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The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  350 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Too many parents watch their children struggle with early reading skills—and don't know how to help. Phonics programs are too often complicated, overpriced, gimmicky, and filled with obscure educationalese. The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading cuts through the confusion, giving parents a simple, direct, scripted guide to teaching reading—from short vowels throug ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 17th 2004 by The Well-Trained Mind Press
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4.15  · 
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 ·  350 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Sep 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Of course, I am a huge fan of Jesse Wise and her daughter, Susan Wise Bauer (authors of "The Well Trained Mind") so when I saw that Jesse Wise had written this book, I had to check it out.

It's wonderful.

She uses a phonics approach and goes step-by-step first teaching sound-symbol association, then basic words. Using catchy rhymes, children learn first the consonant and short-vowel sounds, then progress to the long-vowel sounds. All the while, they're building on what they've learned by reading
Jan 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is organized into lessons with script for the parent to follow to teach phonetic reading concepts to their children. It's not flowery. It's not illustrated. It's direct with enough ideas for games and variation to keep my son's interest. Sometimes he doesn't want to read. Sometimes he gets frustrated - but if he sticks to it, immediately after the frustration is when he conquers the difficult concept and breezes ahead.

We go through a lesson or a half-lesson almost every day. If it's a
RH Walters
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sampled
My daughter is a Scorpio and prefers learning letters in secret and showing them to me for improvement and discussion, but I feel like this could be a good resource when she's interested in a more systematic approach.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrific book for teaching your child to read. There are 300+ lessons and each lesson tells you exactly what to say and do.
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2009
I'm actually still working through this with my daughter. But I've read enough to review it. It is a helpful guide for anyone wanting to introduce reading to their child, and especially for the homeschooling parent. It is a phonics-based system and it's easy to adapt for your own child. Sometimes I combine lessons for my daughter when she's picking up on things quickly, or do one lesson for a week if needed. I don't teach her directly from the book, as she doesn't respond well from that. Instead ...more
Dec 16, 2011 marked it as to-read
borrowed from UP library after The Well-Trained Mind. Looked through it a little, didn't try any of the lessons as they seemed above the level of my 2.5 yo. I have not satisfactorily educated myself about sight reading vs. phonics, and I'm not sure that it needs to be a matter of contention anyway. For the time being, this is above both my son's and my level of interest/dedication. Our current philosophy is that reading is a frequent, pleasurable activity, plus all the opportunities for reading ...more
Sep 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
When I started using this book to teach my son to read, I found it a bit tedious. My son grudgingly did it, but after awhile, it was just part the daily routine, so it went more smoothly. Eventually he really caught on, and we whizzed through the last sections. He reads very well now, at age six. Every child is different, but this worked for us. It is a bare bones, very thorough resource.

My delayed 9 year old has struggles with a handful of phonics programs and methods. We use this with a white board. We write the words and sentences on the white board. Amazing progress for him. The white board seems to help him as he isn't distracted by other words on the page.
Nov 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
A good foundational plan for teaching phonics, but you better bust out the sock puppets because it can get a little boring for the child!
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-books, education
I'm more of a whole-language girl, but If I needed a phonics guide for my girls, this would be one I would try.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference
This is a great resource. I especially appreciate the detailed descriptions of how to say the sounds (voiced, unvoiced, nasal consonants, etc) and have even found it helpful for teaching English sounds to native Spanish speakers, both adult and children. It's no-fluff, no-pictures, scripted lessons, so it's not a stand-alone program in terms of reading content. Obviously one will want to supplement with early readers and other fun books, but these are great bones to get readers going. Easy and p ...more
Lisa Hill
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was my best resource when teaching my kids how to read. It is practical, easy to follow and enjoyable for kids as they work their way to fluency. I would recommend this to anyone who is homeschooling or teaching their own children how to read.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Took us four years to go through all the lessons, but my kids is a great reader!
Margaret Chind
My first exposure to homeschooling was through SisterL and her decision to do so. She's a Catholic Stay-at-home Navy Wife and Mama to six and it fits their life perfectly. My second introduction was not just to homeschooling, but also to a Classical Christian Education through my job as a long term and short notice substitute teacher at a Classical Christian Education School in Georgia. Working there was some of the best months ever as I learned about the methods in teaching a Classical Christia ...more
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Through experience I found that my daughter does not do well with traditional approaches to phonics involving crafts, games, and stories. Since TOPGTTR is a bare-bones phonics program, it was perfect for her. The lessons are short and visually pleasing on the page, albeit very basic. This is not an unimportant factor when the child is expected to read sentences as they gain the ability to read. Through rhymes, the book takes the child from the short vowels to the remaining consonants and then on ...more
Annie Smith
Feb 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My biggest fear when I began homeschooling was teaching my children how to read. I am not an "elementary" type of person, and all of the phonics activities, sight words, various readers, etc. intimidated the bajeebies out of me. But, this book was the saving grace - it's a no-nonsense approach, but oh, so effective. I have employed it with two of my children, who are extremely successful readers, and plan to begin my third child next fall. The beauty of it is that my children are enamored with w ...more
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I like it.

