Minimalism Limits Distractions
The 100 Easy Lessons pages are very minimalistic with no pictures and very little color.
On the surface the text may appear dry and boring. Again this is one reason why the system is so effective for children with special learning needs. Highly distractible children tend to become overly stimulated with lots of visual input .
These students are set up for success. The eyes are focused on the text only. The text does not have to compete with the visual input of illustrations. (This is not to say that illustrations are not of extreme value. They are so incredibly valuable.)
The goal is to teach students the basics of reading (phonemic awareness, decoding skills and growing fluency skills). Therefore, limited visual input is a benefit during specific and direct instruction. Once the basics of reading have been mastered and the child requires less mental effort to decode words, the addition of illustrations to books is less of an issue.
Minimal Time Commitment
The lessons are extremely short (no more than 20 minutes a day). The lower time commitment makes learning to read very manageable for both the child and teacher. When I used this system with both of my girls, I often broke up the lessons into 10-minute sessions. I would break up the lesson into a short 10-minute session in the morning and a 10-minute session before lunch.
The point is that this book can be modified to fit the mental capability of the student. If the student is older the student may be capable of more than one lesson per day.
Regardless, I highly recommend modifying ANY curriculum into smaller chunks of time when necessary. I especially receommend shorter lessons with your younger children and any child who struggles with executive functioning.
Short but consistent lessons over time is so effective. Forcing longer lessons is more likely to lead to a resistant and frustrated student. That leads to a dead end. A child’s level of interest and motivation is one of your greatest weapons when teaching your child any subject area.
Please save yourself from the mistake of “forcing” your student to work through longer lessons when they clearly have reached their limit.
This will only create more resistance to engage when it is time for your next lesson. A frustrated child leads to a frustrating teaching time. Frustration within the brain of a child only leads to mental shut down. Forced instruction when a child is mentally shut down is a certain guarantee that nothing taught is retained. It is not worth it. Trust me. I have made that mistake.
Unfortunately, in our culture, we have believed a lie that says more is better.
This is not always the case. I argue that longer lessons are definitely not effective with students who struggle with learning differences. When learning a non-preferred subject area, I always recommend shorter and manageable lessons.
Additionally, I highly recommend reducing anxiety in your child by preparing them IN ADVANCE for what is expected. Before your lesson, clearly tell your student your expectation of reading time over the next 10, 15, or 20 minutes. Time length should be based on child’s capacity at that time. If a child knows what to expect and when to expect an end point, success is more likely.
Whatever you do. Follow through on your end time. If you set the expectation that you are asking for 10, 15 or 20 minutes, stop at 10, 15, or 20 minutes. Be a trustworthy coach to your student and cooperation is more likely to follow.
Overall, I highly recommend Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons for the beginning reader as well as for older students who are struggling with traditional phonics-based lessons.
As mentioned earlier, the lack of illustrations usually targeted to a younger audience is removed which reduces the older student’s potential feelings of embarrassment and shame when using introductory level reading instruction.
Additionally, the book can be modified for older remedial students in that more than one lesson can be addressed each day if appropriate.
The scripted lessons, while some may intitially find stifling, are so helpful for the homeschooling mom or dad who may be nervous about his or her lack of reading instruction experience. The book can also be used by parents wanting to supplement reading instruction over summer vacation.
Bottom line… Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons is very user-friendly, requires no prep time for the instructor, is extremely well-priced (around $16), and is extremely effective for a multitude of students.
Don’t Forget… Every Child is Unique
I will say it once, and I will continue to repeat myself… Forgive me.
Children are not all the same. Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons using the DISTAR teaching method has been proven extremely effective with many children. However, it may not be a fit for you or your student for one reason or another.
My goal is to bring to the forefront a variety of teaching tools and methods that can be implemented depending upon your child’s wiring. Check out this post on the Orton-Gillingham method of reading instruction which has shown incredibly helpful for children who may have dyslexia.
Praise the Lord for options as we educate our children. They are a gift but they are many.
What about you and your student? What areas of reading skills does your student struggle in? Phonemic awareness? Decoding skills? Fluency? Reading Comprehension? Send me your concerns and I will do my best to address them in the coming weeks. I really want to hear from you. Please reach out. 🙂 lindsay at a heartforallstudents dot com
You’ve got this, Teaching Mom!