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Motherhood is already challenging. Teaching your child to read is an exciting but frustrating milestone that can be difficult for both you and your child. Reading programs, like Children Learning Reading, designed to help you can be a lifesaver if you are short on time and patience.
It’s important to develop reading skills at an early age to ensure success, so doing the research now and investing in something that will help you both is worthwhile. Even if your child has already begun to read, you can accelerate their learning by offering extra encouragement and incentives. In this article, we’re reviewing Children Learning Reading. But, before your make a decision, we’ve outlined a few things to consider.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Reading Program
All children are different, and their learning abilities differ, too. While learning to read is necessary, it can be overwhelming for you both. Upper and lower case letters, recognition, the sounds they make, and how they fit together can be confusing. Not to mention, some letters make more than one sound!
And that’s not even considering learning disabilities like dyslexia. For children with other difficulties, it can be even harder to overcome the challenges. It’s also hard on you to watch your child struggle, and can be very frustrating to have the patience you need.
That’s why you should make some careful considerations before choosing which program to buy.
The teaching method that’s proven most effective in learning to read is phonics. Phonics helps children understand what sounds the letters make and how they behave based on things like where they fall in the word and what other letters surround them.
This type of learning lays the foundation for successful, lifelong reading. Understanding why letters sound the way they do means that even as an adult, when they encounter a word they don’t know, they can sound it out quicker.
While learning by sight can help a child memorize key words or phrases, it doesn’t help them advance or get better. It simply teaches them to recognize the way words work, not how each individual component of the word affects it’s pronunciation.
An understanding of phonics is a lifelong skill that your child can use to adapt. In fact, there are many different ways to learn to read, and because every child is different, there may be several methods that work well.
You may even find success in using a combination of several different methods to help them the most.
Trial and cost
There are a lot of free reading apps that you could use to help your child learn to read. However, because they’re free, they rely on ads to make money. Not only is this overwhelming and distracting for your child, but it could get them in some trouble.
Kids will click on anything that looks interesting and soon, your phone is full of useless apps that no one needs or plays with. Not only that, but they may end up paying for something without realizing it. Oops!
If you’re interested in a solution that’s more hands-on and requires more participation from you, Children Learning Reading may be the right solution for you. It involves more guided practices and parent interaction.
There are plenty of really good solutions out there, so consider whether it has a trial, and how much it costs. Children Learning Reading has a 14 day trial for $9 with access to all of their materials. I’ll cover more on that a bit later.
It also involves a one-time fee for the entire program, so you’re not paying a monthly fee. However, think about how this pricing structure fits in your budget.
Once you pay, you’re committed, whereas a monthly subscription to another service, like Hooked on Phonics, allows you to pay as you go and cancel when you’re done. It could end up saving you money, depending on how quickly your child learns how to read.
Mobility and accessibility
Once your child is on a roll, you won’t want them to stop reading, and they won’t want to either. Consider how and when you want your child learning. If you’re not a fan of your child having access to a mobile device, then some of the mobile programs won’t be right for you.
You may want to choose instead a program that comes with hard materials and physical books. Worksheets, flashcards, and other materials that they can hold in their hands may get them more excited and encourage them to continue.
It may also depend on how your child learns. If your child would rather read a book and they like the idea of getting new things to reward them for their progress, then a program that comes with physical materials is better as well.
While a mobile device is easy to take along with you wherever you go, physical books are portable as well, and fun for your child to show off to friends and relatives wherever they go.
If we’re being honest, because, after all, that’s the title of this review, I have to say that the abundance of materials that I got upon signing up for Children Learning Reading was a tad overwhelming.
There was so much that I couldn’t possibly get through it all in the 14 trial. There was too much for me to read before I even started helping my child learn to read.
The good news is that the materials you get are all downloadable, so if you download them right away, you’ll have them, even after your trial expires. If you decide to cancel, you retain these materials and they’re yours to keep.
If you do cancel your membership before paying full price, you won’t get any additional materials, but I found that I didn’t really need them, because I was still struggling to make it through the first set of materials I got.
