With its short lessons, intuitive alphabet, clear lessons and hands-on learning component, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons can be an easy, compact and affordable way for parents to get children reading quickly.
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What Is Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons?
Created by reading specialists and educational experts Dr. Phyllis Haddox, Elaine Bruner and Siegfried Engelmann, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is an accelerated phonics program designed to get children reading quickly.
To do so, the book contains 100 step-by-step lessons filled with helpful visual cues, illustrations, hands-on exercises, as well as comprehension and writing activities, all of which aim to help students learn to recognize letter sounds, develop decoding and blending skills and so on.
Although around for quite some time, the book was updated in 2022 to include a greater emphasis on blending, expressive reading and more.
What Ages or Grades is Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons Intended For?
Broadly speaking, the book and its methodology is aimed at students ages 4+ who are getting ready to read.
As an accelerated beginning reading program, however, its usability really depends on the child and their individual readiness and willingness to learn to read.
In essence, so long as a child is interested and has shown signs that they are ready to learn to read, are able to listen, are able to understand instructions and communicate with parents, and have the ability to sit and pay attention for around 15-20 minutes, they should be able to benefit from this program.
Consequently, we feel it can be a good resource for more precocious early readers (such as reading-ready 3 year olds), particularly given its more intuitive and hands-on lessons and the fact that the authors freely encourage parents to split lessons up to accommodate a younger child’s more limited attention span.
Older students (say, grades 1, 2 or even 3) still struggling to read, too, can benefit from the program in our opinion, particularly given its more multisensory nature, shorter lessons and greater emphasis on repetition and review.
That said, we do feel that significantly older students may find the style of lessons a bit basic and less engaging and may benefit from more specialized remedial programs or courses that can identify and address any underlying learning difficulties the child may have.
Due to the program’s rather unique methodology, alphabet and the sequential nature of its lessons, it can be somewhat harder for students in another reading who have already started learning to read to simply switch into the program and start learning.
While no real formal placement test exists, the program does have some suggestions on its website for helping phonetically-aware students or even beginner readers find an appropriate lesson to start.
This generally involves students reading an included story while parents count and record any mistakes they make along the way.
Should a student make more than 3 mistakes, they would start with lesson 1.
Should they make 3 mistakes, they would start with lesson 13.
Should they make 2 or fewer mistakes, they might start with lesson 25.
What’s Required To Teach The Program?
As a phonics program, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is pretty compact, with more or less everything a parent needs to teach their child contained in a single ~400 page softcover book.
This includes things like the program’s instructions and methodology, pacing information, its alphabet and pronunciation information, full lessons, hands-on activities, reading practice, writing practice, comprehension questions and more.
As a result, and much like other single-book ELA programs like Spelling Power, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons can be a very easy program for parents to buy, store and use when teaching their child to read as it doesn’t require them to buy lots of additional readers or physical kits, which is always nice for those on stricter budgets or without a lot of free space at home.
In terms of the book itself, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is divided into 100 relatively short lessons, which themselves are split into a number of distinct tasks or activities, making each lesson far easier to break up across a number of sessions if necessary.
The lessons are pretty scripted, detailing more or less precisely what parents should do and say in a very step-by-step manner, with helpful illustrations giving them a good idea of how to implement the book’s finger tracing exercises as they go.
While more experienced parents may find this level of scripting to be a bit limiting, especially for those who like to maintain a more natural or improvisational feel to their lessons, it does make the program a lot more accessible to new homeschoolers and those uncertain about their own ability to teach reading.
This is particularly true as Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons follows a slightly less well-known form of Phonics instruction (which we will discuss a little later) that has some rather unique/unusual features.
All of this makes the program fairly open and go, although parents will need to browse through the book and practice their pronunciation to make sure the learning goes as smoothly and effectively as possible.
On the downside, parents should note that the book can be a bit dry and academic at times, lacking many of the crafts, family activities and, of course, multimedia animations and music that some other programs offer.
Consequently, although its approach is effective, the book may not be necessarily the most exciting for parents to go through.
Another thing to consider is the fact that, because the program is contained in a single book, it may not include (or teach using) all the necessary interesting educational materials that parents might be looking for, such as songs, music, cards, tiles and so on.
