Learn to Read and Read to Learn

by Kelsey Norwood

in Education, Media, & Literacy


Elliot starts kindergarten in the fall and I am not a parent who will rely on the public school system to teach him everything he needs to know. As a parent I feel educating my child is my responsibility, and I wanted to begin our at-home supplementing with reading lessons, but talk about intimidating!

Where do you even start teaching a child to read? What do you teach first? What is the best method?

I found my answer in a single book: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann, Phyllis Haddox, and Elaine Bruner.

This book is amazing and so brilliant. There are 100 lessons in this book, starting with the very simplest tasks like learning just a few letter sounds. Each lesson introduces a new letter sound and each lesson continues to build on previous lessons. The learning is so gradual that it should be very easy for the child. If it gets too difficult, start over.

Towards the end of the book the lessons consist mostly of reading actual stories, like Elliot is doing in the picture. This is more difficult, and the going is slow, but he can read! The later lessons also teach reading comprehension. Each story includes questions to ask about the story to make sure the child really understands what he is reading. There is also a picture that we talk about that relates to the story, so it’s a very comprehensive and thorough method.

We are on lesson 60 and are trying to get in one lesson every day. I was trying to really push through the book but it was turning our reading time into a real battle, so my advice is to not be pushy, let the child set the pace, and make sure they are enjoying reading.

This book is so great because it tells you EXACTLY what to say. The teacher’s dialogue is in red and the child’s sample responses are written out in black – this was one of my main concerns with teaching Elliot how to read – I didn’t know what to say and how to prompt him, but everything is all right here in the book.


Elliot amazes himself and me every day with how well he is reading. It is incredible how quickly a child can learn to read. He is 5 and I think this is the perfect time for him to learn.

The book cost me $12 on Amazon, and I will use it with every one of my children, in fact, I have already started with 3 yo Gus. He sees Elliot doing reading lessons and he wants to learn too!

With lots of read-aloud and library time, I hope to create sons who love to read and who will be successful learners their whole lives!


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