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Monday, May 20, 2013

Scaredy Cat Reading System Level 1, a review

Joyce Herzog Logo

Joyce Herzog provides educational products designed to help kiddos learn the way they learn best.  I recently had the opportunity to review the Scaredy Cat Reading System level 1 with 4-year-old Emma.


Level 1 of the Scaredy Cat Reading System was created with pre-readers in mind.  It can be used with kiddos as young as 3, but most kids will be ready for it by age 4-5. 

By the time they complete level 1, kids will know the letter names, recognize individual letters (both capital and lower case),  differentiate between consonants and vowels, and know the consonant sounds.  The program aims at 100% mastery before moving on.

Scaredy Cat Reading System level 1 Review

Level 1 sells for $75 and includes:

  • Teacher’s Manual
  • Song CD
  • Activity Book
  • Reader (both a Christian and a secular version are available)
  • Letter Master Comic book/coloring book
  • Fun Pack, which includes letter cards, a magnetic sheet of letters, BINGO cards, a letter spinner, and more.

Additional Activity Books sell for $30 each.  The other materials are non-consumable.

I’ve been using Scaredy Cat with 4-year-old Emma. 

001Before starting this program, Emma recognized a few capital letters and liked to sing the alphabet…but she had a bad case of the “mello-memo-pees” (that’s exactly how she sang the middle of it).  L-m-n-o-p was just a muddled mystery.

Level 1 is divided into 3 separate steps:

  1. Learning the alphabet
  2. Recognizing individual letters (both upper and lower case), regardless of font or style
  3. Matching sounds to the letters

We are currently working on step 2.  The teacher’s manual does state that some children will be able to do steps 2 & 3 simultaneously, but Emma is doing well with one step at a time and we’re in no hurry.

She now sings the alphabet correctly, enunciating each individual letter,  recognizes about half the capital letters, and several of their respective lower case letters.  We use Scaredy Cat about 15-30 minutes a day (sometimes longer because she’s in love with it), about 3-4 days a week.

What do we do?

We sing songs, play games, match letter cards, spin spinners, build letters from shapes, read about the Letter Master and how he gave all the letters their sounds…we have fun!



071Matching Letters

035Matching Lower Case to Upper Case w/Butterfly Cards I Made

It’s easy to see why Emma always wants to do a little more.  I like that the emphasis is on doing activities and playing games, great for little people!  While we like the activity book, it almost seems like an afterthought and we often forget to get it out.

Emma even loves the little Scaredy Cat graphic on the front of the book.


The name “Scaredy Cat” comes from the way the letter sounds are taught.  When the vowels are “brave,” they say their names, but when they are “scared,” they make their other sounds. 

Part of what really attracted me to this system was the logic used for teaching the phonemes.  I’ve taught 2 kids to read and one thing that most reading systems seem to have in common is starting out by teaching the hardest part to master…the vowels sounds!  A is a real drag!  It’s hard to get any traction when you get stuck on your first letter card.

In contrast, Scaredy Cat teaches the easiest to master consonant sounds first, the letters whose names start with their sound…like “B.”  How brilliant is that?  I’m really looking forward to when we get to that part of the level.  There’s no rush, though, we’re just taking it one step at a time.

Thank you, Joyce Herzog, for developing the Scaredy Cat Reading System.  I highly recommend level 1 for those little ones just showing an interest in learning to read.

Also available from Joyce Herzog, Scaredy Cat Level 2, Level 3, and Express (for older students).

Schoolhouse Crew Banner- click for more Crew reviews of this product
graphic disclosing that I received this product for review purposes

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