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The Reading Lesson

by Michael Levin and Charan Langton

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: The Reading Lesson by Michael Levin and Charan Langton. Copyright 2000. Approximately 400 pages. List price: $27.95 for book or $49.95 for book/CD ROM combo. Published by Mountcastle Company. Please support by buying this program from our Christian Book Distributors link or Amazon affiliate link.

The Reading Lesson offers a straightforward, step-by-step program to teach your child to read. This thick paperback book with optional CD-ROM contains twenty lessons to carry the child from beginning reading to second grade level according to the authors.

While phonics is the primary method, some sight words are taught, resulting in a blended method. The book begins with an overview of the alphabet and the sounds each letter makes. Children are not required to learn the sounds at this time as they are introduced in the lessons. Each sound is illustrated with a cartoon picture, and several letters have extra markings to portray the different sounds of that letter.

The lessons have an appealing look and are easy to implement. The font used for beginning lessons is much larger than the font in more advanced lessons. Cute cartoons are used on most pages. The instructions to the parent are brief and in a very small font, thus leaving almost the entire page for the lesson. The authors recommend doing from one to three pages per day depending on the age of the child. A progress chart and certificate of completion are included.

The Reading Lesson does not include handwriting skills. The authors suggest that children learn faster when taught handwriting simultaneously and offer another product, The Writing Lesson, (not reviewed) for that purpose.

The CD-ROM features "Giggle Bunny," a gray rabbit, and basic games that reinforce the lessons from the book. On the main screen where Giggle Bunny is sitting in his chair, the child may choose stacks of books for the lessons, a picture for Giggle Bunny's family history, or a letter for an explanation of the program. Once in a lesson, the activities are consistent throughout the program. The sounds are introduced first in the same manner as the book. The "Word Theater" has Giggle Bunny doing things such as pulling words out of a magic hat or dropping words from a helicopter for the child to read. In the "Let's Read Words" section reads words to the child while pointing to the sound with a hand. In "Let's Play a Game" the child does activities such as choosing the right word from a list or building words from the sounds that are displayed. The child types in words in the "Let's Write Words" section. The authors recommend parental supervision during the use of the program.

Recommendation: If you are looking for a simple and inexpensive way to teach reading, The Reading Lesson could fill the bill. While it will not take the place of a phonics program for spelling purposes and does not include a handwriting program, it could work well for a young child who is ready to read but does not have the fine motor skills to write. The uncrowded pages with cartoons could be helpful for the child who is intimidated by the busy appearance of other learn-to-read books.

I found the CD-ROM to be cute, but basically a repeat of the book. While somewhat fun, it does not add much to the teaching effort. My 3-year-old daughter found the giggling rabbit to be appealing.

At $27.95 list price, The Reading Lesson book is a worthwhile purchase if you are looking for an easy-to-implement reading program. resources related to this review:'s Language Arts Resources Section for tips on teaching reading and more!
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Review of Sing, Spell, Read, and Write, Pre-Kindergarten
Review of Sing, Spell, Read, and Write, Kindergarten and Level 1 Combo Kit
Review of Sound Beginnings
Review of Spell to Read and Write and The Wise Guide
Review of Watchword

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