When I discussed my anticipation here, Nina commented that she would be curious as to how I liked The Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading by Jessica Wise. Well... I have mixed reviews. The first 26 lessons of this 231 lesson book start with the short vowel sounds and moves on to the consonants. I like this method, it is what I was doing before I ordered the book. I also like that she suggest teaching children alternate printing of some letters such as what I call fancy a vs ball and stick a because some books will use different styles. What I do not like are the little "poems" to peg the sounds. For example: A is the first vowel we will say. /a/ is the short-vowel sound for A. or Y stands for /y/ in /y/, /y/ yip. Ms. Wise does not want you to peg your letters to pictures of apples or balls but does want you to repeat her poems 5 times a day in their entireties (aeiou, b-z). I skipped the poems and went straight for sound and sight recognition of the letters. My favorite tools for learning letter sounds are Leapfrog's Letter Factory Video, our homemade game Letter Hide and Seek, and creating an ABC book by cut & pasting pictures from magazines.
The remaining lessons are basic phonics lessons and I am very pleased with them. After the first two lessons (27 & 28) Gabe was able to Slo-wl-y read the first Bob Book :Mat. You can move as quickly or as slowly as you need through the lessons. We are going slow and spent a week on these first lessons just to build confidence. Each lesson starts with a review of the last lesson, teaches a new component, and offers follow-up activities. I am very pleased so far.
I had planned for 153 lessons this year but we will not get that done.... there is no hurry. I want G to enjoy learning to read not run the other way. So we will probably spend a few weeks on each short vowel rather than 3-4 days.