Are you thinking about using teaching your child to read but not sure where to start? I felt that way, and am here to tell you that with Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons, you can do it!
No teaching experience needed for you and no reading experience needed for your child! After using this book with my 4.5 year old son, I can tell you it worked for us!
Although I took about a year to finish this book, my son loves to read to himself and it makes me happy to hear him giggle while he reads his joke books on the couch. Read on to see why you will want to give this a try and updates on what my son was reading at different points throughout the book.
Why use “Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons”?
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There are many ways I’ve seen homeschool moms teach kids to read, but I’m going to show you why this book is working for us and thousands of other kids.
First, there are many ways you can successfully teach your child to read, and this is just one of them. So find one that you like. Not sure if you are going to homeschool yet? Be sure to read my thoughts on the pros and cons of homeschooling.
I am using Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons because:
- It has worked for tons of other early readers.
- I don’t have to prepare anything.
- It is a phonics based program so kids learn to sound out words they don’t know.
- It starts very slowly at first, which I love. This pace gives kids confidence to go on.
- It’s easy to use once you get the hang of the first few lessons as it’s very repetitive.
- All the stories in the book use words and sound combinations the kid’s know up till that point. This keeps my son from getting frustrated over trying to read things he hasn’t learned yet.
- It covers letter names later in the book, after they learn the sounds. (psss…I didn’t realize kids can learn to read before memorizing letter names!)
- Kids are reading at a second grade level by the end.
What age do kid’s learn to read?
A child can learn to read when they’re interested and when their attention span is long enough to last 15 minutes or so. Not every child will want to read at the same age.
Every kid will be different, but most kids should know letter sounds by age 5 or 6 and be doing some very basic reading/ recognizing some words and word patterns by kindergarten. You can see how this book became a huge part of our preschool at home around age 4.5/5.
Update December 2020: We are now almost finished using this with my second child as the core of her kindergarten homeschool. It’s working well! We waited a little longer to start with her, around age 5 and she’ll finish around age 6.
How to know if your child is ready to read
Before a child reads, they are often doing “pre-reading”.
My 4.5-year-old has been asking to read and pretending to read books, so those are important pre reading signs. His attention span is getting better too, where he can focus around 15 minutes.
The book claims each lesson will take around 20 minutes, but I found that’s only true in the beginning. Eventually we ended up doing half lessons to keep it short which was enough to make daily reading progress.
What is reading readiness and how will I recognize if my child is ready to read?
If you notice some of these, your child may be ready to start learning to read! In our home, we like to wait till around age 5 and take it slowly. But here’s a list of things I’ve seen our kids be able to do prior to any formal lessons.
- Most importantly…they seem interested or are asking!
- Retelling stories while flipping through a book.
- Learning which direction a book opens.
- Recognizing their name on paper (recognizing letters forming words/names).
- They point to letters or words and make a guess at what is says.
- They notice letters on cereal boxes and signs.
- Pretend reading (which means they understand the symbols mean words).
- Letter name recognition (some kids learn this before or after learning letter sounds).
- They can sit still and focus on an activity for at least 10-15 minutes.
My goal is NOT to have him reading before all his peers. It’s for him to love books and to be able to pick one up on his own when he’s ready and want to read it. And that means LOTS of being read to!
Why “Teach Your Child In 100 Easy Lessons” works
I’ve seen my husband’s two sisters use this book successfully so far on 5 kiddos, and I’ve met several mom friends who have also used it for their boys around 5 years old (preschool/early kindergarten age).
This book has also won awards for how effective it is. Plus with no prep and 3 kids under 5, sign me up.
To be honest, this teaching my kid to read thing intimidated me A LOT because I honestly didn’t know how or where to start. But, this book literally tells me what to say word for word! It tells me when it’s my turn to speak and when it’s his.
How to use “Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons”
Step 1. Buy the book.
Step 2. Read the intro for parents and lesson 1 alone with no distraction, to get a feel of how it works. Don’t skip this or you will feel so confused!
Step 3. Show your kid a prize they get when they do a reading lesson (or for us, half a lesson).
Step 4. Have your kid sit next to you after explaining they are going to start learning sounds, yay!
Step 5. Start lesson 1. You will probably be a little confused as to how this works at this point. Lesson two is easier because you get used to “the format”. We broke our lessons in half a lot too.
