After being part of the problem (and not just the problem I’m discussing here) for most of my life, I think I may have taken a step in the right direction towards redemption. Of course, without The Missus I’d still be inciting bedlam at every turn. But she’s got a lot more heart and a lot more smarts than I have, and I’m just riding her coattails with this one.
We’ve launched Reading Coach Online. It’s a FREE educational resource for parents who want to teach their young children to read or help their older children become better readers. The idea is to provide research based information on how children learn to read along with lesson ideas and activities for all ages that address all aspects of reading (phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension). Strong reading skills make learning every other subject, even math, much easier. The ultimate goal is to help parents give their children the foundations to become lifelong learners.
Did I mention it’s 100% free? I did say that it is free, right?
As a reader of this blog, I’m sure you are thinking what every other reader is thinking–this guy seems barely literate himself, what does he know about teaching kids to read? A good question, and I have an excellent answer–not much. However, I’m lucky enough to share a home and child (along with half of everything else that used to be “mine”) with a reading expert. We’re both kind of nerdy, and we talk about reading and learning quite a bit. She has not only an amazing knowledge base on the subject, but has the unbelievable ability to explain things in a way that even a dolt like me can easily understand. She has experience not only as a classroom teacher, but also as an elementary reading specialist and an educational consultant for one of the large curriculum publishers.
In a former life, she was paid to travel to school systems to train and evaluate teachers on effective reading instruction. School systems pay a lot of money for this training, but we thought the same information should be readily available for parents on the web. The research is available (if you are into reading that stuff), there are some resources out there for use in the classroom, and of course there are expensive curricula available for home schoolers. What has been missing is an easy to digest source of information that can be used by parents at home for free.
We’ve been kicking this idea around for about a year now, and a couple of months ago I freed up a large chunk of my schedule, giving me more time to bond with the kid and her more time to research and write–a doubly good situation. We had plenty of ideas of things to do with the site (feel free to forward your suggestions), and plan on adding more and more features as we go. Currently there is a strong base of articles that explain the basics of reading instruction along with a series of lesson ideas (one will be added daily) that can be read and implemented by parents quickly and with very few materials.
I know this sounds like it would cost money, but it’s free. Really. We’re even footing the bill for shipping and handling.
I’m really proud of the work we’ve done with Reading Coach so far, and I think it will be a valuable resource for parents/grandparents and even teachers. Please take a couple of seconds to check it out, and feel free to drop us a note with your thoughts or comment on any of the articles or lesson ideas you find interesting or helpful. And if you find spelling or grammar errors, please be gentle. We’re constantly proofreading and finding stuff!