Disclosure: I received this product free through the Homeschool Review Crew
I love reading and I have really tried to instill a love of reading to my kids. Both of my daughters love to read, but when it comes to my son, reading has been his biggest nemesis. We have tried other programs that have helped with his reading but they stop short beyond just teaching phonics, which means that while it helped with simple words, once he moved on to bigger, more complicated words, he continued to struggle.
Recently we were given the opportunity to review Failure Free Reading Home Edition, a browser based reading program from Failure Free Reading Home Edition. I was curious to try this program to see how it would work compared to other programs and see how it might fill the holes in Garrett's reading skill level.
About Failure Free Reading
Failure Free Reading builds off the belief that when it comes to struggling readers, we often underestimate the level of their ability as well as using the same instructional approach to reading. Instead of using the same approach, Failure Free Reading believes by changing the approach and the child's reading abilities will improve, regardless of age, or reading ability.
Failure Free Reading is a nationally recognized reading comprehension program for struggling readings, especially those in which a phonics based program has failed to produce adequate results as well as for students who can read aloud but display little to no comprehension to the information they have read.
The program is designed to be both parent
and child friendly. Parents are given two instructional online options:
(1.) child initiated, self-paced, multi-sensory talking software
lessons, complete with video instruction, or (2.) adding a scripted
parent-led guided-reading instructional component that precedes the
child's online software instruction.
Failure Free Reading is 100% digital and also includes downloadable reinforcement activities. Failure Free Reading's daily lessons and thousands of reinforcement activities teach mastery of the critical academic vocabulary deemed necessary for reading success, from beginning 1st grade up to SAT/ACT. A diagnostic assessment helps to identify the child's current academic reading grade level and places the child in the instruction that corresponds to this level.
Our Experience with Failure Free Reading Home Edition
We were given a 6 month membership to the Failure Free Reading Home Edition, which I have been using with Garrett for the last few weeks.
Straight out of the gate, I wasn't sure if this was going to be a fit for us. To get started, we had to take a pretty lengthy assessment test, which Garrett got pretty frustrated with quickly. This assessment took him about 40 minutes to complete, and unfortunately, it wasn't set up so that he could stop, take a break and come back and pick up where he left off. Stopping meant he would have to start over again, so we stuck it out.
I'm glad that we did.
I did not help Garrett with the assessment. I was actually VERY surprised at how much he was able to do on his own, considering this is the kid who usually stalls out while reading simple words such as "our". However, he did a really good job at reading the sentences and completing the assessment, reading words much more difficult then I was expecting. I quickly realized that yes, indeed, I underestimated his skill level and had somewhat crippled his reading in that I was often helping him with more difficult words that I just figured he wouldn't be able to read.
Once the assessment was completed, we began using the lessons. Each day, he would complete one of the lessons online, and then I would turn to the teacher's guide provided by the program. The guide provided scripted lessons for me to use to instruct further on what Garrett worked on with the lesson. Following the scripted lesson, he would then complete worksheets that reiterated what he learned for the lesson. With both the online lessons as well as the scripted lesson and the worksheets, we usually spent about 20 minutes on each lesson.
The online lessons are extremely short and followed a similar format. First he was introduced to the words the was going to work with for that unit. Each unit would introduce five new words. Students learn how to spell the word, the definition of the word, and how to use the words correctly in sentences.
They also would answer questions about the words that work on understanding as well as reading sentences and then having to answer a question (using complete sentences) about what they read. Each of these lessons take maybe 5 minutes to complete. Each unit has 5 lessons that word with the 5 words that are the focus of that unit.
After completing the lesson, we would then continue the lesson away from the computer. This is when I would open the teachers manual and begin the scripted lesson. We were doing this reverse to what the program wanted (using the teachers lessons first and then using the online) but we found this worked better for us because Garrett would zone out on me if I read the scripted lesson first, but would pay better attention to both portions of the lesson if we did the computer work first.
The final aspect of the program is when the student has finished all the units and lessons for a cluster of words. I mentioned that each unit covers 5 words, and the cluster covers 6 units. At the end of the cluster, the student should be able to recognize 30 new words. After completing the exercises and lessons for the cluster, there is a reader available online that uses all the words. The student should be able to read and understand the reader upon completion of the cluster.
My overall opinion of the program is positive. I am curious to see once he completes the first cluster what type of words the next cluster will contain because most of the words for this particular cluster relate to war and destruction, but it appears that's what the reader is about. It's covered material about weapons of destruction, dictators of other countries starting wars, and stuff like that. I'm just curious if the next cluster and reading will be of a more lighthearted material, not that I am opposed to the material currently presented.
I have found he had learned and is able to recognize the words that has been presented and has been able to properly use them correctly both on the worksheets as well as answering the scripted questions from the teacher's manual.
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