Helping your child learn to read can be an extremely rewarding experience, watching them grow and learn how to not only read and dictate words but also comprehend their content and meaning. Unfortunately, learning to read is far from easy, and many children tend to struggle and can become extremely frustrated in the process. There are a variety of resources out there to help in teaching your child how to read, but sometimes it can be hard to choose the right one for you and your child.
Everyone learns differently, and at such a young age, it can be hard to know what kind of teaching methods work best, especially when teaching such a complex yet fundamental skill such as reading. One of these programs that claim to get your child to start reading at around age 2-3 is Children Learn Reading. Can this program work as well as advertised, or are you better off using your own methods?
About the Author
Children Learn Reading was developed by Jim Yang, who used to program to teach his four children how to read with promising results. He also documented their progress through video which can be found on the main information page for Children Learn Reading to show some of the potential progress you might see with your child. In addition to this, Jim Yang has also had years of experience as a reading teacher, spending a good portion of his life teaching children how to read and learning what techniques work best overall. Considering his background and the video proof of how his children learned to read with the program, it seems promising that the program has a sound foundation behind it.
Children Learning Reading is a series of sequential lessons that focus on phonics and phonemics. Phonics is the core technique that helps children learn more quickly and effectively. This technique relies on relating the full sounds letters make either individually or in groups within words to help understand or correlate their respective spelling, or inversely infer their pronunciation based upon the spelling of the word being read. Since phonics is tied to the sound of words, it also plays a role in improving a child’s ability to speak quickly and clearly. Phonemics, on the other hand, focuses on using the individual sounds found within the alphabet to help form a correlation between sounds and letters. While there are 26 letters in the alphabet, there are 44 different phonemes.
The Children Learning Reading program is broken down into multiple bite sized chunks, each lesson only being 3-5 minutes long. This is the perfect amount of time considering that children have extremely short attention spans, and they’ll likely lose interest if the lesson drags on for too long. While the lessons themselves are extremely short compared to what one might expect, the techniques found in each lesson are simple yet effective, and build off of each other as the lessons progress. The lessons also expect the parent to be active in the teaching process. This isn’t a program that simply teaches your children to read for you.
What Comes With It?
There are two different versions of Children Learn Reading. There’s the Standard Package and the Premium Package. The Standard Package has everything you’ll need to teach your child how to read using the program, so you won’t be missing out on any essential materials. The Premium Package does have some handy supplemental material that will help make things easier though, especially with some of the later and more complex lessons. Here is a breakdown on what each package includes:
Standard Package: $49.95
-Stage 1 Step-by-Step Lessons
-Stage 2 Step-by-Step Lessons
-Stage 1 Stories
-Stage 2 Stories
-Letter Sound and MP3 Audio Clips
-The Most Common Sight Words
-Children’s Favorite Nursery Rhymes
-Children Learning Numbers & Math Workbook
-Free Lifetime Updates
-One-on-One Counseling for 12 Weeks
Premium Package: $69.90
-Standard Package Contents
-Children Lesson Videos and Workshop
These series of videos show how to apply the lessons, as they document the course owner’s own experiences over a 12 week period.
-Children Learning Reading Video Edition
A video providing an outline of all the essentials you’ll need to know about the program, along with helpful tips on how to most effectively implement the program.
-Pre-Set Printouts for Stage 2 Lessons
These printouts encompass all 22 lessons in Section 2, making for easy organization and reference.
-Stage 2 Rhymes
This gives you access to all of the full color illustrations that go along with the rhymes for Stage 2.
While the main page does recommend purchasing the premium package, it’s not a necessity and you should be able to get through the program fine without the extra materials. If you do end up wanting the extra materials, you can always purchase them separately and upgrade your package for an additional $19.95.
Children Learning Reading comes with 50 lessons in total, broken down into two stages. These stages essentially separate the basic fundamental material from the more advanced material. The lessons all flow together intuitively though, bridging together with like concepts and related learning exercises.
