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Review: 5 Best Programs to Teach Your Child to Read
The 5 Best Programs to Teach Your Child to Read: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Reading Eggs, Teach Your Monster to Read, and Hooked on Phonics Reviews
by Mary Follin
The best programs to teach your child to read!
Reading Eggs, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Teach Your Monster to Read, and Hooked on Phonics are among the 5 best programs to teach your child to read. And yes, we feel Teach Your Child to Read™ is also an excellent choice! Since we have what we think is a great program, you might be wondering why I’m reviewing these OTHER programs, too.
The simple answer is, our goal is for all children to learn to read. Every child is different, and every family is different. The best reading program for kids is the one that works for YOUR child, and you’re the best person to decide which one that is.
No single program will work for every child, which is why it’s so critical that you evaluate multiple phonics-based reading programs, take advantage of free trials, and let your child weigh in. Read reviews of the 5 best programs to teach your child to read below, and you’ll start getting a sense of which one will work best for your family.
Why Are Phonics Based Reading Programs So Important?
Please note that the reading programs for kids in this review rely mostly on phonics instruction. Most children learn phonics easily, even at a very young age. And if you have an older child who is struggling to learn to read, there’s tremendous value in using a systematic phonics reading program. A lot of older students who never mastered the art of reading may have missed out on pure phonics instruction, and it’s never too late to teach it. You may be pleasantly surprised how quickly a struggling reader can gain reading competency once they learn the ‘code’ of the English language.
Let’s discuss the best reading programs for kids in more depth
Over the years, many different methods for teaching reading have been tested, but science continues to tell us that phonics is the best way for children to learn to read. Please enjoy my review below of the 5 best programs to teach your child to read: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Reading Eggs, Teach Your Monster to Read, and Hooked on Phonics. And of course, Teach Your Child to Read™ is in there, too!
Reading Program for Kids, The 5 Best Programs to Teach Your Child to Read: Reviews of The 5 Best Programs to Teach Your Child to Read: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, Reading Eggs, Teach Your Monster to Read, and Hooked on Phonics
1) Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Published in 1986 by Siegfried Englemann and Phyllis Haddox, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons empowered parents to believe they could teach their children to read at home. Simple and straight-forward, this can’t-miss little book takes you through the process of teaching your child to read with phonics, which is why Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is included in the 5 best programs to teach your child to read.
That said, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons has an academic ‘feel’ to it, and your child might be used to a more exciting way of learning. But if you feel confident in your own creativity, most parents can easily learn how to teach phonics from this book.
Lessons do not involve tools, flashcards, or storybooks—just you and your child. The book promises you will see results if you can spend 20 minutes per day with your child. With only 100 lessons you will be surprised at how competent your child can be after working through this step-by-step program.
And indeed, you will see results in 20 minutes a day—at first. But as the concepts become more advanced, the lessons get longer. Older children might not mind this, but the little ones may begin to squirm. And for some children, even the 20-minute lessons are too long.
Does Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons use phonics to teach reading? Absolutely. This little book gets an A+ from us for its commitment to using a systematic, phonics-based approach.
CAVEAT: Because of the length of the lessons, this book may be more effective for children who don’t mind sitting still for longer periods of time.
2) Reading Eggs
We feel Reading Eggs is one of the most comprehensive programs on the market. As a result, it’s one of the 5 best programs to teach your child to read recommendations. With over a hundred activities to choose from, your child will have plenty to do! Reading Eggs addresses the learning needs of children ages 2-13 and covers all aspects of learning to read: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and fluency.
The program is not designed to be a one-on-one experience between you and your child, but if your child is an independent learner, that may be okay. I like that the lessons are 15 minutes or less, but for some children, that still may be a little long. The program also comes with a parent dashboard so you can track your child’s progress.
Perhaps the biggest concern about Reading Eggs for some parents is the amount of time spent on-screen to keep the learning going. This type of learning has a passive quality to it, and while learning through entertainment can work, it doesn’t quite exercise the ‘engaged learning’ muscle.
Does Reading Eggs use phonics to teach reading? That depends. While most children can learn the phonetic code from Reading Eggs, many words that could be sounded out are presented before the sounds have been taught, which might lead to confusion—or guessing—for your child. If you are looking for a strictly systematic approach for teaching phonics, this may not be the program for you.
