Last week, I posted a picture of this book on my Instagram and got lots of questions and showing of interest in it. It was kinda hard to address all the aspects of this method on Instagram, so I thought it would be a good idea to blog about it. There are many, many reviews for this book out there, and I'm sure they are all much better than mine. Be as it may, here is my take on this book.
I have used 100 Lessons to teach my 3 oldest children to read, and they have all excelled by it. Elijah and Grace are both advanced readers, and were reading chapter books very early. By chapter books I mean Gracie (6) reads American Girl and Junie B. Jones, lickety-split. Elijah (8) reads anything he can get his hands on. We used Story of The World for History this year and he just couldn't get enough during school time and had the whole thing read through before the year was half over. Emma (4) is only on lesson 58 and out of all of them, she has been the latest to use this book. By latest, I mean she is much older than the other two were when they were at this point in the process. With the move, the baby, and her bout with hearing loss, we have just kind of "flowed" with it this year. She is doing awesome with it, though, and absolutely loves it, sometimes doing 2 lessons in a day.
How it works: Basically, this book teaches reading using the Distar method, which teaches achild the sound of a letter before they learn the name of the letter. With each lesson, the child is given sounds that he/she learns to read by touching under that letter with their finger and simultaneously saying the sound aloud.
They learn the sounds one at a time, and practice verbally blending the sounds together until they progress to more complex words. This example is probably around lesson 30-something, although I could not find it in my book, so I'm just guessing (I found the image via google). As the lessons progress, the words get longer and more complex and the stories also get longer. Starting around lesson 13, each lesson/story begins to have a corresponding picture which is used to evaluate and enhance the child's comprehension of what they are reading. Each lesson also gives a letter/sound-writing exercise at the end, so if your child has not yet started writing, they can also be introduced to it here. I always designate a notebook for this sole purpose and use a sharpie for creating tracing worksheets.
Note: All 3 of my kiddos knew their letters way before starting this book, so I have not really used it to teach the alphabet, per se, only to teach reading. But it can be used to teach letters, phonics, and the whole shabang from scratch.
The parent/teacher's role: This book walks a parent through, step by step, literally giving you a script (in red writing), telling you what to say and when to say it. Does it possibly get any easier than that? By now, with the 3rd child, I basically ignore the script and do my own thing, but I remember the first time I used it I was so worried about messing up and did every little thing by the book. About halfway through, you will be skipping all the detailed wordiness and running with it.
By the time your little Suzy finishes this book, she will be reading on a 2nd grade level. However, her learning-to-read journey is far from being over. There is still much to cover, as 100 lessons teaches the basic blends and punctuation. My oldest two were finished with this book by 4, and so this gave them a huge, HUGE head start on reading. However, I used Abeka Phonics/Reading for 1st grade and it was very beneficial, although they were a little bored with the reading, as they were beyond the kiddos in their class video. But they benefited greatly from it and needed the reinforcement of phonics and rhythm, etc.
The book provides a list of suggested books to check out from your library and read when the book is completed. I don't remember anything dynamic about them, other than the fact that my kiddos were totally stoked that they could actually read a book they had checked out at the library.
My recommendation: if you are going to use this book, I highly, and I stress highly recommend doing it before kindergarten. Being able to read fluently gives a child such a head start and will help them excel in every single subject. I am not going to say it will be easy. There were days when it really was a struggle and they just did not want to do it when it started to get hard. BUT. I did not allow them to stop just because it got hard and I pushed them through it. With each of my children, there have been points when they were like the Little Engine That Could climbing a steep hill and then one day, they topped that hill and it got easier and the rest of the book was a downhill breeze for them.
There have also been times when we have had to back off and take a break for a few days, maybe even a week, before coming back to it with a fresh perspective. But believe me when I say, there is no greater reward than seeing your little boy's face beam with pride when he reads a whole story by himself. Especially when you know you taught your child how to read. What an awesome thing to claim as a parent, as a Mom. Your child can read and YOU taught him!
However, if you choose to wait until they are a little older, that's fine, too. You know your child, and they just may not be ready until 6 or 7. I have also heard of people using this book when their child is in school and is struggling with learning to read in the classroom. If yours is in that situation, give it a go! It can't hurt to try!
Remember, every child is different, and although mine have taken really well to this method, yours may have a totally different learning style and just not take to it. Do not be dismayed! There is tons of great stuff out there, and the beauty of homeschooling is if one thing does not work, you are free to toss it out and try something else. Good luck on your reading journey!
p.s. Feel free to ask any questions you may have and I will do my best to answer them!
p.p.s. I ordered my book from Amazon, and if you wish to do the same, please use the link below. I am an Amazon affiliate and if you purchase through this link I will get a (small) commission from that purchase. Thank you!