Parents interested in incorporating such material would have to source and purchase them separately.
Approach To Teaching Reading
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is a phonics-based reading program.
It explicitly and deliberately teaches children to read through letter-sound connections, digraphs and decoding/blending skills.
The program itself is based on the DISTAR (Direct Instruction System for Teaching and Remediation) method of teaching phonics, a method designed to get kids reading quickly.
In this method, parents are given highly scripted lessons that lay out the process of introducing and practicing phonetic rules in explicit and systematic detail.
This removes the need for parents to figure out what to say or do next, which tends to keep the learning smooth and allows them to really concentrate on presenting and pronouncing the material correctly, as well as allowing them to focus on observing the student’s response and offering corrections if necessary.
The method also stresses review and repetition, with students often being asked to repeat letter sounds and other activities again and again during lessons in order to reinforce their learning.
Interestingly, in addition to teaching letter sounds, decoding and blending, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons also offers a number of reading comprehension and writing exercises during later lessons.
This addresses a fairly typical complaint of synthetic phonics programs and can help reinforce reading ability while honing other reading skills, much as is seen in programs like All About Reading or Logic Of English.
One thing to note is that Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is not a complete phonics program.
The program largely aims to get students reading quickly (to about a second grade level), covering things like sound practice, segmenting and blending and word/sentence/passage reading, but tends to lack instruction in some of the more advanced phonics topics, such as root words, derivational affixes and so on.
Consequently, at the end of the book parents will need to continue their child’s instruction using other materials and resources (although the book does offer a considerable list of suggestions).
Another characteristic of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons’ DISTAR approach is that it introduces letters and sounds using a rather unique orthography or alphabet.
While most of the program’s letters look fairly familiar, the program uses a particular typeface that introduces some visual features designed to help students more intuitively grasp letter-sound relationships.
For example, the alphabet introduces long and short sounds as separate letters, with a macron (line) over the former to identify and distinguish its sound.
It also introduces certain digraphs (SH, TH, WH, OO, CH and so on) as conjoined letters.
Further, the orthography avoids the use of capital letters (avoiding the need to initially become familiar with two lettering styles) by simply making lower case letters bigger and, in a related fashion, makes silent letters much smaller than those next to them.
As the book progresses and students begin to be able to read longer passages, the program begins to increasingly shift its students to a more traditional typeface, i.e getting them used to the orthography that they will see in books and in day to day life.
Although quite different than a traditional orthography, the DISTAR alphabet can actually be quite intuitive, offering specific visual cues that children will more intuitively recognize based on their understanding of the world (smaller = quieter, joined letters = together), making letter-sound relationships a little easier to figure out as they go along.
Parents should note, however, that it does mean an extra step is involved in the process of learning to read (getting students used to traditional print), and it does mean that many parents will have to familiarize themselves with the style before teaching it to their own children.
Short, sequential lessons
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons also notably teaches using short, step-by-step lessons.
Although the actual time spent is highly dependent on the student and their individual progress, each lesson in the program is designed to take only about 20 minutes or so to complete.
In addition to being a good option for busy homeschools, the program’s short lessons can also be a lot less intimidating and stressful for students to sit through, something that can be beneficial to younger students and those who are intimidated by the process of learning to read.
Interestingly, and as we’ve mentioned, the lessons are themselves divided into several individual tasks, which allows parents to more easily stop and take a break from learning if need be (such as if a younger student is losing interest or fading out), increasing the child-friendliness of the program even further.
Finally, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons also includes a number of hands-on activities in each lesson.
Notably, the program makes use of a kind of finger-tracing exercise using diagrams printed directly in the book.
In addition to hearing and then practicing letter sounds, students use a finger to trace a dot’s path across an arrow printed directly under a letter or word, thereby helping students better grasp its length and rhythm, as well as (in the case of words) how individual letter sounds flow together.
For example, to better understand “ē” (long e), students would drag their finger for a fairly long way, signifying its longer sound.
With e (short e), on the other hand, students would only drag their finger for a shorter way.
As a further example, with the word “me” (written as mē) students would have a short drag (for m sound) followed by a break and then a long drag (for the second, long e sound).