On the plus side of all of this, at least you won’t be lacking for instructional material to get your child reading the right way – with phonics.
The signup process was fairly simple, but the website isn’t very well designed. It took quite a bit of reading and digging to figure out what exactly I would get with my purchase and how it would all work.
Once you sign up and pay for the trial, you get access to all of the preliminary materials online. However, they didn’t come right away and I eventually had to reach out to them to find out where they were.
Support is something else I will address a bit later.
When they got back with me, my link didn’t work. I had to reach out again and get a corrected link, and the second one took me to a portal where I could access all of the trial materials.
The cool thing about this is that you can download them all to your computer so you’ll have access to them offline, and you can keep them even if you cancel.
The materials you get with the Children Learning Reading program are incredibly comprehensive. It took me a long time to go through them all and figure out how they were laid out and what I needed to do to get started.
It comes with four video lessons, which were the most helpful to seeing the program in action and figuring out what part I needed to play.
There are also worksheets and printouts for Stage 1 and Stage 2 learning, each of which include over 30 lessons on different letter sounds and combinations.
Also included are lesson stories, games, common sight words, worksheets on letter sounds, favorite rhymes, and so much more. The trial materials are enough to get your child to a place where they are reading on their own without subscribing to the full program.
Preparing to teach
With sign up and downloads out of the way, I was ready to prepare myself for teaching. The Children Learning Reading requires a lot of parent involvement, so it’s a great program for parents who want to be a big part of the journey.
It’s not so great for those who need their child to follow a self-guided program. Working parents or those who are self-employed or working from home may find it difficult to really set aside the time needed for this option.
I would suggest skimming the materials included and looking at the lessons yourself first. Watch the videos included so you can see how the program should be taught. Once you’ve done that, you should be ready to get started with your child.
Beginning with Stage 1, you can teach your child very basic letter sounds. It’s important that your child already knows their alphabet and how to recognize letters. Upon recognition of letters, your child can begin to learn what sounds they make.
The Stage 1 printouts can be used like flashcards to help your child learn and challenge them to get better.
Stage 2 includes more complex letter sounds and letter combinations that should help them begin to blend common pairs of letters like ‘th,’ ‘sh,’ ‘ee,’ and more.
You can also use the supplemental materials, like games, to make the learning more fun and engage your child in the process.
When I didn’t receive the materials after a few days, which I think was just a communication error, I reached out to their support email. I didn’t receive a response for over 24 hours, and I was beginning to worry that I may have just lost my trial money.
However, I did get a response just when I had almost given up hope, and it contained a link to my trial materials. The link took me to a 404 error, which was a tad concerning, so I reached back out expecting to have to wait a few more days for another response.
Luckily, this time, he responded right away with a new link that did work. I got the feeling that this was a small operation and so the longer response times are to be expected, especially when we don’t share the same time zone.
Support was very nice, cordial, and professional, so I didn’t have a problem with the quality at all.
If you do choose to cancel your trial before you’re billed the full amount for more complete materials, you have to reach out to the support email again. There’s no online cancelation on the website.
Given that this is a program created by an individual, the website isn’t as professional as other companies, nor does it offer the same benefits as other programs that can afford to maintain their site more efficiently.
I will say that there are numerous features and benefits to Children Learning Reading, despite some of the downfalls.
There is no lack of materials here to get your child reading. In fact, there are many more materials than a lot of other programs. While they’re not contained in an app that’s easy to access, you can download them to your computer and use them offline whenever you want.
The other benefit to these comprehensive materials is that they contain everything you’ll need to get a running start. With over 60 lessons, flashcards, games, printables, and more, your child will be reading in no time.
With this program, you’ll be involved in what your child is learning. You can take lessons slowly if they seem to be struggling with a particular letter, or you can breeze through things that they pick up quickly.
By monitoring their progress, you’ll know exactly what you need to work on next and you can guide and encourage them along the way. This is an excellent program for parents who want to be a part of the entire learning process.
