Monday, December 8, 2008

Review: Rime to Read

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.



To Ms. Marry Grace

I have just read some of your posts. I like the straight forward language you use in writing.

If you like short stories and paintings, then a short visit to my blog would be a good idea.

Naval Langa

Mama JJ said...

Hi Mary Grace,

How old is Logan? Have you considered letting him forgo the reading, just for now?

My children(so far) are late readers. Yo-Yo, age 9, is picking it up now, and Miss Becca Boo, age 7, hasn't really started. In the meantime, I spend a lot of time reading to them. Yo-Yo feels quite positive towards reading (unlike how his father felt at his age) despite the fact that he is delayed (by school standards).


The White House said...

Thanks for the Yam tutorial. I needed that! Just started my 6 mo. old on solids and setting a goal not to buy a single jar this round. I bought a few jars back in the day for my 22 mo. old, but i think i just ended up giving him avacado and banana most of the time!

Anonymous said...

I am having the same difficulties with my son when it comes to reading and I am at the point of what do I do? My daughter and I both tear through books like there is no tomorrow and my son struggles over each and every word. He will not read when he is at church in front of his friends the same age because he embarrassed by how long it takes him to sound out a word.

Thanks for the review.

Jenny said...

Hi, Mary Grace! Saw this in my feed reader the other day but just now have a moment to respond. How similar is Rime to Read to Starfall ( We've been very happy with Starfall - plus, it's free. Logan would probably enjoy it. Katie and Owen both started on it as older two-year-olds and Katie (now six) still enjoys the advanced level readers.

And while I am at it, you have been in my prayers and God be praised for the good news on your husband's job!

One last thing - I think you would enjoy the blog of a friend of mine. She is about to adopt her two foster children. She hasn't updated in a bit, but everything points towards a late December/early January adoption. Be sure to go back and read her testimony from last summer, when she had a full hysterectomy, and also stop by her homeschool blog. (Her husband's blog is also awesome; same trials from his perspective, plus lots of great theology.)

Have a great day!

The Hayes Zoo said...

Hey Mary Grace!!

I have MISSED your blog. You are so real I just have to visit with you some day to make sure. :)

Wanted to let you know that you're post here about Logan is EXACTLY what I've got a goin' on with my oldest. It bites...big time. :) He just doesn't care and I can't relate...

Chocolate and books - what a fabulous analogy. :) You have a way with words my dear.


Abrazos y que Dios les bendiga!!