Very easy to understand, no need for anything extra.

Bit boring for children to look at (this is basically only book the two of you will need).

My firstborn didn't actually like that style of learning because he was very young at the time. Now he's 5 1/2 and learned through daily homework activities to sit still for ten - fifteen minutes or so, so we're going to give it a go.

Although I just might have to go with another program to help him have "fun" while learning, this is exactly ho
Molly Ricks
May 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: help-books
So far we are 42 lessons in and Blake is doing great, he's reading! Each lesson is 10 minutes long, and I think as long as you are consistent (we don't do weekends) it works! I will update this review when we are done with it. UPDATE: We never finished all of the lessons. around lesson 100 or something Blake got pretty burned out. The parts they have the child read are boring, and Blake started to hate reading. So we dropped this and just started reading easy reader books. He now loves to read a ...more
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I haven't finished this book... but then as it is a lesson book for teaching reading, I feel like I can rate it without actually finishing it. I started going through the lessons from the very beginning with my two five-year-olds and they reviewed all the sounds the letters make. Within a few weeks after starting the actual reading lessons (just last month) they were reading short sentences. Now we've progressed to consonant blends and they are again doing well with reading phonetically. After h ...more
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
No pictures to distract, very thorough, and inexpensive. I have also used Bob Books, to teach reading, which I also like to throw in with this book toward the end for variety. I am on my second child learning to read using this book and am very pleased. My other kids have learned with other programs and I think this one is more direct with the phonics rules and will be helpful with spelling down the line. (My only complaint is that sometimes the text is a little hard to read - the t and f can be ...more
Alisha G
Nov 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is the best reading manual I've come across. There's no tricks or gimmicks (not even pictures); it's just good old-fashioned phonics, and lots of it. My four-year-old was sounding out words on her own before she had even learned the whole alphabet, because she understood the phonics behind reading. I especially love the way it introduces long-vowel sounds and irregular words.
I actually didn't need to make it through the whole book; now I'm just using it to reinforce concepts when my childr
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homeschool
We started with this book after my oldest son and I had gotten through most of the "pink" and "blue" word series via the Montessori curriculum. Great timing and you still use the moveable alphabet. Nothing to make ahead of time (which was where I was getting stopped up with the Montessori Method...I just didn't have the time and by the time he mastered one lesson, he needed another 2 weeks later). I highly recommend this book.
Apr 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
Nice, basic way to teach your child to read. The absolute lack of illustrations and graphics is actually wonderful for my child, who is easily distracted by images and uses them to "guess" what he's reading rather than attempt to read. This book not only has given him confidence that he _can_ read, he looks forward to reading sentences and making up his own sentences with each new word he learns.
Jan 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I've been working with my son on these lessons since early December (07). It is so exciting to see him learning to read. Lessons are clear and very well-laid out. Excellent for teaching phonics to your child.
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I started this with Ashley and she loves it and I really think it works. She is really good at sounding things out now and creating words. I got it from the library but may end up buying it if we have to give it back before I feel like we are through with it.
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
We hit lesson 35 and then my son was done working on schooling during summer (and I can't blame him) but he knows more sight words and is well on his way. My daughter has picked some up as well. It is a good book to use, highly recommend it :)
Jan 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: homeschooling
Tried this method, both Levi & I found it super boring.

Updated: when kindergarten came around I decided to give this book another try. We skipped past all the individual letter sounds because Levi already knew them and the blends are much more interesting.
Dec 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to teach a child to read. We tried another program first with frustrating results. This book was a lifesaver. So gentle and so CLEAR! Jamey is progressing quickly while enjoying reading.
NOTE: Currently working through the book at read date.
May 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When a kid says "I want to keep this book forever!" - of what is, essentially, a textbook - you know you are onto something good. I've tried out so many different phonics and learning to read programs and this one is currently my favourite.
Sep 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
After looking at MANY books on how to teach your child to read, I finally found one that made sense to me and worked with what I had already been doing with my child. I shouldn't have been surprised, since I'm a big Susan Wise-Bauer fan. This is a great, no-nonsense, no gimmick approach.
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