First Reader Series
To Parents and Teachers:
This series of books is designed to teach children to read using the phonetic method. The goal of this method is to have children learn basic letter sounds and then “sound out” a word rather than simply memorizing the sound of an entire word. With the phonetic method, early readers will not be limited by the words that they have already seen. They will be able to sound out any new word that they encounter.
This book series has a few minor prerequisites. It assumes that the reader can identify the letters of the alphabet and is familiar with the basic sounds made by each letter. As an example, the basic sound made by the letter C is the hard-c sound (“KUH”, as in “cat”). In later books, the reader will be introduced to alternate letter sounds, such as the letter C’s soft-c sound (“SSS” as in “cent”).
Each chapter introduces a new phonetic sound. Review that sound with your child before beginning the chapter. Initially, only simple one-syllable words will be presented. Multi-syllabic words will be introduced in later books. After introducing the new sound, allow your child to read without your assistance for as much as possible, giving enthusiastic praise when a new word is sounded out. Allow plenty of time for your child to sound out a new word before giving gentle assistance to minimize frustration.
Illustrations are used to assist your child with word recognition. Each chapter ends with a list of new words that were introduced in the chapter. Review these words with your child to ensure that they can be read without the aid of an illustration. The goal of these books is to get children excited about reading, to instill in them a sense of pride and accomplishment, and to have them exclaim, “Look at me! I'm reading! All by myself !”
Common Sense Parenting
When we decided to have children, my wife and I were in total agreement on one key point: one of us should stay at home with the kids. Not all prospective parents reach this same conclusion, but both Marilynn and I believed that the constant presence of at least one parent was extremely important for the development of our children. Money being a factor, I volunteered to be “Mr. Mom” years before the movie by the same name hit the screen. My wife, showing the common sense that would guide many of our joint decisions, overruled me. Although she had the better paying job, she also had all of the skills necessary to turn our house into a home. She was a tremendous cook, skilled at sewing and had a host of other homemaking skills that I could only dream of acquiring. So she stayed at home and I fought the corporate fight. Years later, my wife rejoined the workforce, but only after our children were well out of their formative years.
There is no one correct way to raise a child. Every family situation is different and every child is different. You may actually end up using a slightly different parenting strategy on each one of your kids. One thing is for sure, though: you can’t become a model parent by simply reading a book and memorizing the correct answers. Parenting isn’t a written test. It’s a field test.
The purpose of this book, therefore, is to document the common sense parenting approach that my wife and I used to raise our kids. Throughout the book, I’ll make reference to a number of “rules”. These are not commandments etched in stone. They are simply the rules that we (unconsciously, in some cases) agreed to follow. They may not be your rules. They worked for us, but there is no guarantee or expectation that any of them will work for you.