’t going to cut it, is it? If there was such a miracle program available every school and teacher would have signed up long ago.
But they haven’t.
The first thing you need to do is to ask for an interview with your child’s teacher. In the interview find out what method your child’s teacher is using to teach reading. (Check out my ‘How To Get The Best From Your Parent/Teacher Interview’ ebook available on Amazon.com if you feel a bit unsure of what to ask.)
Once you know which method is being used you can avoid those programs. After all, if they haven’t worked with the teacher using them, why is it likely that they would work for you?
So we’ll assume that you’ve eliminated ‘quick fixes’ and that exclusively Phonics is the most likely method your child’s teacher uses. So, what’s left?
You’ll find a number of programs that use ‘Whole Word’ methods. These are fine provided they teach words that are used the most often in children’s reading and writing.
To check which are the ‘high usage’ words go to our ‘Guide to the Program’ at the top of our website pages.
You can print off the list of ‘high usage’ words from there and then you can check with the program you’re considering to see whether the most used words are being taught. Unfortunately, you’ll find that there are a lot of ‘low usage’ words in many of the programs and this just wastes your, and your child’s, time. Spending several days learning ‘apple’ won’t help your child much, but spending the same length of time learning ‘said’ certainly will.
Make sure your chosen program includes Whole Words, Phonics, writing, punctuation and of course a series of readers so that you don’t have to pay extra for them or source them elsewhere (very hard to do now bookshops are few and far between).
I know that sounds like a big ask, but it is possible. If you browse the rest of my website you can see that there’s a program just right for you! It’s called Phonics Plus and I wrote it especially for parents just like you!
Once you’ve tested your child on the list of words in the ‘Guide to the Program’ section of the website you know exactly where to start with your child.
You can start with Beginning Reading if your child hasn’t begun to read yet, or slot into the Program depending on how many Essential Sight Words your child knows. (I call them Essential because they are! Without them your child has to try and sound out words that can’t be solved that way eg said, here etc. and progress will be very slow.) Then you follow the instructions in the Parents Books and you’re ready to start.
If you feel at all confused please look at the Guide to the Program. It explains exactly how to check where you should start and how to begin.
Once you see just how easy it is to work with your child and how much progress your child starts to make, you won’t need to worry any more.
Any questions just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Till next time!