One of the neat things about doing product reviews is that I'm frequently introduced to products I might not have otherwise ever heard of.
One such Product is the Stepping Stones Together reading program, which is a reading program aimed at children 3-7 years old. The program is based around 3 sets of 5 emergent reader books that you can access online or print.
The really neat thing is that there are 6 different book themes to choose from, depending on your child's interests. (The available choices are animals, fairies, princesses, sports, superheros, and transportation.) I think this is an important point, since kids are easier to engage when the topic is interesting to them. Each book is 8 pages long, and includes questions for you to ask the child at the end, as well as a writing or drawing prompt. In addition to the books, you can also print a progress chart, flashcards for each book, completion certificates, a packet of ideas to extend the learning, via several different games, and even paper for the child to do the writing/drawing exercise on. It's pretty all inclusive. Other than purchasing a membership, you'll need a printer, a stapler, and some crayons.
There's a section on the website that covers how to introduce the material, how many times to read each book for optimal results, etc. According to the stated schedule, the whole program of 15 books should take 60 days.
I printed out the first 10 books of the Transportation set for L. This program relies heavily on high frequency words, and as expected, the books followed a repetitive, predictable pattern. The cute, simple illustrations (which are closely tied to the text, and meant to aid the child in reading,) are meant to be colored as part of the program.
I was impressed with the program, and I'm surprised I hadn't heard about it previously. The cost of a 90 day membership is $19.99, or you can subscribe for a full year for $39.99. In my estimation, this makes the cost comparable to other emergent reader programs.
I haven't actually started using the books with L yet, as we don't officially start school for another couple of weeks.I'm going to be using them with him when we start though, and I'll update you then with how he does.
In the meantime, if you're wondering "how am I going to teach my child to read?" and want want to know more about the program or its creator, check out the Stepping Stones Together website at http://www.steppingstonestogether.com/, or you can also follow them on Twitter.
Disclosure: I was provided access to the Stepping Stones Together website in order to facilitate the review. No other compensation was provided.