Stage 1 focuses on introducing phonetics and working on solidifying the basic building blocks of language such as the alphabet, letter sounds, and blending. Simple words will also be introduced as the lessons continue, progressing towards more advanced words. Children will learn how to decode and blend words together, resulting in being able to read the word clearly and fluidly. Rhymes, stories, and other activities are introduced at the end of lessons to help reinforce these concepts and help ensure the child has mastered the lesson before moving on to the next.
Stage 2 takes the fundamentals learned in stage 1 and builds upon them further. More advanced words are introduced in stage two, along with the concept of digraphs. Digraphs are essentially two letters that come together to make a different sound than you might normally expect when spelling things out phonetically. These are pairs of letters such as the /kn/ in knife, the /ch/ in watch, or the /ck/ in chick. Just like in stage 1, there are rhymes and other activities at the end of each lesson but they are much more complex than those in stage 1. Despite being more complex, they do follow the same intuitive progression as those in the first stage, ensuring that they are both related and not too advanced for the reading level your child is currently at.
Are There Any Requirements?
While the Children Learning Reading program is designed to help teach children to read quickly and effectively, there are a few things your child should be able to do prior to starting the program. First off, it is recommended children be within the age range of around 2-3 years old before beginning to use the Children Learn Reading program. This is because the child needs to at least be able to speak somewhat effectively in order to be able to learn and understand the reading aspects of the program. While there are some portions of the program that will help children with speech as well as reading, the program is not designed to teach children how to speak. This program is also not an ESL program (English as a Second Language), so the child should have at least a strong foundation in speaking and understanding spoken English prior to starting the Children Learning Reading program.
What to Expect as a Parent
As stated before, this program isn’t going to magically teach your child how to read on their own. The Children Learning Reading program expects a fair amount of engagement from the parents in helping teach their child how to read. Parents should be able to set aside at least 15-20 minutes per lesson with their child for the program to be effective. While the lessons themselves are only a few minutes long, the lessons are expected to be taught by the parent, so there is a little prep work that comes with reading each lesson plan prior and understanding the best methods of teaching and conveying the information.
It is also important to understand that every child is different, and learns at different rates. Just like adults, children can be more attuned to understanding certain subjects or concepts better than others. With this in mind, just remember that there is no standard curve when tracking your child’s progress, so don’t get discouraged if you have to review the same lessons a few times to reinforce the fundamentals before moving on.
Lastly, the course is mostly online, with a few physical books and supplementary materials. If you live in an area with poor or no internet connection, or are not one for using technology, you may want to find a program that has minimal or no digital materials.
Where Should I Buy It?
While you can find Children Learning Reading offered on a variety of websites, it is recommended that you purchase the program from the official site. The reason for this is that the official site offers a full 60-day satisfaction guarantee. If you are unsatisfied with the product for any reason, or simply just don’t want it, you can get a full refund as long as you request it within 60 days of purchase, no questions asked. You may be able to find the program on other websites or some of the physical materials for sale secondhand, but these sites don’t have the return policy and you also might not be getting everything that comes with the program, depending on the site or the seller.
The Children Learning Reading program seems to be very solid and well thought out, and has had a positive response among those who have tried the program. Most reviews Have rated it in the 4 to 5 star range, with very few dipping into 3 stars and under. The few reviews I did see in the 3 star range were mostly due to the lesson plans sounding a little bit too much like they are out of a textbook, and some slight redundancy and belaboring the necessity of teaching phonics (though to be fair, Jim Yang even admits to spending a bit too much time on it in the material itself).
The fact it is primarily digital makes it extremely accessible with very little additional or hidden costs such as shipping, and your geographic location won’t limit your access to the program. The only thing it does require is a stable internet connection, which may make it unsuitable for those with poor connections. There is a link to download all of the lesson materials, but some of the supplemental materials and resources such as the support and counseling may require a constant stable connection, as well as the initial download, which might take some time.
In short, the pros and cons of the Children Learning Reading program are:
- Easy to follow
- Systematic and proven techniques
- Comprehensive presentation of topics
- Methods used are backed by scientific studies
- Printed cue cards are effective and engaging
- Program provides excellent materials
- Instructions available in written, audio, and video format
- Is primarily online, limiting access by some
- Two packages (Standard or Premium)
- Requires parental engagement