The inclusion of a more tactile activity in each lesson (and in most activities) can help students get a better and more intuitive sense of letter sounds and pace and can be of grea benefit for more tactile/kinesthetic learners, who may enjoy being able to getting a bit more physically engaged with their learning.
Further, and as something of a side-benefit, this finger tracing activity also helps beginning readers learn to carefully and correctly follow a reading with their fingers, which can in turn decrease the likelihood of them making a mistake by accidentally skipping a letter or sound in the process.
How It Works
Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons is a surprisingly straightforward phonics-based reading program.
As we’ve mentioned, it is composed of 100 20-minute lessons that parents can do daily or as often as they feel their child can handle.
The lessons are parent-led, with parents reading from the book’s script and their child seated next to them, ready to try their hand at the various lesson exercises and examples.
Each individual lesson is divided into several individual “tasks” or activities that parents and students go through sequentially.
What tasks are in a given lesson depends on what stage in the program a student is at.
They can, for example, involve activities such as Sound Introduction (where a parent introduces a sound and a student repeats it for the first time), Sound Review (where students review and practice several letter sounds under the guidance of a parent), Rhyming (where students think of rhyming words), Word or Passage Reading (where students practice reading a text), comprehension exercises and so on.
The lessons do, however, tend to follow a common structure, with parents presenting or sounding something out and students trying their hand at it slowly and then repeating it several times, progressing in speed as they do so.
After each lesson is complete, students move to the next lesson and continue on in this fashion until the book is complete.
In general, the program is fairly progressive and sequential, with students starting from the most basic elements of reading, with tasks focused around letter-sound connections, before introducing tasks such as basic word reading, sentence reading, comprehension and writing tasks, and so on.
This progression continues until students begin to read longer sentences and paragraphs and begin to transition to a more regular orthography.
Consequently, the lessons never really feel overly intimidating or fast-paced, making it quite well-suited for both younger students and those who have had a hard time trying to read in the past.
In addition, the lessons tend to build in quite a bit of review and repetition, aligning with the DISTAR method of teaching reading.
Parents will often say a sound out loud or demonstrate something and students will repeat it back several times in succession and, frequently, again in later tasks.
While some students may find this a bit repetitive at times, the approach does tend to really hammer skills home and help students quickly build fluency, which we can appreciate.
In general, we would say that the book’s lessons are pretty open and go, largely thanks to its explicit scripting and self-contained nature.
By and large, we believe that parents shouldn’t have to do too much prep before each lesson, although they will likely have to familiarize themselves with the particular orthography before beginning the program and work on their clear and slow pronunciation skills to prevent stumbling during lessons, which can actually take some practice.
Finally, at the end of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, parents are presented with a variety of suggested resources that can help them continue phonics learning beyond the essentials provided by the program, such as additional phonics sounds and suggested readers and books.
Pros and Cons of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Essentially a single, softcover book, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is a surprisingly affordable phonics program.
Usually available at less than $30, it should fit quite nicely into most homeschool budgets.
Compact, all-in-one resource
Unlike many other learn to read programs, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons doesn’t really require parents to go out and buy tons of cards, charts, manipulatives, games, craft materials and so on.
As a result, it can be a lot easier for parents to purchase, store, keep organized and use when needed.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons uses a very careful and step-by-step method to teach students to read that is characterized by a good deal of student repetition and short interactive lessons that are easy to sit through.
As a result, the program tends to be a lot more approachable and less intimidating for both parents and students compared to other reading programs.
In order to introduce letter sounds, blending and decoding skills, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons often makes use of a variety of intuitive visual cues that play on a child’s natural understanding of the world to help them better grasp phonetic rules.
Methods like connecting certain digraphs, making silent letters smaller and having them drag their finger across a page to emphasize the length of a letter-sound can make beginning reading easier and less stressful for students.
Following the DISTAR method, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is also very well-scripted, offering parents pretty explicitly outlined lessons to follow.
As a result, parents don’t need to have any real experience at teaching children to read in order to use the program and can do so without a lot of teaching experience or prep.
