I used this book to teach both of my children to read before they started school. My youngest completed it the day before his fourth birthday and could then read many of the Dr. Seuss books with little help. My wife and I love reading and it has been wonderful to be able to teach my children to read and see their enjoyment from it.
The book is split into 20 lessons and uses a structured phonic system. Each lesson has the same format: introduce a few letters and their sounds, read some words using those letters, read some sentences or a little story containing these words, a recap of the letters learnt and finally recap some key words learnt. Many of the lessons have little exercises like connecting words with a line or circling certain words. I also made up other exercises as we went through to keep it interesting when my sons’ attention span was waining.
The book has no colour and only contains line drawings. Initially I thought that it could do with some colour and more pictures to keep my children’s interest, however I now think, with experience, that this would have only serve as a distraction and therefore the authors got this right.
One small caveat with all phonic systems is that they have to choose an accent to represent the sounds with. This book uses an American accent, which will not suit all American’s and caused some clashes with our pronunciation as I try to encourage my children to use British R.P. However, in practise this didn’t really cause a problem as we easily adapted some of the sounds to our accent and my children happily accept that in North America people say things a little differently such as using the word ‘Mom’.
I would recommend this book to anyone teaching children to read. We did it for ten minutes a day every day and within no time our children were enjoying pointing out words and sounding out what they could see. It’s lovely to see their sitting reading a book and getting so much enjoyment from it. It’s put them at an immediate advantage when starting school, allowing them to get so much more out of it. I think it’s instilled good habits when it comes to studying and behaviour, and made it easier for them to concentrate on other subjects.