I've been pretty open about the fact that Logan has humbled me greatly when it comes to teaching a child how to read. While Jo and Atticus took to the written word like fish to water, Logan's reading skills have reminded me more of a cat approaching the selfsame lake. He sees everyone else enjoying it--he can even get glimpses of those yummy fish paddling by--but in the end, he'd just rather not, thankyouverymuch.
See ... Logan CAN read. He just chooses not to. And this, my friends, mystifies me. How can someone sit in front of a slab of chocolate cake and not want to eat it? How can the entire world be open to you and yet you chose to take a nap?
I've pulled out my entire bag of tricks on this boy and still, when asked to select a book to read aloud with me he heaves a great sigh, slumps his shoulders and invariably presents me with a dotty, simplistic reader of the "See Spot Run" variety.
It's my job as his homeschooling momma, I think, to make reading such a delectable, pleasurable activity that he can no longer resist. With this as my charge, folks, I'm willing to try anything.
Enter Rime to Read. This website combines two elements that I knew would seduce Logan into some quality reading time: computers and phonetically controlled readers. And I was right.
Rime to Read offers twenty short, illustrated books of the simplest kind. The titles say it all: Pat, Kit, The Log. You get the picture. Essentially, these are Bob Books online--and that's the novelty of it all. Even children who cringe at the sight of yet another line-drawn adventure with Pat the Cat (because there's always a "Pat," isn't there?) will get a grin out of controlling the action in a computer environment.
In addition to the benefits of traditional first readers, Rime to Read books also allow you to click on certain sounds to hear them pronounced. This would be an added bonus for anyone using the books with children who are not yet reading. I had to make the feature off limits to Logan, though, since I wanted him to actually READ the stories and not coast through them.
This program strives to incorporate actual instruction into the little readers. By highlighting certain pieces of words, children begin to recognize patterns and have the confidence-boosting experience of not struggling to sound out each syllable.
Rime to Read books are based not on straight phonics, but on word families. This approach seems to be in vogue right now in homeschooling circles. The idea is that a child who can read "hat" can easily recognize the rime pattern "-at," and apply it to similar words, such as "cat."
The Rime to Read books are available in sets of five for just under $10, or you can buy the whole set of 20 for $50. Books can be printed off your computer for later use, but only one copy can be made, so hang on to it!
While Logan enjoyed poking around the Rime to Read books, I found them to be very light for what I was hoping to accomplish. He was actually reading, so points there ... but while the site recommends these books for remedial instruction, I don't really see that as being a good fit. The stories truly are the lightweight variety that leaves older children feeling like the time invested was wasted. Younger readers and children just starting out will get much more out of this product.