I have been using the “Scaredy Cat Reading Express” curriculum by Joyce Herzog in order to review it for the Schoolhouse Review Crew. We used this curriculum 3 to 4 times a week during our school days. This program was written for students of multiple ages, so I used it with both my 2nd and 4th grade boys. Dr. Joyce Herzog is a very accomplished educator who has worked in the public school setting, with home schoolers and students with learning disabilities for many decades. She seeks to provide an individualized reading approach for the student. Before beginning, she offers a Placement Test so you know just what level your student needs.
The “Scaredy Cat Reading Express” curriculum is mastery based and consists of teacher materials, 2 versatile game boards, a CD of Scaredy Cat Reading System Rules Songs, The Story of Letter Master Mini and Using LetterMaster as a Teaching Tool. She provides a large list of suggestions for games and activities to teach the rules of phonics, while incorporating spelling, in a hands on manner for your student. The list of suggested activities is very long. “Scaredy Cat Reading Express” curriculum contains the word and sentence lists from all of the prior levels (1, 2 & 3) of the “Scaredy Cat Reading System” and covers all of the Scaredy Cat concepts in 15 condensed rules, each being introduced with a story or song. It is available for $30 on the web site
Both of my boys really enjoyed the Story of Letter Master. Letter Master explains how all of the letters got their sounds through a unique and fun story! For example, sometimes the vowels get a little frightened, when surrounded by all of the consonants and use their “scared sounds” aka, the short vowel sound! This really resonated with my younger son. Each day we would work on one of the rules, which was different for each boy, as the older one moved more quickly through the phonics rules, being a more advanced reader. You move at the individual student’s pace, once you determined that they have mastered that rule based on Dr. Joyce Herzog’s recommendation: “ At each step, mastery is considered to be the ability to read thirty words per minute and spell nine out of ten randomly chosen words.”
I thought that this was a nice supplement to what we have already been doing. It served as a means of making sure my boys had not missed any of the basic phonics rules. It was a little too open ended, at times, for me. As a busy home school mom of 4, I felt more comfortable on the days there were specific activities the boys had to complete. The variety of suggested activities was a little overwhelming for me, but if you are the type of teacher that enjoys having a very open ended curriculum, this would be a great fit for you. It looks like the first 3 levels are more specific, as they contain a student activity book. I think that a student activity book would be a good fit for my teaching style. Yet, I did appreciate the fact that the activities made learning fun and could be tailored to each child’s specific level!
I would definitely encourage you to visit Joyce Herzog’s website, as she offers many other products for phonics, spelling and Bible work!
~Don’t Be a Scaredy Cat About Teaching Reading :)~