Step 6. Do 10-15 minutes a day till your child is reading! Sometimes this will be just part of a lesson.
Step 7. Go to the library and get level 1 reading books to practice when you finish this book!
Mistakes I made when teaching my child to read
- Forgetting it’s fine to be silly and get off topic a bit so it became a bore and a chore.
- Failing to come with LOTS of patience. The book can teach a kid how to read but it can’t make them love to read. That’s my job!
- Skipping weeks (and months) at a time. We backtracked a lot of times which made it harder for him.
At first I thought we could never stray from the exact wording in the book (it’s encouraged not to). I would get frustrated when my son was being a normal silly kid or slumping all over the couch or would keep getting it wrong or just start guessing. These are pretty normal things!
Related Post: How to teach preschool at home; A practical guide
Ways to make learning to read fun!
- Cheering or high fives for them when they get it right!
- It’s ok to let them get sidetracked at times! For instance we will read “the fat cat” and my son will want to tell me about a cat that got into the garbage outside. That’s fine with me, and I think is the beginning of reading comprehension!
- Stop if it’s not going well, and come back to it later.
- Give a treat when when you finish a lesson. We used to do a piece of candy, but now do a show which is my son’s biggest motivation.
- Do half lessons if needed, but do something every day. That could be a simple review of sounds.
- Point out what signs say on walks, at the grocery store, or at the park.
- Start going to the library if you haven’t yet and ask the librarian where beginner books are.
- Get books on topics they love. My son gets excited about books about diggers, volcanos, bugs, where as my daughter chooses way different topics.
Do kids learn to read and write at the same time?
No, which is one reason why we were able to start reading before writing!
“Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons” has a mini writing lesson for each day too, but we skipped that part when we first started this book when my son was 4.5 (preschool age) .
His attention span was shot by the end, and he didn’t have an interest in writing yet. And that’s ok! That’s the beauty of it, you can come back to it later.
He wasn’t ready because he got frustrated too soon. So I put that off for a while and waited till he was literally asking me how to draw some of the sounds (aka letters) we were learning.
If your child wants to learn to write letters
Update January 2020: While my son learned to read sounds before he learned how to write letters…my daughter is the opposite. I want to share some new letter tracing pages we are using custom made to be used with Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons.
This 100 page tracing workbook is an instant pdf download. It’s 100 pages, so kids trace 1 page per reading lesson. Of course, you can buy tracing workbooks anywhere, but this one is special because each tracing page corresponds with the writing portion of that day’s reading lesson.
Make sense? Check out this quick video below for a visual.
Can kids learn to read before they know letter names?
Yes! This is a question I get from moms teaching preschool at home that want to try out early reading when their kids haven’t learned all their letter names just yet. This is how we started my son and it was no problem.
Our book first calls them sounds actually, as that’s the first thing that’s important to read, not just knowing the names of the letters. You do not need to know the letter names to be able to read!
The book does also teach the names of the “sounds” towards the last third of the book though. If you are starting to teach reading in kindergarten, then likely your child already knows their letter names.
Related post: 24 easy toddler crafts from a non-crafty mom.
Signs your child is not ready to read
We tried it when my oldest was 3.5 just for fun because that’s how old my husband’s little brother was when he started this book successfully. It was WAY too early for us.
My son was too distracted, couldn’t sit still, and didn’t show any interest. He’d way rather just go play, which is normal at 3! So we stopped.
It was more an experiment. When he turned 4 he got frustrated that he couldn’t read books. But by 4.5 he was definitely ready to sit still and asking to do this book. By 5.5 he could read multi-line books sounding out 2-3 syllable words alone.
My next child was ready about age 5 as well.
How is “Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons” formatted?
- Any words in red are for the parent to read out loud, which tell the child what to do. The black words are instructions for the parent so you know what to do.
- The beginning focuses on a ton of individual sounds in giant print (up to lesson 10 or so). A letter gets associated with a sound. And eventually, sounds get combined to make bigger sounds, like “a” and “ar”. It’s so cute to see the lightbulb go on in his brain when he recognizes a word after learning a sound, like “art”!
- In each lesson the child gets to “sound it out”, and “say it fast”.
