Teaching your child to read isn’t as hard as it sounds. That is, if you have a good book to guide you. Today I’m sharing The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading book review.
The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise and Sara Buffington is “a plain-English guide to teaching phonics.” Jessie Wise is also the co-author of The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. For any classical homeschooler, the name should ring a bell.
It was my confidence in the writer that spurred me to purchase this phonics program for my son. I love The Well Trained Mind and thought The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading would be perfect for us. Unfortunately I was wrong. But first, let me share some of the things that I liked about this book.
Book Review – What I loved
When I first looked at the possibility of teaching my son to read, the task seemed daunting. I felt like I needed a complete curriculum to walk me through exactly what to say and how to go about doing it.
This program offered just what I wanted in the form of a very guided structure of teaching my son reading. I mean it guides you in exactly what to say, ask, do etc. It is clear and easy to follow which makes you feel like you actually can teach your child to read. A confidence booster I really needed.
I’m sure that this reading program is great for some out there. For me and my son, I’m truly sorry to say that this was all I liked about this program. It’s a complete, scripted-format guide to reading and that was what I was looking for but how it went about the reading lessons just didn’t work for us.
Let me explain…
Book Review – What I did not like
When we started the school year, my son was already very familiar with his letters and their sounds so the first two sections of the book were pretty pointless for us. The book does do a pretty good job of going through each letter and the associated sound in a fun and easy way but we didn’t need this particular guide.
We started the book in section three with short vowel words. Honestly, my son was resistant to want to learn to read at first. It took a few times of trial and error to figure out what he didn’t like so much about the lessons but ultimately I figured it out.
First of all, my son was not a fan of the the lesson format . The book is supposed to be a one stop shop for all you need to teach your child phonics. This means the lessons are all contained in the book, including the words the child is supposed to practice reading.
The small print made it hard for my son to read. Not to mention that when sitting beside me, either he had to look over my arm or I had to look over his head as he leaned in close to read the tiny print. This made it hard for me to help him sound out the words when I couldn’t see them well myself.
I found a way around this by writing all the new words he would be reading onto index cards. This quickly got old for me though as the amount of words he was to practice reading increased. I just didn’t want to do that much work.
A major hiccup we ran into with this program was the lesson order, particularly with short e and short i. My son had difficulty differentiating the sounds and having these lessons back to back did not help.
I had to stop the lessons altogether and just focus on short e words. Then I skipped to short o and u before going back and re-introducing short i.
In fact, I had to refrain from moving forward with the lessons very often because he just needed so much review. The book does encourage a “two review and one new” lesson structure, but this extended the lesson time and my son could never stay engaged and motivated long enough to maintain this style.
Book Review – Conclusion
The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading is currently collecting dust on our bookshelf. I tried to make it work as much as I could, but ultimately it just didn’t work for us. However this book did give me the confidence I needed to teach my child to read as well as a good foundation to get started. Consequently I have developed my own way to teach my child to read and it has worked well for us.
I hate to leave a bad book review for a program written by a talented educator but unfortunately this guide to teaching reading just didn’t work for us. I do owe my confidence in teaching my child to read to The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading and have since taught my child to read. I’d say that is a win regardless.