It’s a really great way for you to spend quality time together.
While the trial is significantly more than a program like Hooked on Phonics, you get a ton of materials with it, and it’s still an affordable way to try it out. If you like it and you want to pay the one-time fee for all subsequent materials, you can.
Otherwise, cancel and you’ll still get to keep the materials you downloaded from the first link provided.
It’s easy to sign up for the trial, but because there are so many materials, you’ll want to make sure you have a convenient place to download them with enough room on your computer.
The trial is 14 days long, so if you do decide to cancel, you’ll want to reach out to them within the first 14 days or you’ll automatically be charged the rest of the fee.
Because this isn’t an app, it’s always available to you offline whenever you need it. For some, this may not be what they’re looking for, but it is nice to know that even in the car or without an internet connection, your child can still learn.
It’s a great way to engage your child anytime, anywhere, especially if you print off the games and activities before you go.
Learning at a young age
The program was designed by a husband and wife to get their children reading very early. In fact, all of their children were reading before the age of three! While the program will work for any age, it’s specifically tailored to the learning styles of a very young child.
If you’re looking for a way to get your children reading, especially at a young age, this is the perfect program for them. It limits screen time, because there’s no app, and it involves a lot of parent interaction and encouragement, which is how young children thrive.
If you’re evaluating reading programs for your child, you may want to consider some of the other options before making a decision. Here are some worthy alternatives to Children Learning Reading.
Hooked on Phonics has been around for decades. It began as a CDROM but has graduated to a mobile app with a sprinkling of hard materials. It’s one of the most well-known reading programs for kids.
It also uses phonics to help your child learn to read through a variety of games and activities. There’s a $1 trial and an affordable monthly fee. You can install it on up to three devices, and they send a beginner’s packet with a few books, some stickers, and a progress chart.
This is a great solution for busy parents or those on the go because you can do it anywhere, both on and offline. If Children Learning Reading is too interactive for you and you’d rather give your child more independence with their learning, Hooked on Phonics is an awesome choice. If you’re interested, check out our comprehensive Hooked on Phonics review.
- Cheap trial
- Mobile app on up to three device
- Offline syncing available
- Welcome packet with books and activities
ABC Mouse is an app-based program that also offers much more than reading. There is an online classroom and access portals for parents and teachers. You won’t receive any hard materials with your subscription, but you can put it on as many devices as you need.
There’s a 30 day trial and an affordable monthly fee for everything you need. In addition to reading, there’s math, science, social studies, language arts, and art. The curriculum is developed by education professionals so you know you’re giving your child what they need at home.
It doesn’t focus intensely on reading because it offers a variety of subjects, but it’s a great solution for children from preschool through kindergarten and offers a full curriculum for those ages. If you’re interested, here is our comprehensive ABC Mouse review.
- Free trial
- Low monthly fee
- Online classroom with multiple subjects
This education program is for kids in grades kindergarten through third. There is a yearly subscription cost associated with membership, but they offer products for parents, teachers, classrooms, and schools.
There’s no free trial to get you started, but it is affordable, so if you pay for the first year and don’t like it, you don’t have to renew. In addition to their reading tools, they also offer other subjects, making it a good option for homeschooling, or any classroom setting that needs supplemental curriculum.
You can use it online, on a phone, or on a tablet, so you can take it with you anywhere you have an internet connection. You can also purchase additional supplies from the online shop to use offline.
- Home, teacher, classroom, and school subscription options
- Supplemental supplies available for purchase
- Yearly membership
- Multiple subjects
Children Learning Reading is a great option for parents who want to be involved in their child’s reading journey. It comes with a comprehensive set of materials to help your child learn to read.
It’s geared toward very young children and could have your child reading by age three. If you have the time and the dedication for it, more than 60 short lessons will guide your child through letter sounds and phonics to help them learn to read the most effective way.
The trial and the one time fee are worth every penny if you need something that you can do with your child rather than a more independent, self-guided solution. It’s interactive and a great way to spend time together.