Some hands-on learning
Each lesson in the program includes a kind of finger tracing exercise that introduces a tactile/kinesthetic element to learning, which can help students better absorb the lesson and can be of more interest to students with different learning preferences.
Long track record
Finally, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is a program with a long track record of success, having helped students across the US successfully get started reading quickly for decades.
Not exactly the most exciting
Although effective, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is largely text-based, lacking many of the fun illustrations, games, videos, crafts, board work and other entertaining activities that can make learning to read programs a little more exciting.
Unusual orthography can mean an extra step in teaching
While the DISTAR orthography used in the program can certainly be very intuitive and can help students begin to read quickly, at some point students do have to transition to traditional print, which represents an extra step in the program that parents will have to implement.
Approach can be unfamiliar to some parents
Compared to more standard synthetic phonics programs or even those based on the Orton-Gillingham approach, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons’ use of the DISTAR approach can a little more unfamiliar to parents, requiring them to read through its methodology and spend time getting used to its features.
Who Is Teach Your Child Ideal For?
Those who want to get their child reading quickly
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lesson is a program that can get children reading (to about a grade 2 level) in just a few months, making it a great option for parents who want to get their children started on their path to literacy ASAP.
New homeschoolers, those uncertain about their ability to teach reading
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lesson’s strongly scripted lessons make it very easy to teach phonics to children without the need for a lot of prep or experience in teaching.
Those on a strict budget
With most copies of the program being available for under $30, and with no extra materials required, it is a highly affordable reading program, even for families on strict budgets.
Children who do well with lots of repetition and practice
Each lesson in Teach Your Child to Read tends to involve quite a bit of review and repetition of sounds and words, which can be great for students who tend to forget concepts over time.
Children who have a hard time sitting through long lessons
Lessons in Teach Your Child to Read are pretty short, usually only taking around 20 minutes or so per day, which can make the book a great option for wriggly children.
Who Is It Not Ideal For?
Those looking for a craft and activity rich program
For the most part, Teach Your Child to Read doesn’t really offer much in the way of arts and crafts, games or other explorational learning opportunities, and so may not be ideal for families looking to have these kinds of activities integrated into their lessons.
Experienced parents looking for a program that easily lets them improvise and modify their lessons
The extensive scripting of Teach Your Child to Read can be a bit of a downside for more experienced parents who may want to interact more naturally with their children or put their own spin on teaching.
Such parents may want a program that provides more of an outline to build off of, rather than an explicit dialogue and instructions to follow.
Those looking for a complete reading program
Ultimately, Teach Your Child to Read In 100 Easy Lessons is an accelerated beginning reading program.
While it can get children started reading pretty quickly, they will need to use additional resources to pursue more advanced phonics topics and to continue their development as readers.
Note: Prices correct as of writing. All prices in USD.
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is contained in a single book and so is pretty easy and fairly affordable to purchase.
Although it really depends on the retailer in question, generally speaking most parents should be able to pick up a copy for about $27.
Is It Worth It?
While it is pretty affordable, we feel that Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons can also provide parents with a good deal of value.
The program is based on a proven and effective approach to teaching phonics, the DISTAR method, whose heavily scripted lessons make teaching children to read a fairly easy, open-and-go experience.
The program also makes use of various intuitive visual cues (such as with its unique orthography) and finger-tracing exercises to help students pick up and use letter-sound connections and blending skills in a more intuitive and efficient manner.
Further, the lessons themselves are quite short, taking only around 20 minutes to go through, and carry both parent and child step-by-step through the process of reading instruction.
Consequently, lessons tend to be a lot less intimidating for all involved and a lot easier to fit into busy home schedules.
Finally, all of the program’s learning (methodology, lessons, tips and exercises) is contained in a single book, making Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons as a program far easier for parents to buy, store and use compared to many other options.
With its short lessons, intuitive alphabet, clear lessons and hands-on learning component, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons can be an easy, compact and affordable way for parents to get children reading quickly.
About the Author
Anne Miller is the editor of The Smarter Learning Guide and is a passionate advocate for education and educational technology. A mom of two, she majored in English Language and Literature and worked as a substitute teacher and tutor for several years. When not writing she continues to root for the Yankees and the Giants.