- He slides his finger under each letter and sounds out the individual sounds. For example the sound “r” is sounded out “rrrrr”. Then he has to say it fast. Same for words. For example, when seeing the word “ram” for the first time he sounded out “rrraaammm” while sliding his finger under each sound. Then he had to say it fast like this “ram”.
- There’s a picture for each story, which kids LOVE!
- Later on in the book, it will ask you to do everything twice and ask questions after each sentence to work on comprehension. (We only did the story once).
- There’s an optional writing lesson if you wish to try.
Everything gets sounded out. This video is awesome if you want to see the book in use by a mom teaching.
Our Experience Using Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons With My 5 Year Old Son
Below are updates I kept track of to note his progress. Keep reading if you would like to see if this book works and to see a short video of my son reading solo on lesson 58.
If you aren’t interested in that, but want to check out a few other homeschool preschool/kindergarten ideas, check out:
How we use Busy Toddler’s Playing Preschool Curriculum (all planned out for you, no worksheets)
Or, get Busy Toddler’s Playing Preschool curriculum here.
Our relaxed homeschool kindergarten + curriculum picks
Homeschool resources we have used
Update: So far from lesson 15:
He is sounding out short words such as sad, mad, eat, meat, read, am, ram, me, seed…just to name a few! It is so amazing to watch him run his finger under the sounds in each word and say these!
I was a bit surprised it works to be honest! Some short sentences are “see me read” and ” and “mad at me” and “see the ram eat”.
We often do half a lesson a day which also works well or do two half lessons each day. Just so long as it’s every day.
Update: So far from lesson 30:
This book works and I’m sold! It builds well on previous lessons, and we do one 10-15 minute chunk every day. Sometimes I’ll review the lesson from the previous day and get halfway through a new lesson if he’s not ready to move on.
At lesson 30, he is sounding out “An ant can eat a seed. That seed is in the mud.” Then I ask him questions about the sentence like “where is the ant?” Now at lesson 30 he can also identify the whole word if I ask him to spot it.
Update (02/22/18): So far from lesson 55
We have continued to do this every day with exception to the weekends and he still asks for it daily, mostly because he is allowed to watch a show after.
Every lesson there is a story to go along with a picture. The stories started getting noticeably longer around lesson 43, with around 8 or 9 lines to read instead of 4 or 5. He is supposed to read each story twice, so it started getting WAY too long for his attention span.
To solve that I have him read it only one time (which is sounding out each word and then saying it fast before going to the next word).
Or sometimes we trade off sentences which sped it up and made it more enjoyable for him. Then later we could come back and read it again or start there the next day.
Formatting changes in the book at this point
I started to notice that he was attempting to “read the story the fast way” by pointing to each word and saying it, rather than sounding out each word and then saying the word.
Then, starting lesson 55 just a few lessons after I thought that, the directions changed to have him read it the fast way the first time.
When he came to a word he couldn’t read the fast way then he was supposed to sound it out. The timing was near perfect because he naturally began to just sound out words in his head instead.
Here’s a sample of what he’s reading from lesson 54 (all lowercase still): the girl said, “can I have a pot for a little fish?” the man said, “this is a pot for a little fish.” the girl said, “i will take this pot home with me.”
Here’s a peak at what your child will be reading by lesson 58
Update to lesson 70
Some noticeable changes have happened at this point. The stories are much longer and the font is smaller. My son always points out the letters are shrinking :-). But he is able to read at a little faster pace.
- He is learning new sounds like “ing” and “oo” and “ar”.
- There are longer words like “sitting”, “fishing”, “swimming”, “inside”, and “under” to name a few.
- He knows when to say a hard sounding vowel vs soft vowel because of the symbol on the word still. For example the word “gave” has a line over the a, but the word “sat” does not.
I’ve found it is super important to follow the book asking him the questions about each story when we read it, or he can tend to not comprehend all the sentences.
Also when he tries guessing words, we either take a break or I’ll help him with the first sound as a clue.
Update to lesson 73 (April, 2018)
The book is now matching sounds to the letter names! The alphabet is written largely and we pointed to a-j saying the sounds. (We sung them, as he knows the song already).
I was pretty sure he wouldn’t remember the names of any, except he did remember a few! In the next lesson (74), they reviewed letter names a-j and introduced the names k-u. Then, for the first time the book had him point to a few words and say each letter name. A few were o-l-d, t-o-l-d, c-o-r-n, and b-o-r-n.
