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I have another question. We are in lesson two. Should I be trying to have my boys reading books, or not at this stage, or any stage of these lessons? I was always told to make them read about a 1/2 hour everyday. They really didn't read I had to tell almost every word.


I want to follow this the right way. I think making them read now would confuse
them, but you know more so I'm asking, should I wait untill we are done with the
12 lessons or should I be reading books with them at the same time too? Thank you for any help you can give me.


No, don't try to read with your student at this time unless they are WANTING to read with you. If that is the case, make sure the books are very simple and take their fingers, make a game of it, and point to each word as you read it. Don't expect your student to read it with you but if they begin to then praise them for their efforts. Read it WITH them. Don't make them think you expect your boys to read by themselves at this time. As you go through our course, you will find lots of exercises where you READ letters and combinations of letters. This is what you want to focus on right now.


The time schedule suggested in our program more than adequately takes care of the 1/2 hour of reading with your boys. However, if they ASK you to read a book with them then do so but be sure their fingers point to the words and if they don't LOOK at each word then stop and tell them you will read with them later until they get the idea to look and point at each word. Otherwise, they will just memorize the words and you will think they are reading the book.

Another way to read a book with them is to make a game of it by reading only the first letter of each word. Each time they get lost, ask "Where are we?" and start over. If you read, "Sam gets lunch." then in this game read "S, g, l". Next time read the book by saying aloud only the second letter of each word or the last letter of each word.

Another way is to teach your children what a capital letter looks like. This is actually being presented in the lessons you are teaching. Show them what a period looks like, an exclamation point and a question mark. Then take each sentence, one at a time and read it by pointing to each word. Stop before going on to the next sentence and ask questions. For instance, if the sentence is "Sam gets lunch." , then read it first. Stop, and ask what letter comes before the m in Sam. What letter comes after the t in gets? What is the first letter in lunch? What is the letter before the h in lunch? This type of activity will increase focus and strengthen their reading skills in a marvelous way. It also builds self-esteem. Praise your boys often. Make them feel that you are proud of them and they will probably want to excel for you.


Thank you for your prompt response. My husband helped me to follow the
instructions you emailed me and I was able to access your site. I am going
through the information now. Thank you once again. I was concerned about how
this would all work via email, but your personalized email(s) make me feel
that you really care, and I feel more confident about trying your program via
the web. As you may have noticed from my other emails, I'm new to this whole
concept. Thanks for not making me feel as though I was incompetent.


I was 19 before I met somebody that did not know how to read. This girl was 27 and was at the grocery store buying what she thought was tuna. After some hesitation she asked me to read the label for her. She was very embarrassed and could have ended up eating cat food had she not asked. I decided then to help her learn how to read. We had weekly dates at the library for almost a year. When we finished she was able to read grocery labels and some Dr. Seuss books. It scares me to think that more children slip through without ever learning to read. It is imperative that everybody learn to read at least on a basic level.

Everybody starts with ABC. Mommy and Daddy started with ABC. I explain to my child that in riding her bike
she had to learn to ride with training wheels and once she knew how we could take them off. The same goes for reading, ABC's are the training wheels!

We sing now all the time and read road signs and letter recognition off of license plates. It is 20 minutes to the nearest city so road trips provided lots of time for us to sing and talk.


How would you explain to a child who knows the alphabet that he or she had to begin learning the alphabet all over?


I would begin with a story about a man who wanted to build a lovely house but he thought it would be to hard and too time consuming to bother finding a solid place for his house and attatching the house well to the ground ( she wouldn't understand "foundations"). So he went ahead and tried to build the house right on the soft ground. His house was wobbly and crocked and he finally gave up and had no house for his struggle. Then I would tell her that learning the ABC's is like finding the solid place for the house. It is well worth the effort in the end.


Why is it important for every child to have the opportunity to read?



There are many reasons for the need to read. There are the obvious needs in everyday society to understand the world around you, the name of streets, signs (not just their colors), names of buildings (grocery store, post office), house numbers, phone numbers, addresses, the local newspapers. I personally believe in the need to read because of where I live, in a remote area of Montana. I do not get television, unless I want to pay for a satellite dish, and so I get no local news, weather, "entertainment", and the like. One of our main entertainments is reading.

I have traveled widely for someone from here, but without books, magazines, and newspapers, people here would not know of the outside world. It is a key to knowing about the rest of the world, without having to have the money to visit all of the places. Also here, kids are our, as in my community's, greatest export. We work at making our kids stand out academically so that they have the chance to go places and do things they cannot otherwise afford. All this is brought about by literacy. Here it is our key to let our kids see the world.


Learning to read is more than "important" -- it is essential, in terms of
enabling a person to function effectively in industrialized societies and to
enjoy one of man's greatest achievements -- the written word. The
differences in the quality of life between literate and illiterate people are
hard to imagine. Without having the opportunity to learn to read, a person
can only be taught orally or by demonstration, which severely limits the
level of education which can be attained. Learning to read enables a student
to use initiative to self-teach which is where the greatest opportunity to
learn lies.



