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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rime to Read Review

We've all heard of rhymes...but what are rimes? In a rime scheme, not only do the word endings sound the same, but they look the same (like cat, rat, sat...). RimetoRead is a series of 20 interactive books co-written by Sara Hines, Ph.D and Lynn Klaiman, M.Ed and designed to help beginning readers get a handle on short vowel sounds through rimes. The books are cumulative beginning with the first book, Pat, which can be viewed for free on the website. You can purchase a vowel set (4 books) for $9.99 or the complete set for $44.99. Once you have purchased a book, you have unlimited internet access to it and you can also download and print a hard copy.

The series also incorporates many sight words. Rime words are distinguished from sight words through the use of color coding (words that appear in the same color have the same rime and sight words are black). But why rimes? Many children initially have difficulty distinguishing the separate sounds of words (segmenting), particularly the end sounds. They also have difficulty distinguishing different, yet similar sounding phonemes. With rimes, there is no guessing of phonemes. Once a child sees that the word has the same rime ending, they are left only to decode the beginning sound, and it is much easier to hear and distinguish the beginning sound. A reader who has struggled with a traditional phonics program can easily gain confidence with these successes.

Why books on the computer? A unique feature of the RimetoRead books is the reader can click on any color-coded word and and the computer will read that word (sight words will not be read by the computer). Click the page corner and the page will turn, just like a regular book. Then, print out the book to take it with you for more practice. The interactive format is simple and allows the child some independence. While I would recommend that you use this program with your child, after you've read a book together once or twice, you can feel confident that she can handle it on her own. Again, a bridge to success and confidence.

Our Mary absolutely adores books of all kinds...there simply are not enough hours in a day for me to read to her all the books she wants me to read. Phonics is difficult for her. We continue with phonics instruction, but the confidence and joy she experienced just reading the first book in this series was a encouraged her to keep trying. She finally "got" it. And she wasn't just guessing at the words---this is one of her stumbling blocks, she's very bright and good at anticipating what will happen next, so rather than trying to sound out and read a word, she'll guess at it. With the RimeToRead books, she was able to make the rime connections and sound out the words. Another plus: the illustrations are very simple line drawings, so Mary wasn't distracted by colorful images and the books won't use up all your colored ink if you print them out.

These books are a great confidence builder for a struggling reader. I would not say, however, that they are a complete program by any means. When your child has finished the program, she will know the short vowel sounds, words within the given rime schemes, and about 30-40 sight words. At best this is a supplemental program to your main reading program. And $44.99 for a supplement would make it unaffordable for many families.

To try the first book, Pat, for free, go to RimetoRead.

To read reviews of this program by other homeschoolers,
click the link below.

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