Parents Can Teach: A Simple Step By Step Guide to Helping
Your Child Become an Independent Reader is a book designed to help parents teach their children to read. Suitable for use with all ages, the 46-page book outlines a six-step program to help your child become a fluent reader.
The book begins with a short section explaining how to pick books for your child, and then it moves into the six steps: "Read to Your Child Every Day," "Have Your Child Read Aloud Every Day," "Teach Your Child Letters," "Teach Your Child Words," "Teach Your Child to Read," and "Teach Your Child to Write." In the first step, you are directed to read aloud to your child daily, talking about the books before and after you read them. In the second step, your child should read aloud to you daily for ten to twenty minutes, and again, you're supposed to discuss the books before and after reading. In the third step, you are to teach your child the letters of the alphabet, making sure they know the name and sound of each letter and also how to write each letter. The fourth step has you teaching your child individual word lists (more on this below), and the fifth step instructs you in how to apply the knowledge learned from the word lists to books. The final step explains how to teach your child write basic sentences and stories using the words he has learned to read.
This is not a phonics-based program. The author makes a point to tell the parent not to use the phrase "sound it out" when the child reaches an unfamiliar word, because "only rhyming words can be sounded out letter by letter." Instead, this program teaches reading by using high-frequency sight words (such as the, with, and after), rhyming words (fan, man, can, pan, and plan, for example), and words with parts (such as ou words: out, cloud, couch, shout, round, and proud). Other suggestions include teaching word endings (-s, -er, and -ing), number and color words, and long vowel words (such as -a_e words: cake, make, tape, and made). If a child misses a word while reading, he or she is encouraged to look at the picture or to think about what word would make sense in the sentence.
This book includes a few helpful items--a letter and sound checklist, instructions for how to form all uppercase and lowercase letters, letters tiles to cut out, and an alphabet book for your child to make. There are tips on how to discuss a book before and after you read it and suggestions of different ways to have your child write when he is learning to form letters (write in sand or on the floor or use paint, for example). There is also a helpful list of questions to ask your child to find out if he's understood what he's read.
Overall, though, I am not impressed with this book. The writing style is short and choppy, and I found it difficult to read. In addition, I am not a fan of the reading method promoted in this book. I am not an expert in teaching reading, though three of my sons are fluent readers (ages 10, 9, and 7), one is nearing fluent (age 5), and the other is just beginning (age 4). I taught/am teaching them all using different phonics-based programs. I think Parents
Can Teach: A Simple Step By Step Guide to Helping Your Child Become an Independent
Reader makes the learning-to-read process complicated, and it doesn't set the child up for future success in reading because it relies so heavily on sight words and memorization of patterns. It doesn't introduce even the basic phonics rules. I can't figure out how a child is supposed to read to you daily (step 2) before they have been taught words (step 4) or are reading books (step 5). I don't think a child can learn to read fluently from this book alone. Therefore, I would not recommend this title to parents looking to teach their child to read.