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Christy Catherine Marshall

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June 1, 2010

I reviewed this book nearly five years ago on Amazon, and I don’t think I’ve ever posted it here. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is still in print, and I noticed it’s garnered 549 reviews, from 1996 to 2010. WOW. I’d call this book a success from both author and publisher standpoint. Many books barely stay in print 3 years, much less garner hundreds of reviews over a 14-year time period.

Educating your child never goes out of style.

I used this method to teach three of my children to read, and I was thinking about pulling it off the shelf this summer just for something fun to do with my five-year-old. I’m a lot more laid back than I was a decade ago. Now I think … what’s the rush?

Parents feel so much pressure to help their kids get an early start in reading … but kids need to be active and healthy more than anything. Let them run, jump, explore, play, dig, swim, touch, slide, kick! I see so many children with eyeglasses now — I’m wondering if all this early reading push might be straining their eyesight. I even saw a commercial recently where a mother was teaching her baby to read before it could even talk. WHY??!!

But if your child is showing signs of reading readiness, here’s a good way to go about the process. So, without further ado, here’s my Amazon review, published in September 2005:


I’m using this book to teach my third child how to read, so I think it’s high time I wrote a review of it. Parents, this is the only book you need to get started on the most important skill they’ll ever learn. And YOU can be the one to teach them!

There are lots of fancy-schmancy phonics programs with bells and whistles — and games and prizes and treasure chests and eight million little stickers and tiny books to keep up with. If you like all that, and need all that, then more power to you. I can barely keep up with everything else I have going on, much less a complicated method of teaching my child to read.

Simplify your life, and just get started. For less than 20 bucks, you’ll have your child well on his or her way to reading.

OK, the title is a little misleading. It’s not EASY, by any means. Especially if you have an active four-year-old boy. Let him do his lessons standing up, lying on the floor, jumping up and down the stairs, out in the yard — he’s active, and let his gross motor skills be used while he’s learning. It takes 10 minutes of super-focusing — but in between the different parts of each lesson, let your child move around. You want him to love reading!

Also, don’t feel like you have to do the writing task of each lesson. My girls love to write, so this was fun for them. But I skipped it with my son until he was more ready to hold a pencil. Actually, we did some lessons out in the driveway, with a fat piece of chalk. He had a great time and usually ended up drawing a whole train system or town after we finished his lesson.

It works. It really does. And it’s amazing to be sitting next to your child the first time they learn to read the word, “see.” Or “mom.” (“Mom! I just read the word ‘mom!'” they’ll say.) It’s something you’ll always remember doing together.

You don’t have to be a reading teacher. You don’t need any special skills or experience. You read the script in red print. You stay on task. And you finish the lesson. Then you praise your child and tell her how smart and wonderful she is!

With each of my kids, we made a VERY SIMPLE chart that had 100 squares on it. I just used a ruler and made some lines and put numbers in them — didn’t even use the computer. It took 5 minutes. Then, after we did a lesson, I let the child put a sticker over the number. Any kind of sticker. All those hodge-podge sheets of stickers you end up with — they work great for a reading chart.

I let each child pick a reward they wanted to receive when they finished all 100 of the lessons. That gave them great incentive to get through the whole book.

For extra practice, I recommend the Bob books, which you can see listed on this site. Kids love these books — they’re adorable. Scholastic makes a good set of beginner readers as well. But you don’t need anything else besides this one book — the little Bob readers can just help reinforce.

As a busy parent, this is one of the most enjoyable things you’ll ever do with your child. But don’t feel like you have to rush — do a few lessons, and if you need to take a break, then do. I highly recommend Raymond and Dorothy Moore’s BETTER LATE THAN EARLY if you’re the type to freak out that your three-year-old can’t write his ABC’s. Too many parents push their children and ruin their eyesight at a young age.

Have fun watching the light go on!

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