You all know, or at least most of you know I have a four, almost five year old, daughter. Children that age are like sponges soaking up as much knowledge as they can. Honey is no different, she loves to learn. She loves it so much she is asking constantly how to spell things, how to write things, and she is desperate to read. Since she was young she has loved to be read too and she loves to “pretend” to read her books. She makes up cute stories to go with the pictures and reads to her stuffed animals.
When I was asked to review a new online reading program for children ages 3-7 I thought how perfect it would be for Honey. What a perfect reviewer she would be to test out this new product, and learn a little along the way. Stepping Stones Together is a valuable parent-child resource for beginning reading skills. One of the first things I noticed before I even began this program is a test you can give your child to see if they were reading. As a consumer my first thought was, what if I buy this program and my daughter is not willing to learn to read. You can take the test right here before you purchase. Honey took the test and I found she was definitely reading to begin.
We printed off the first book that she chose in the category fairies and began the stepping stone process. I admit I was a little skeptical at first because this is not a phonics program. I have only worked in the past with letter sounds and phonics when helping both my sons with reading. This program is based on the repetition of high frequency words. My daughter loved the program. I am not saying this for the purpose of this review I’m saying it because it is true. Each night she reminded me she needed to do her reading, each night she was excited that she could read a book and was able to pick out a new book that she would soon be able to read.
When I say she could read a book I do mean she memorized the book. Which is the beginning to learning how to read. The program taught her how to use the pictures to read the story. I noticed many of the high frequency words being repeated in each story. After two weeks she can read seven books in any order at any point in time. I point out that she is memorizing only to be honest that she was not recognizing the frequency words and reading them because she knew what they were but was remembering what she read with each book. However I feel this is a key concept in the beginning of learning. When we would move to the second book and I saw a word repeated from the first book. I would ask her what the word was. She usually did not know but I told her it was in the last book. She would go back to the last book and read through it and then point to the word and tell me what it was. So she understood the concept that each word on the page was to be read and that the explained the picture above. If I continue this program for a couple months I have no doubt that she would be reading the words instead of memorizing them. As mothers we all know that repetition is a key component with teaching children.
What I most loved about this program was my daughter’s enthusiasm. After each book she would color the pictures as is suggested, then she would read the book to her brothers, her father, and her grandmother. There are also some helpful tools for you to engage your child in the story so that they are thinking while they are reading as well as stretching their imagination beyond the story they have read. This incorporates reading comprehension in with simply reading. Something that both of my boys had trouble with when it came to reading via phonics alone.
Stepping Stones Together has many ways to help engage your child and keep them motivated, however since one of the extra entries for a the giveaway below involves this very thing I will let you do a little investigating to see just how.
The price of Stepping Stones Together is very affordable for any parent. As low as 19.99 for access for 90-Days to 39.99 for a year’s membership. There are several categories per reading level so that each child will be able to chose something that interests them. Categories ranging from princesses and fairies, to sports and superheroes. Let me just say that I spent over $300 to purchase a program for my boys so the price of Stepping Stones Together is a bargain. In fact Stepping Stones Together is offering a discount for my readers through the end of September you will receive 1/2 a year’s membership if you use this code while checking out I want the deal.
I had all intentions of taking a photo of my daughter reading and even wanted to take a video but she flat out refused not a surprise there, trust me the photos you see of her smiling on my blog are not easily obtained. So instead you will have to settle for a wordy review with limited photos, ok no photos.
*1 Extra entry if you can tell me how Stepping Stones helps teach high frequency words
*1 Extra Entry (per method) if you follow Shibley Smiles publicly through Google Connect, become a fan on Facebook (please leave your facebook name), subscribe to me via email (please leave email you subscribed with), or follow Shibley Smiles on Network Blogs
Giveaway will end on September 30th at 11:59 pm EST. Please make sure your email address is public on your profile or leave in your comments so I can contact you should you win. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
Disclaimer: This is my own honest opinion. I was given a two week membership to Stepping Stones Together for the purpose of this review and receiving it in no way shaped my opinion regarding this product. A big thank you to Stepping Stones Together for providing a years membership to one of my awesome readers. You may read more disclosure details here.
If you have a product you would like me to review please contact me at colleen(at)shibleysmiles(dot)com.