Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (Review & PDF Freebie)

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (2020 Review & PDF Freebie)

I'm excited to dive into this book, because I know that many of you have questions as you decide whether or not "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" is the right way to begin teaching your child to read. 

Below this paragraph, I'll leave a Table of Contents so you can quickly find what you are looking for to know if "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" is for your family.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. You can learn more about that here.

A summary of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons: 

100 Easy Lessons is a workbook that parents can use to teach their children to read in lessons about 20 to 30 minutes a day. This can be accomplished in just over three months (100 days/lessons) if one lesson per day is adhered to.

The book, written by Siegfried Engelmann, is based upon the DISTAR method of reading instruction, which I'll explain in further detail below. In general though, what you most need to know is that the DISTAR method employed in the book does fall in line with the currently coined "Science of Reading" philosophy, which favors a phonics-rich, high phonemic awareness strategy. This is a good thing!

how to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons

I'll start with a background of the book, the author, and the philosophy behind 100 Easy Lessons. 

The Author of "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" - Siegfried Engelmann

Siegfried Engelmann (November 26, 1931 – February 15, 2019) was a collegiate scholar (Professor Emeritus of Education at the University of Oregon and Director of the National Institute for Direct Instruction), particularly focused in the areas of how children learn, and in the creation of methods to help children grow in development, particularly in the preschool years. 

In addition to developing over 100 curricular programs, he wrote 19 books, plus scholarly articles and other reports, including a book called The Theory of Instruction, which summarizes the DISTAR method upon which 100 Easy Lessons was written in view of.

By the time of his death in February of 2019, Engelmann had received many awards and recognitions for his work in behavior and psychology, and for the contributions he had made in the areas of education and child development.

Another interesting tidbit: President George W. Bush was reading "The Pet Goat" to a group of children in a Florida elementary school (a published work of Siegfried Engelmann's) when he was told of the terror attacks on 9/11.

The DISTAR method of reading instruction

The DISTAR method of reading (Direct Instruction System for Teaching and Remediation) is very specific to providing teachers with the exact language to use when teaching children to read, by decoding first and following with comprehension.

You'll see this displayed in every lesson of the book. The words that the parent/ teacher are meant to instruct with are clearly written out in red. These instructions are researched, very deliberate wordings, even giving parents instruction on the words to use when correcting, how many times a child should practice a word, and more.

These teaching controls are well-researched for best results in preschool age children, and are based heavily on a scientific way of approaching reading instruction phonetically in the beginning.

It may seem laborious at first, but it is great for laying a strong foundation of reading that will prevent your child from having to "guess" at text based on "clues". Instead, your child will actually be reading, not guessing.

DISTAR Pronunciation Guide

In the book, you'll find a pronunciation guide that you'll need to familiarize yourself with (pic below). The book teaches with sounds at first, so that the child will develop a strong phonemic awareness of letters and words. Here's a quick glance of the chart:

DISTAR pronunciation guide

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons Reviews

The reviews for this reading program are far and away more positive than not. That being said, it isn't the program for everyone. I'll list for you below a rundown of the general reviews by website.

And yes, I read every. single. one. I want to give you a really good idea of what you are purchasing, and whether or not it will be the best for your family.

Amazon Reviews

At the time that I am writing this full report on the book, there are 3,236 reviews on Amazon with an average star rating of 4.5 out of 5. Not too shabby. I read these reviews and will pull in the hightlights for you below.

Reviews from Goodreads

2,233 folks from Goodreads rated this reading program a 4.16 out of 5 stars. I included a summary of the reviews I read here (there were 280 at the time of my research) along with those from Amazon below.

PROS according to the positive reviews:

  • Highlights call the book "brilliant", "from zero to hero", and "it works".
  • More parents say that althought there were "tough spots" to get through in the book, it was well worth the effort in the end.
  • Although it's not highlighted in the book summaries, the book teaches writing alongside the reading lessons. You could choose to omit these if you are using a different writing curriculum.
  • This book is mentioned MANY times as a great option for struggling readers. Too many schools are teaching kids to "read" by memorizing sight words only, instead of learning to decode words. This book will make sure your child is learning the SOUNDS needed for a child to read proficiently. Lots of struggling readers missed this step, or at least missed mastering it. So it may help your struggler.
  • No prep for parents. Big win there!