My son enjoys his lessons and is eager to begin everyday. We work from 2-3 hours per day, six days a week. I have had to set the timer because the time flies so quickly when we are doing these lessons. This is one of the easiest programs I have ever worked with. With the amount of time we spend on lessons each day, Brian's interest level is unbelievable. . With this program, Brian is so excited he stays motivated


Just last week I was at the fair and a teen of about the age of 15 who was working at the fair, asked the lady in front of me what that sign said. The sign was directly in front of him. It then occured to me that that young man didn't not no how to read that sign. I was so burdened and hurt that no one had taken the time to really show that child how to read. Everyone should have the opportunity to read. And I believe it could be a factor in the outcome of childs life.



It is not productive to have an instructor who does not know more than the students that they are trying to teach. After all isn't the purpose of teaching to share knowledge?


I was really excited when I received your letter of confirmation. I was
even more excited when I checked out the web page to Step One. It looks
absolutely wonderful!! It is just what I have been looking for and so much
more. I can see that so much time, love, and commitment has been put into
making these lessons available to others like me. I am so grateful!! I can
hardly wait to get started.


If I perceived that my child is singing a song learned in a prior lesson TO
AVOID paying attention to the current lesson, I would not permit it. I would
explain the importance of using our limited time as wisely as possible and
point out that he has other time available (when we are not together) to sing
the previously learned song. However, in limited cases, his singing the old
song might be a way showing me he has grasped the prior lesson and that in
his mind, it has relevance to the current lesson. If so, I would move him
back to the current lesson without discouraging his initiative and manner of
giving me feedback.


After purchasing a book on phonics at a book store with which to teach
my grandson, it occurred to me to use the Internet. I used the keyword
"phonics" on the AOL search engine. Then I waded through and discarded a
number of hits until I read yours. It appealed to me that your program is
free; but after reading everything, including your exacting instructions, I
concluded that you must be good people, genuinely interested in children (and
adults), and if you are so selective about with whom you share the program,
you must value it highly.


I believe learning to read is important because, reading is like any life skill, you need it to survive not only scholasticly, but also, everyday of your life which you are required to read. Reading builds confidence, and speaking from experience I know this. When I was in grade 5, my teached noticed the I was reading at a grade 3 level. He put me on the grade 3 program, which I flew through, then the grade 4 program, which I also flew through and within 3 months I was caught up!
Reading not only provides knowledge, it also provides escape into any world you want to be in and it's all yours!!


I couldn't imagine not being able to read, and I want my children to experience the pleasure of reading and make it an important part of their life.


Singing a song and know the meaning are two very different concepts.
Recognizing the letters of the alphabet is different from understanding
the power the letters have in our lives. Knowing that ABC stuff, is a
whole lot different than mastering and conquering those letters.


I am impressed with the lesson plans and the songs. I was please to see the added sound clips to help me, the teacher, to introduce songs with the correct melodies. I was able to tape them off of my computer onto a cassette. This has helped to allow my son to sing along during free time or when we travel in the car. Thank you for taking the time to record each song. My son has expressed more confidence in reading since beginning the phonics lessons. I am encouraged that your program will benefit my son and has done so already after only 2 weeks .


Should my child inform me that he already knows that ABC stuff and says he shouldn't have to keep repeating the same, I would tell him that if he already knows the "ABC stuff," then there must be some other explanation for his inability to read well and we must find it. We will do so by "reviewing" the ABC stuff to see how well he knows it. I would further explain that life is replete with reviewing, repeating and reinforcing what a person already knows. It's what some call "practice" and it's what athletes, doctors, firemen and all successful people do.


I would explain that there are many reasons. I would compare his
present reluctance to some past experiences when he at first didn't want to
learn some particular skill, such as diving or swimming underwater. I would
emphasize the difference in his enjoyment of that skill today compared to
when he didn't want to learn it. I would remind of other times when he felt
one way about something but later changed to an opposite feeling about it. I
would stress the importance of not wasting more time before learning what
(phonics) he should have learned two years ago.



I would say "you can never know enough". I would show some of my favorite books and say " if you could read these, you would want read more" , or "you'll find a story that you'ld wish would never end". I might say "you're mind puts on a much better show with a book then any video version".



If my daughter saw no reason to start with ABC, I would tell her "big girls know their ABC's" and if she wants to read her favorite books she has to know her ABC's first. I would set up a chart and the ABC section would have to have a star for each lesson and she has to earn a star for every lesson before we go to the next level.



First I would ask him to say aloud the sound of some letters in the
alphabet. Then I would repeat the correct sounds to him. After that I
would use blending sound method to sound out some words. Finally, I would
explain how he could use the basic sounds of the alphabet to sound out new
words and would be able to read them.



When you start a journey, you must always start at the beginning. You
can't take off on the plane to California without leaving your front
door. Therefore, we have to start at the beginning and the beginning is


Starting with ABC's will help to lay a solid foundation for learning
words and how they are pronounced. Just like laying a solid foundation
upon which to build a house. The foundation must be strong or the house
will one day fall. The foundation to reading is understanding how the
English language pronounces each of its letters. Some letters have
several ways that are pronouned. Mastering this basic information will
make reading easier and more enjoyable.



I would tell my child if he refuses to start with ABC, "If you keep trying like you have in the past by the end of the summer you will be able to read anything you want to!"

Note from Bill and Janae Cooksey: Please understand that's not necessarily true. With our program, your son should become familiar with the names of the alphabet letters and the combination of letters with their sounds. He should become fluent in "reading" these combinations and he should be able to tackle three letter words. Also, he should be more than ready to accept the challenge of blending letter sounds together. In the following course, Step Two, he will learn more about dissecting the structure of words.