While he got a lot wrong, I feel something like this just takes a ton of practice when learning how to read and eventually the brain remembers.
Update lesson 74: Hints removed
This is honestly the first place that I have felt like we need to go backwards in the book and make reading fun again. Or just take it much slower. They are introducing taking out hints (so lines over letters) so that words look normal.
He has really struggled with that and has starting guessing more. He’s having a hard time knowing which sound to say. For instance the word “road” will confuse him because there isn’t a line over the o and the a is not smaller in size like it was, which used to be a hint not to say it.
We took about 4-5 days off around this time and that we saw major regression. I see that kids really need the short spirt of time constantly or they do forget in these early stages! We can just back up a few lessons.
Update lesson 82 (May 2018)
We went back about 10 lessons when my son was having a hard time (see last update), and it worked wonders! He needed more repetition reading, and once we got back to the point where they read without the clues, he was able to recognize the words much more easily without them.
To combat the overwhelm of the long stories, we took a blank piece of paper to cover the whole story except the one line he was reading. This is my best tip for this update!
They also just introduced capital letters.
Update lesson 100 (January 2019)
We made it! Ok, if you’ve read this far, I’m impressed. And, maybe you noticed that we actually took about a year to finish this book! My son is now reading very basic level one books from the library and I’m so proud of him!
At one point since my last update after lesson 80, we backed up all the way to lesson 50 again. I know. I wasn’t consistent and sometimes took a month off here and weeks off there. But this goes to show you that it’s possible to drop off and pick back up again!
Keep practicing, don’t compare
Why is comparing so easy to do and dumb at the same time?! Some learn fast, some learn later when their attention span is better. I figure when my kids seem interested, and I’m willing to sit down and do this every single day, then it will happen!
I have felt self-imposed pressure to teach my boy to read even before he was ready. And as sad as that is to admit, it’s true. I’m sure everyone has that about something when it comes to their kids.
The beauty of homeschooling is that you can start when your child seems ready. What makes you want to teach your child to read? Leave a comment and I’ll respond!
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Wednesday 20th of October 2021
I just ordered the book!!! Im going to try this!!!!! My son is super active, so I'm hoping we can do this....he gets so frustrated with his inability to focus. Wants to read........
Wednesday 20th of October 2021
Yay! Just go slowly with no pressure...as you see we took a year to get through it! Don't be afraid to set a timer for 10 minutes and be done. Can't wait for your son to be reading!
Wednesday 11th of August 2021
I just discovered your blog and I'm finding so many helpful posts - thank you!! I started to use this with my oldest, but my lack of consistency made me think it didn't work... we ended up switching to a much more "rigorous" program for a while. But now I'm working on simplifying our lives :) My oldest is just starting to use Master Books (which is the first blog post of yours that I read, which led me to this one!), and my youngest is about to start this one (Teach Your Child to Read...)! So, thanks for the tips and info and encouragement!
Thursday 12th of August 2021
Ashleigh, I get you on the lack of consistency thing! Not to mention sometimes it just gets LONG. We had to back up soooo many lessons (which was fine, but still frustrating). I hope round two goes well!
Tuesday 29th of June 2021
Thank you, thank you for the details of your experience! Its practicality is encouraging and empowering. Where can I find a link to download the writing practice pages?
Wednesday 30th of June 2021
Hey Jennifer, I just fixed the broken link. Go about half way down the post to the heading "If Your Child Wants To Learn To Write Letters" and below that is the link. It should be clickable now!
Sunday 17th of November 2019
What do you give as a prize after each lesson?
Tuesday 19th of November 2019
For my son, we started by giving him a piece of candy (could be a non sugar treat too) after each lesson and he loved that. Then, we switched to letting him watch 1 episode of a show which 100% motivated him more than candy. I don't force the lesson if it's not working that day. When my kids just are not into it, I can't seem to make them to focus so we set it down and try again later in the day.
Tuesday 5th of March 2019
I taught both of my sons to read using this book. They are now 27 years old and 24 years old. I recently purchased a copy of it for $3.00 at a consignment so I can teach my 3 year old grandson once he's showing signs of being ready. Thanks for sharing all of your experiences with homeschooling.
Wednesday 6th of March 2019
Thanks for sharing, and that's so awesome that you had a good experience!