Thursday, May 23, 2013

Scaredy Cat

Dr. Joyce Herzog has created many educational products to help simplify both teaching and learning.  The past month or so, we have been able to review her Scaredy Cat Reading System Express.

The purpose of the system is to help you assist your students in mastering reading. The Express (formerly called Level 4) covers all the concepts of Levels 1, 2, & 3 in 15 main rules and supplements. It consists of teacher training; activities and suggestions; boardgames; all the stories, word lists, and sentence lists of levels 1, 2, and 3, the Story of Lettermaster, and the rules song CD. 

The first thing we did was get comfy on the couch - one child squished on my right side, another child smooshed on my left, and the third sitting on my lap - and read the Story of Lettermaster. The comic book style story is all about the man who gave the letters their jobs. In the beginning, the letters were confused and didn't know which sounds to make. The Lettermaster helps them and your student understand the craziness of phonics in the English language. It talks about the vowels' scared and brave sounds, why k and w can never stand by each other, how s is always causing problems, and much more. It is the cutest story! The kids asked me to read it several times.

The program is not scripted and it doesn't give you daily lesson plans. It does, however, give you multiple ideas and suggestions for practice. There are many words for each rule and many sentences. It really helps having that variety without relying on the teacher to conjure up some examples on her own.

I focused on using this system with my 7-year-old. He does very well with reading, but struggles with spelling. We've been using two different word lists at a time, one for reading and another for spelling. Understanding why certain letters makes specific sounds has really helped his spelling of simple words. A lot of this curriculum is based around game-like practice. Any time you can make it more fun and less like work is a big plus to him. He really enjoys playing the games, and I really enjoy that he's learning.

The program worked well for us and we will continue to use it. I also plan to start using it with my 5-year-old to help her reading advance as well. This curriculum can be used with students of all ages and abilities: advanced, learning disabled, dyslexic, average. It can be used as a full program, to fill in gaps, or as a supplement. The entire kit costs $30. You can download a sample, too.

Joyce Herzog offers many more educational products. You read more reviews of the Scaredy Cat Reading Express along with reviews of the other products as well from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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