CONS according to the negative reviews:

  • The word "boring" is found a lot in these reviews, or tedious.
  • Several reviews mention editorial errors throughout the book.
  • Lots of repetition.
  • Lots of patience needed to get through.
  • "Works but not easy."
  • Difficult and overwhelming
  • The book uses a different orthography (letter symbols) than parents may be used to. (This way of writing is very specific to scientific research, to note and for the most part seemed to be more difficult for the parents than the students.)

How to Teach Your Kid to Read in 100 Easy Lessons - Is it right for YOUR child?

Well, the nice thing about the book is that it's under $20 for an entire reading program, so you aren't out a lot of money if you find it's NOT for you.

It is to be noted that a lot of the children (and possibly parents) who struggled with this method learn very kinesthetically (with movement and action). If you have this type of learner, you could still try it, but you may want to take lots of breaks, and get super creative in ways to make each lesson more interactive somehow. 

According to the book: "This program is not recommended for "poor readers" who have been taught how to read but make frequent mistakes." So keep this in mind. However, LOTS of parents of struggling readers have found this book to be a gem. You may have to find out by trying.

If your child has an undiagnosed learning disability, the book will be difficult if you haven't addressed it yet. However, struggling readers are even more in need of a good phonetic/ phonics background, so it still may be a good resource.

How can I teach my child to read in 100 days?

After reading through the parent introduction and familiarizing yourself with the instruction of this book, you'll start Lesson 1.

The book focuses in the beginning on sounds, to give your child a strong phonemic base. You'll see pictures that look like this, where you teach your child to put his finger on the starting point and slide across to make the sounds:

Here's what Lesson 1 looks like. You can see that each lesson is broken down into several "tasks", and that some letters are in red, and some are in black. 

You, the parent are meant to read word for word those in red, and have your child follow instructions.

Best advice on how to use the book with your child:

  • Read the parent guide closely at the beginning of the book, as your success will depend upon it. 
  • Take your time doing the lessons depending on the child - possibly 3 or 4 lessons a week, depending on the excitement/ readiness level of your reader. And, if there is too much frustration, put the book down and possibly revisit in a couple of weeks. 
  • Be creative with the lessons and see what works to take the "boredom" out of the lessons. 
  • Find creative and fun ways to teach the letters of the alphabet in addition to the first lessons (games, apps, hands-on) - Learning letters as opposed to sounds of letters (and capital letters) are learned in the later lessons of the book. Some children find it too abrupt, so you may want to integrate in other ways & activities earlier in the book.

  • Create an incentive chart to spur on your child to do the lessons - have a gift or something fun to do when they reach a certain number of lessons. 
  • Be sure you are reading aloud to your child often, or every day. 
  • Be flexible yet persistent.

How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons pdf

I looked online to see if I could find the book as a pdf to purchase for print, or possibly as a Kindle book, and had no luck. Please comment below if you find a way to purchase the book this way!

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons Printables (Plus a FREEBIE!)

There are some really great printables on Pinterest to have alongside 100 Easy Lessons. And you can grab mine for free here as well!

I've created some printables that you can use to accompany your journey with 100 Easy Lessons.  You can grab them all HERE. (And here's a peek:)

What to do after Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

At the end of 100 Easy Lessons, you'll be presented with a reading list of books that you might want to follow up with.

I'd recommend diving deeper into a good Phonics program after completing 100 Easy Lessons. You could try Explode the Code, or Phonics Pathways at whatever level is appropriate to your child.

Later on depending on your child's age, you can start a good spelling curriculum. I'd definitely suggest All About Spelling. If you have a struggling speller, having that good phonics background is crucial

Mostly, and probably most importantly, I'd continue to build on that base you have created by reading, reading, and READING some more. Audiobooks are a great idea.

I wish you the best as you embark upong a great journey - teaching your child to read! It is an AMAZING feeling to watch that light come on in your child, whether at age 4, 6, or 8.

Let us know in the comment section below if you have any other experience you would like to share with this reading program.