[The following is a Sponsored Post from Educents.]
For the last couple of years, I’ve been teaching my 7th child to read. If you have ever taught a child to read, you know that it is a systematic and sometimes long process. Teaching them first to learn their letters, then say the various sounds of each, then learn the sounds of all phonograms (“or”, “eigh”, etc.) takes daily practice and can occasionally be frustrating for both student and mom/teacher. What you sometimes need is a little Fun! And we have definitely found more than a little fun in the Life of Fred Beginning Readers! Read our review today and then enter to win the first book of the series called Blue.
The Life of Fred Beginning Readers are written by Stanley F. Schmidt, Ph.D. He has also written the extremely popular Life of Fred math curricula, which goes from elementary through college level.
Now, he has written some books for beginning readers. I got the first set to review with my son (there are 3 sets). Each set has 6 books in it.
Set 1 includes the books Blue, Bus, Lake, Potato Dreams, Ducks, and Rain.
Each book is study hardback and contains 32 pages.
To see sample pages, click here.
Life of Fred: Blue:
We have never read any of the Life of Fred math books, so we didn’t know the characters Fred and Kingie. No problem, we meet them in this first book. The color is “blue.” (Each book has a color that is talked about so kids learn to read it.)
Life of Fred Bus:
Fred and Kingie pack and get on a bus to go to the lake. The color is “orange.”
Life of Fred Lake:
Fred and Kingie have adventures at the lake. The color is “red.”
Life of Fred Potato Dreams:
Kingie wears different hats and you’ll learn why in this book. The color is “brown.”
Life of Fred Ducks:
Fred and Kingie meet some ducks and draw them. We also learn more about the author. The color is “pink.”
Life of Fred Rain:
Rain falls at the lake, but Fred and Kingie still have fun. The color is “gray.”
My initial thoughts were that these books are not the best at fitting the category of “beginning reader.” They aren’t systematic in their phonics approach (such as having a particular book be all about the long “a” sound). Also, although there are many words a new reader can sound out and be reminded of certain rules for (“this is a silent ‘e’ word”), there are also quite a few words that are simply too difficult for him.
So, I decided to take a different approach. I just read the words that were too hard for my son and had him sound out the words he could. I saw these lessons as ones in which he was learning to enjoy reading, rather than learning to read an entire book all by himself.
And enjoy them, he did! My son absolutely loved the quirky, random stories! Each page has a graphic or photograph and only a few words or a couple of sentences, so it doesn’t seem overwhelming to a new reader. He got so excited every day when I told him it was time to read!
I like how the books are broken up into chapters. It makes it easy to know where to stop each day.
My final analysis: The Life of Fred Beginning Readers aren’t the best for actually teaching your kids to read, but are so fun that they get your child practicing reading daily. Because the entire set (sort of) tells an entire story, your kids will want to read the next chapter or next book! And, I think I will be forced to get the next two sets now. 🙂
Hear my son reading the sixth book Rain and “see inside” it in our video review:
3 Ways to Use the Books:
- Use the color of each book and do something fun with it–eat something that is that color (apple for the red book) or make a craft (pumpkin for the orange book).
- Learn to draw with the books. Draw Fred, Kingie, and the ducks.
- Read Rain on a day that is raining. Then, go outside and play in the rain!
Other Educents products for beginning readers:
- Phonics Collection DVDs from Rock ‘N Learn
- Complete Learn to Read Kit
- Phonics Mini Books
Now, would you like to win the first book of the Life of Fred Beginning Readers set #1 called Blue? Enter on the Rafflecopter app below. You must be age 18+ to enter, and the winner’s address must be in the continental U.S. Contest ends 10/17/16, and the winner will have 24 hours to respond to my email.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by Educents. I also received a complimentary set of the Life of Fred Beginning Readers set #1 in order to honestly review them here. I am an affiliate for Educents, and this post contains affiliate links.)