June 27, 2008

Question 4: What to do after 100 easy Lessons

Ari-free asks:

1) My sister is teaching her 4 year old daughter with "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" What should be the next step for her?

For most students, the next step is Reading Mastery III which you can find on EBay. Another option is Horizons 3/4 (the other Direct Instruction curriculum) which squeezes two years on instruction into one year. This is also available on EBay but more difficult to find.

2) What does Singapore Math (the new CA standards version) look like from the perspective of Direct Instruction?

I'd say that SM is a good coherent curriculum that requires a fair amount of teacher skill to teach. Lacking such skill, a good alternative is to use the DI math curriculum Connecting Math Concepts as the primary curriculum and supplement it with SM (and Saxon for the die-hard).


jh said...

I also believe Michael Maloney's products are quite good, and go through elementary school. They are also reasonably priced, and he provides support.

They are called "Teach your child well". Try Googling that phrase and you should find them. They are out of Canada, so you'll get ".ca" instead of ".com" at the end of the web address.

Anonymous said...

I’d recommend a good synthetic phonics program. Jolly Phonics, Debbie Hepplewhite’s Phonics International or Diane McGuinness’s new program. Core Knowledge also looks like it has a great program.




Diane McGuinness.Sound Steps to Reading. (Parents, Classroom teachers) to be Published in Autumn 2008 Trafford Publishing



jh said...


I recommended Maloney's products because they are based on DI (with some precision teaching and behavioral help), and because I've used Funnix and Maloney's products.

Anonymous said...

I tried to find Reading Mastery 3 but I could only find textbooks and workbooks. I don't think they can be used effectively without the teacher's guide.


palisadesk said...

You need to know that the "teachers guide" to RM 3 (there is such a book for each level) is not the one that is essential -- it is the teacher presentation books that you need. For Reading Mastery 3 (or III) there are two, A and B, to make them manageable in size. These items come up on Ebay but not very often.

Funnix 2 makes a good follow-up to 100 Easy, and Horizons might do so. I think Ken is referring to Horizons Fast Track C/D (not 3-4), but I would be wary of that with a young child or one who was anything other than a quick and proficient learner. Fast Track accelerates the teaching to condense two years into one; at the end of Fast Track C/D the student (properly placed and meeting mastery targets) reads at a beginning fourth grade level or better. It's a good choice for fast learners, older kids who need to catch up and who respond to good instruction, etc.

If it is an average or young kid who has just finished 100 Easy, the regular (not Fast Track) version, Horizons C, would be more appropriate. It takes a child to a proficient end of second grade level.

With reference to the synthetic phonics programs -- JP and others are excellent, but by the end of 100 Easy the child is beyond the level covered by these. Michael Maloney's "Teach Your Children To Read Well" is very parent-friendly. The first level moves rather quickly. You would likely need the author's help adapting it to the needs of a child who had difficulty meeting the mastery and fluency targets. The site is here: Maloney site The incorporation of fluency targets and behavior management strategies from the beginning is very helpful. The early stories lack the wit and whimsey of the DI materials, but by the third grade level many of the reading selections in Maloney's books are of high interest.

You may have more luck getting RM III in the Ebay stores or on some of the second-hand book sites. You need the Teacher Presentation books (A and B -- cover about 140 lessons), student workbooks A and B, teachers guide (placement info and other needed stuff), testing manual, and two student readers, A and B. Horizons is rarely for sale there (I see it about once a year).

KDeRosa said...

Yes, I was referring to Horizons Fast Track C/D. Sorry.

You can often find all the materials you need for a particular level of Reading Mastery being sold as a set on Ebay. Right now I see entire sets being offered for RMI, RMII, RMV, RMVI. The rainbow edition is the best bang for the buck and sets usually sell for under $200. But be aware that Rainbow edition is at least fifteen years old and there are time line exercises in RMIII that may be confusing (the year 2000 was supposed to be in the future when the series was written)

Mr. McNamar said...

KD--I bought my wife, an elementary school teacher in a low performing school, a copy of "100 Easy Lessons." She's falling in love with it, and she is planning on incorporating it into her curriculum.
If it goes well, we'll use it with our daughter, who just turned two.

KDeRosa said...

If she likes it, she might want to consider picking up Reading Mastery Fast Cycle which is the actual classroom curriculum that 100 Easy Lessons is based on. Or maybe Horizons which is a slightly different version. I'm not sure sure which one is preferred by teachers, maybe a real teacher like PalisadesK who is familiar with both with chime in. The cd program Funnix is based on the Horizons system.

Robert said...

For a math books targeted at kids that are interested in math consider the Art of Problem Solving series. They start at the junior high level and are targeted at the kids who do math competitions. They cover serious math that is outside the normal track (like number theory) as well as conventional topics like algebra.

Anonymous said...

Phonics are important but I want the whole dalmation, not just the spots. What really hooked me to "100 Easy Lessons" was the way it asked reading comprehension questions as soon as the student is able to read a 3 word sentence.

This is reading mastery 3?