CAVEAT: If you want to be involved in teaching your child to read, you will have to figure out to insert yourself, as the program is designed for children to use on their own. And because the introduction of phonetic concepts is not always sequential, there may be a degree of confusion for some children as they work through the program.
3) Teach Your Monster to Read
How can you not love free? Teach Your Monster to Read is a series of well-crafted games designed to take your child through the first two years of learning how to read—pre-K and kindergarten. Please check this one out! While this may not be the full reading program you’re looking for, these simple (and fun) games will support any other path you choose to take. Teach Your Monster to Read is made possible by the generosity of the Usborne family foundation in support of developing early literacy. The ‘cost’ for this program is too irresistible to not include it as one of the 5 best programs to teach your child to read!
Side note: the games are not always self-explanatory, and some agile mouse-action is required. You will most likely need to stay involved as your little one plays the games.
Does Teach Your Monster to Read take a phonics-based approach? This program definitely teaches the ‘sounds’ of letters and helps children decipher the phonetic code. However, games are not presented in any type of sequence, so it may be challenging to make sure all prior sounds and blends have been memorized before starting a new game. For this reason, the program is a better supplemental activity than a primary tool for teaching a child to read.
CAVEAT: Please don’t expect this program to teach your child to read. The games are delightful supplements to a phonics-based approach to teaching reading, but your child will probably not be willing to play the games as many times as it takes to actually learn the sounds by heart. The games will, however, offer a fresh approach that supports whatever program you are using. Variety is a good thing, and Teach Your Monster to Read can offer a bit of that for your child during the process of learning how to read.
4) Hooked on Phonics
If you’re teaching multiple children at once, Hooked on Phonics may be the program for you. A hybrid of digital and ‘through the mail,’ Hooked on Phonics has materials that specifically address all levels of reading skills. The program was first introduced to the market in 1987 and continues to be a tool that families use to teach their children to read. This program has withstood the test of time, which is why it’s on the list of the 5 best programs to teach your child to read.
And as the name implies, the program takes a phonics-based approach, which I whole-heartedly applaud.
If you have a preference for teaching the old-fashioned way, you might like this program. Many of the learning materials come to your child through the mail. (What child doesn’t like to receive mail?), so lessons can be spread out on the kitchen table. But there are online options as well, so you get to choose which style you are most comfortable with. That said, it can be a little confusing to consider your options and determine what skill level is right for your child.
Does Hooked on Phonics use a phonics-based approach to teach reading? Yes!
CAVEAT: Hooked on Phonics is designed for children to use on their own, but some children appear to have difficulty figuring out what they’re supposed do in some areas of the program. And if you’re trying to reduce your child’s screen time, this style of instruction may be a concern for you. Also, some of the lessons aren’t as engaging as the others, which can make your child resistant to tackling the less exciting ones. And finally, many of the lessons are 20 minutes in length, so this program might work better for children who can sit still for longer periods of time.
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5) Teach Your Child to Read™
If your child is between the ages of 3 and 6 (or even older if your child is struggling with reading), you might want to consider Teach Your Child to Read™. Our program was designed for short attention spans and busy parents (lessons are only 5 minutes), and the program guides you step-by-step through the process of teaching your child to read. It’s so easy to use, all you need is a few minutes to review lesson one, and you’ll be ready to get started.
One of the 5 Best Programs to Teach Your Child to Read: How is Teach Your Child to Read™ Different From the Others?
- Lessons are five minutes or less so your child will never get bored. Often times, your child will want to keep going even when a lesson is done, but by sticking to short lessons, you’ll always leave your child wanting more. Bonus: Of all the programs, this one fits most easily into a busy parent’s schedule!
- Lessons are introduced sequentially, so there’s no effort on your part to figure out what to do next. Your child will learn phonics the way it’s taught best—with a systematic, linear approach.
- Our program is 100% interactive. No passive learning here. Rather than being spoon-fed the concepts, your child will be an active participant in learning. The ability to learn how to learn goes beyond learning to read and empowers your child to initiate learning in other areas of their lives.
- Lessons are designed for the two of you to work together, rather than having your child work alone in front of a screen.
- With our program, your child can become a confident reader in only 6 Steps. Not only does the program work quickly, it’s extremely easy to use.
