Wednesday, April 10, 2013

ABeCeDarian - REVIEW

The ABeCeDarian Program was written by Michael Bend, Ph.D.  It was created to help develop students into fluent readers.  ABeCeDarian is "a research-based, explicit, comprehensive, multi-sensory decoding program."  To read more about the author, Michael Bend, click here.  To read more about the program details click here.

When I taught my oldest son, Jonathan, to read, the program was the same that I had when I was a child.  It was good and he learned a lot, but we didn't have fun or enjoy it.  It was very phonics oriented, which isn't a bad thing and it worked for Jonathan, but I knew that Jordan(5), our 2nd son, was a completely different child with a different style of learning.  He is more hands on and needs a different approach to learning to read.

ABeCeDarian is definitely different then your typical phonics based reading program.  Now there is nothing wrong with a phonics based program, but as we tried to implement that early on in the school year, I could see it would be a struggle for us.  Jordan just learns different.

When we received our package from ABeCeDarian I started reading the teachers guide for level A1.  A1 is for Kindergarten to 1st grade readers who may be struggling.  There is a good bit of reading on the teacher's end to completely understand the program and how it works and the best way to implement the program.  In going through the teachers guide, I really liked how they implemented the skills necessary to read.  It is a completely different approach than what I had used before with Jonathan.  It reminded me of the Charlotte Mason teaching style.

One of the things that was different and opposite of what I had been doing with Jordan was teaching letter names and the sounds together.  In ABeCeDarian they teach the names after the students have learned all of the sounds.  I think this offers less confusion for student.

They also do not teach sight words.  And honestly, in going through the program, I don't think that we will need to do sight words at all.  This program is very effective in it's teaching methods.

One of the methods they use is the Tap-and-Say.  Tap-and-Say was probably the best thing for him.  You tap each letter, say the sound (not the letter) and then put the sounds together.  Something else in this curriculum is word puzzles.  These are fun little games that involve solving the puzzle by figuring out the sounds in the word.  (More detail on this in the teachers manual for this)

I will admit that when Jordan first started, he was hesitant.  It was different than what we had been doing and he can be very resistant to change.  But once he saw how hands on this was going to be he started to warm up to the program.

Jordan and I would begin our day with ABeCeDarian.  We received the Curriculum that begins with level A1 and goes all the way through B1.  I chose to start him in A1 and work our way up through the curriculum.  Even if was a slight review, I wanted him to get used to the methods we were using in the curriculum. 

The lessons started with the Word Puzzle for a short word.  This helped him figure out letter sounds and how to put the letters in the correct order.  He really liked solving the puzzle.  Then we would work on Tap-and-Say for our words we had just completed using the puzzle.

But those 2 things aren't the only things used.  They also incorporate handwriting.  Writing each sound and then the whole word.  These activities all work together to help solidify each thing learned for the day. 

We would spend about 30-45 minutes total working through all of these activities.  Some days actually go very quickly because he is actually enjoying learning to read.  He has even brought over some simple books to try and read to me.  I am really thrilled that he is wanting to learn more. 

I still kept to doing 1 lesson a day 4 days a week.  I know he could do more, but I don't want to rush him through the process.  I want him to fully grasp each concept and set of sounds.  I think if we did more than one lesson in a day, things would blur together and he wouldn't get a complete understanding of what is being taught.

To say that Jordan and I are happy with this curriculum would be an understatement.  I am thrilled that he wants to learn and will actually bring me our books each day.  He is already learning so much and putting things together very quickly now.  This is something that motivates him.

The program we used and are almost finished with was A1.  The Pricing for ABeCeDarian A1 is as follows.

Teacher's Manual - $28.50
Student Workbook -  $12.25

I believe this program is a great reading program.  It is fun and engages the child.  My son comes back wanting to learn more.  He is excited to learn.  What a blessing for our family.  I can't wait to use it with our other children as well.  (though I will need to purchase more workbooks, but completely worth it in my opinion) 


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