It seems gimmicky, but I highly recommend this book! I have three very good readers after having worked through this book. This was recommended to me by several homeschooling moms that I know, all of which have good readers. It must be understood, though, that this is not a grammar book. This is simply teaching a child to read the words in front of him. It uses mainly phonics, but also incorporates memorization of “funny words”.
After I consulted with my sister, Rachel Deese, who is a wonderful educator and has a masters in Reading, we used this book in conjunction with A.C.E.‘s Word Building lessons (our main curriculum) and did fine. She was glad that phonics was the overall principle used, and that it also recognized that not all English words will hold to strict phonetic pronunciations. Her only recommendation was to be sure to keep terminology consistent between this book and our regular curriculum so as not to confuse the kids.
I must say as well that it wasn’t always easy. The lessons could get tedious and frustrating, because it’s a whole new way of thinking for a Kindergartner. But I would say, stick with it! After all, who says every lesson of every day of school has to be Sesame Street!? As I read the reviews on Amazon, there were some who hated the book because of this, and I suppose it is fair to say that at certain points it was difficult. Some days we just had to skip the lesson. But I’m so happy with the results.
It was definitely worth it to read the introductory material so I knew what my part was. Each lesson begins with introducing a new sound. Then there is a section of drilling, and finally the child gets to read a story. I read all the words in red, and the child follows my instruction. The book says that the lesson should only take 20 minutes, but for us it was twice as long. I suppose it was 20 minutes on a really good day when my kids were really into it and breezing through it, but this was not typical.
I’ll post this video below to show how my kids read. In the video Matthew is in 1st grade and reading his A.C.E. PACEs easily. He went through the book last year. Katie was in Kindergarten. I’d say my kids are very normal. They don’t have any developmental issues, so those factors may influence your decision to use it. You’ll notice that they are sounding out a lot of words, and that’s good! My challenge now is to get them to read outside of class time. Katie seems to be enjoying reading the most, but Matthew is proud of himself for his reading skill even though he’d rather be playing Legos.