Easy To Use Reading Programs For Kindergarteners
Easy and Fun Learn To Read Programs
We particularly like the last one, only 6 STEPS. Many of the other programs are somewhat complicated to figure out what to do, what’s been learned, and where to go next. Our program takes a sequential approach, so you’ll always know what’s been covered and where you are. And because the program is so linear, your child will get to the reading part fairly quickly. (In STEP 2, your child will actually start sounding out beginning words.)
You’ll love watching how quickly your child learns to read!
On the flip side, some parents are concerned about ‘pushing’ their children into learning too early or too fast. Even though our program works quickly for most children, we think it’s important to be judicious about how quickly you introduce reading concepts to your child.
Children learn best at their own pace, and some will naturally move faster than others. Our program is designed to offer a time of shared closeness between you and your child—just a few minutes a day—so your child never feels pushed into learning. If your child wants to buzz straight through in a few months, great! But if he or she needs to take more time, that’s okay, too.
By introducing reading concepts in 5-minute micro-lessons, you’ll be able to tune in to how your child is progressing at all times. You’ll easily be able to identify when you can keep up your pace or slow down—even take an extended break—so your child will never feel rushed.
Free Trials of the 5 Best Reading Programs to Teach Your Child to Read
It’s hard to grasp how a program works until you actually try it, which is why a free trial is so important. And I encourage you to try them all! Reading Eggs and Teach Your Child to Read™ have free trials, and Hooked on Phonics allows you to try the program for 30 days for $1. You can even ‘test drive’ Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by reviewing the sample pages on Amazon. And of course, Teach Your Monster to Read is completely free.
While there are a lot of tremendous resources out there, I feel that none of them is as simple and easy to use as Teach Your Child to Read™. But regardless of which program you choose, I applaud you for going on this learning journey with your child. Please reach out to us and tell us how it goes!
Reading Programs for Kids
Since inception, Teach Your Child to Read™ has been about the well-being of children and the moms, dads, and caretakers who love them. We all want to take charge of our children’s education, especially the precious skill of learning to read. Whether you’re looking for a reading program for kindergarteners, first-graders, struggling readers, or preschool reading programs, we feel the key to success is choosing a phonics-based reading program that’s easy for you to use and lets your child set the pace.
Reading Programs for Kindergartners and First Graders
The ages between 5-7 offer a sweet spot for teaching children to read, but the reading programs reviewed here have phonics lessons for kindergarteners, 1st graders, and struggling readers up to age 8 and beyond. (Age ranges are simply suggestions; you know your child better than anyone else!)
When introducing phonics lessons to a much older child (or even an adult), if your student is willing to engage with remedial tools, the programs in this review can be effective for anyone who wishes to learn to read or improve their reading skills.
Preschool Reading Programs
Many children are ready to start learn to read programs at the age of 3. (Caution: Please don’t force this if your child isn’t ready!) When working with a child who’s barely out of toddlerhood, you’ll only want to consider phonics reading programs with these features: very short lessons, only a few minutes of screen time, and one-on-one time with Mom or Dad.
And be prepared to put it away for months at a time if your child isn’t having fun with it!
Choosing the Best Program to Teach YOUR Child to Read
To help your child learn to read with phonics, you will want a phonics reading program that matches your child’s learning style. Here is a checklist of things for you to consider when choosing the best reading program for your child:
”I looked at a number of different early learning/phonics programs for my son, now three and a half years old, and was very excited to find ‘Teach Your Child To Read.’ The program is well designed and tastefully implemented. I’m looking forward to adding a few minutes a day with it to our favorite activities together and watching my kid become a competent and enthusiastic reader!”
–Andrew P., Ed-tech startup founder, Sunlark
One of the 5 Best Reading Programs to Teach Your Child to Read
Teach Your Child to Read™
™Founder and creator Mary Follin started her career as a systems engineer with IBM. In that capacity, she wrote software manuals to help make complex systems easy to understand and use. Over the course of her career, she has worked in product development, product innovation, market research, and marketing consulting.
Beyond creating Teach Your Child to Read™, she is also the author of Ethyr, winner of the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and the Gertrude Warner Book Award, and a regular contributor to DailyMom.com on the subject of children’s literacy.
Mary also writes, along with Erika Guerrero, a feature column in Fredericksburg Parent & Family. Titled ASK MOM, the column offers parenting advice and was recognized by the Parenting Media Association with a 2021 award.