We recently received this email question from a parent:
I am looking at curriculum for next year for my sons who will be in Kindergarten and Grade 2. My Kindergarten child hasn't learned to read yet, and my other son is reading at a grade one level now. Would this book be appropriate as a full phonics program for the both of them? Or is it meant to supplement phonics/spelling? What would your recommendation be, to use this as a whole LA program, or would additional programs be needed as well? Thanks!
Thanks for your interest in Teach a Child to Read With Children's Books. Although we wrote the book from the perspective that a child can learn to read without the need of a sequential
intensive phonics program, it can be used in conjunction with such a program. In the book we express our concerns with intensive phonics approaches, specifically that children who are taught to
focus primarily on memorizing rules and sounding out words can, sometimes, fall into a pattern where they are reading like a computer and not reading with fluency and comprehension. If you feel
the need to use a packaged phonics program, perhaps the incorporation of the principles we share in the book will help you, as the child's teacher, to avoid these pitfalls and to emphasize
fluency and comprehension.
Another potential negative by-product of an intensive, packaged approach is the tendency for these approaches to be boring, and to give the child the impression that "reading" is only about memorizing rules and sounding out words. So, if a grandparent asks the child "Do you like to read?" the child may respond with an enthusiastic "NO!" because s/he associates reading with endless memorization drills and meaningless robotic exercises. A child who learns to read using a balanced approach incorporating lots of enjoyable children's literature will, most likely, love the learning to read process.
Regarding the older child, it never hurts, and is always helpful, to incorporate great children's literature in the form of storybooks into the reading program. So, yes, I believe the older child will certainly benefit by the principles and resources we share in the book.
We wish you the best as you teach your children!