Monday, August 9, 2010

Stepping Stones Together Review

We were recently given the opportunity to review a reading program created by Erika Burton, Ph.D, called Stepping Stones Together.  I was anxious to check this out, as reading has not come easily to my six year-old.  I had a tough time finding what worked for her last year as we schooled through Kindergarten and found that she was often frustrated with the books put in front of her.

This program is best described as:
A beginning reading program designed for parents to seamlessly help their child learn to read using high interest motivational themes in each little book, infused with daily writing, reading comprehension, and games to connect reading skills to a child’s experiences and interests.

Stepping Stones Together focuses on themes that children are interested in (animals, sports, fairies, transportation, etc) and uses a method that teaches the child to recognize high-frequency words and nouns, which are found to make up between 58-75% of all words in children’s books.  When a child is learning these words in a context that he/she enjoys, the learning happens faster and is easier for everyone involved!

This program allows you to choose the topic that interests your child, and you print the books (8-9 pages) in black and white from your computer.  I like that they can be saved in .pdf format and printed multiple times if necessary.  There are flash cards, comprehension questions, and writing prompts as well.  It is expected that you spend more than a few days on one book, allowing your child to become familiar with the pictures and high-frequency words before reading through.  Your reading time should be no more than 15-20 minutes each day.

Natalie loves cats and fairies so she chose to read about a cat who was pictured with a princess.  I allowed her to spend time coloring the pictures before we discussed anything, and I was surprised that she was able to read almost all of the book the first time through!  We have pulled aside a few of the flash cards to practice a few more times before reading again, but for the most part she got it!  It made me very happy to see the look of confidence on her face when she finished reading!  As soon as Dad walked in the door she was jumping up and down, ready to read to him.  

We are very pleased with the Stepping Stones Together reading program and will continue using the printables when we officially start our school year in a few weeks.  Below there is more information on the Stepping Stones Together Reading program, and be sure to check out the videos to see the program at work!

Stepping Stones Together will offer a very affordable ($19.99 for the 60 day program but access for 90 days) way for parents to get their child on their way to reading success. There is also a full year access to the program for $39.99.  Visit the website to preview one of the books, become a fan on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter!

Stepping Stones Together is a personalized beginning reading program consisting of:
  • A choice of 30 high interest themed stories from our beginning reading library, which is comprised of 3 difficulty levels.
  • Over 100 reading comprehension questions designed to build your child’s reading comprehension skills, along with thinking, reading fluency, speaking and writing abilities. (early reading benefits)
  • A daily writing program linked to your child’s daily reading to extend your child’s reading and writing abilities.
  • Extension games that encourage your child to use their newly acquired reading skills as well as explore the benefits and joys connected with being a reader.
  • A personalized behavior incentive chart for each series of stories to motivate your child to record their daily progress.
  • A personalized certificate acknowledging their achievement after completing a leveled series every 10 days. Each reading series is comprised of 5 stories at a given level read twice. E-alerts to keep you on target with the program, which are directly linked to your personalized profile.
  • Access to Blogs and Newsletters to provide you with current reading research tidbits and best practice tips to parents of new readers

Thank you to Stepping Stones Together for giving us the chance to review your product!  
Disclaimer:  This is a review for Mama Buzz.  All products were provided free of charge in exchange for this review.

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