This comes right after "100 easy lessons"? It looks pretty advanced and the demo for funnix 2 doesn't seem to give any indication that it offers this level of content.


palisadesk said...

Re: RM III: The selection Ken posted is from the middle of the program. Assuming you started in September, students would get to this part around January. There is a lot of material covered before the student reaches that point. However, the skill level of RM III is middle first grade to early second grade. A lot of sophisticated language skills, reasoning and comprehension are taught, so the focus moves away from decoding as the emphasis on automaticity and more complex thinking and text comprehension skills increases. I believe individual checkouts are used to ensure children are meeting accuracy and fluency targets as well (I would have to double check. These lesson specifics vary from level to level and also between editions of the same program).

Anyway, you can rest assured that there is not a significant increase in difficulty between the end of 100 Easy and the beginning of RM III. If anything, the actual text difficulty is a little lower to start with , but advanced reasoning skills are introduced right away, beginning with deductions, use of quantifiers all, some, none, etc. The rainbow edition has some pre-lessons (labeled A,B,C,D -- before you get to lesson 1) that familiarize students with the format, begin to teach the new skills, etc.

Many texts in RM III are non-fiction, with a science or social studies component, and even those that are narrative (like the example story of Linda and Kathy on the island, or earlier on, Jokey the Beagle ) have sections where facts are taught and must be remembered and applied in a variety of contexts.

Re: Reading Mastery Fast Cycle: For a low-performing school, this will give you the most bang for your buck (you need materials for each student, however, so buying only the TP books etc. will not set you up for teaching a group. Student readers are fairly easy to get second-hand, and I reuse workbooks for about 5-10 years by having the students use plastic overlays and not write in the books). You will find many students in first-fourth grades who need to start with FC (older students may test at that level, but Corrective Reading is a better way to go with them). You can move very quickly with some students with FC, but it is designed for kids Engelmann termed "naive learners" -- that is, kids who do not know ANYTHING. It assumes nothing, not that kids know what a sound, a letter, a word, a mark on the page, is -- not anything at all. Everything is taught.

I was in a nice K-8 school, working class not poor, when the retiring principal called me in and asked what he could buy that was beyond our usual purchasing power but would make a huge difference for kids. Without hesitation, I said "Reading Mastery Fast Cycle." Buying just the teacher materials and enough for 10 students cost about $3 000 (and this was some years ago -- it is a lot more now). He asked for more info and told me he was leaving not a penny in the bank for his successor to spend on foolishness. I got my FC, and taught about 300 kids to read with it -- some learned slowly but every single one mastered the material covered.

In my next school, drowning in illiterate kids, I had nothing to work with. My great knowledge and teaching skills (!) were of limited value with no appropriate curricular materials. Within a couple of years I found Ebay and the wonderful world of recycled DI. Now I am all set for any kid in any grade.

Horizons is different. It is less suited to a high-needs school, although it will work well for some kids in those schools. It is more geared for children who learn quickly, have a good language base, already know letter names and possibly even letter sounds, understand basics about print and language, etc. There is more written work in Horizons. I have used both and compared results. The majority of kids in Gr. 1-3 in a high-needs school made more solid gains with RM/FC than with Horizons, but a group of highly motivated kids in Gr 2 and again in Gr. 3 closed the gap or better with their peers, one becoming the top student in Gr 3, then 4, then 5, by using Horizons as a follow-up to Headsprout Early Reading (covers similar skills and content to Funnix 1 or 100 Easy). I have also used Horizons with students in Gr 4-6 who need instruction at that level. It looks more age-appropriate than FC and incorporates lots of science and social studies skills, including maps, time lines, ancient civilizations, etc.

Star Fitzgerald said...

Is Headsprout based on DI?

palisadesk said...

Not "based on" DI, no.

The developers of Headsprout had extensive DI experience at both the classroom and system level so it is probably fair to say they were influenced by DI. The approach owes more to applied behavior analysis and to the research on generativity and contingency adduction than to DI, per se. It's a sophisticated instructional design but very effective. While I regularly see students make 2-3 years measurable progress in reading over a school year with DI (Reading Mastery, primarily, but also Corrective Reading), I have seen one student progress 4 years in 10 weeks with Headsprout, and most students progress 2 years or more in the 4-6 months it takes them to complete the program. It is suitable for young children, K-3. Parents can buy it to use at home and there is plenty of support available. If you go the website there are links to articles about the research and instructional design.

It is sui generis and not really like anything else on the market. We had excellent results. Unfortunately, results don't matter so we could not get funding to continue. Always have to have some "new" project, not an "old" one that works!

jh said...


thank you for all your help! what a terrific resource (by the way, because of your series on managing a classroom, I ordered "Don't Shoot the Dog" and it has changed my entire understanding of behavior. I can't remember if you recommended it or KDeRosa did.)

I have a 6-year old that I'm tutoring in math. I would like him to gain a solid foundation in math skills. Do you (or anyone else on this blog) know of any math software that is as effective as DI or perhaps even Headsprout?

thank you.