A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Scaredy Cat Reading System
I recently had the privilege of being asked to review Level 2 of the Scaredy Cat Reading System from Joyce Herzog. As many of you know, reading is a challenge for Jack. I think there's something tangled up in the speech/reading/spelling area of his brain. He really struggles with those, particularly spelling and reading, so I was excited to see that this curriculum covers both areas.
When the package arrived, I was very impressed by the comprehensiveness of it! The program includes the Teacher's Manual and the Student Activity Book, both of which are nice, spiral bound books, as well as the Level 2 Reader, The Story of Lettermaster, The Fun Learning Pack, which included game boards and numerous flash cards, and even magnetic letters and pictures, and an Audio CD. This seems like a great value to me for only $75.
I like that I can use this program again with Hannah or the younger kids later if I want, and I only need to purchase a Student Activity Book for her, which is available separately. All the rest of the materials are non-consumable.
Instead of specific age suggestions, there is an online placement test to determine which level of the system your child should start at. Jack is 9, and he did really well with level 2. I think he *could* have done level 3, but it would have been more of a challenge for him. Since reading is already such a struggle, I wanted him to be successful. And I feel this program helped fill in some gaps for him.
The story of Lettermaster was entertaining. I read it to Jack, and he said, "Wait! They messed it all up? It was supposed to be different, and the letters made it like this?" It was so cute. I explained, "No, this is just a story of how it could have happened, to help us remember the different jobs the letters have."
The audio CD had catchy songs, similar to a popular DVD series we have, but with maybe a little less technical polish to them.
I was pleasantly surprised when Josiah offered to slice up the flash cards for me, using my scrapbooking paper slicer. This was very helpful of him, as there are a lot of flash cards! I went through the cards with Jack a couple dozen at a time, and weeded out the ones he was confident reading, and we set those aside for use later in spelling. I tested his spelling on the words he could read and discovered that he can't spell all the words he can read. Which makes sense, but it was an "Aha!" moment for me that changed the way I think about learning to read and spell. It connected the two more for me.
I appreciated the variety offered by this program. It felt like we approached the same words and sounds from several different angles, which ended up giving Jack a good, solid grasp of the concepts presented. At the same time, the program offered enough options, that I felt comfortable skipping something from time to time, if it wasn't essential. For instance, Jack is not big on coloring, so we skipped the alligator coloring page. However, when we hit the iguana coloring page, he was interested in coloring that, because we'd just been reading about komodo dragons.
In summary, this is a great, economical, easy to use reading program. In fact, if our summer was not going to be so crazy, I would be ordering the next level to use with Jack as "summer school" to keep his progress going.
In addition to the program I reviewed, you can read more about this and other Joyce Herzog products here: