Q. Why should I use this course instead of another reading course?
A. This method is the most successful method. There are other reading courses using the multi-sensory method, but no other course that I’m aware of that uses the Bible as extensively and directly for the beginner. Your child will be exposed to more Bible than with any other beginning course as far as we know. It has been proven to be successful in every case so far because the Holy Spirit graciously teaches your child as He has promised (Isa. 54:13). The approach is designed to work with your child’s natural developmental stage. Parents, who know and love their child are the ones best fitted to judge the child’s readiness. They ought to lead him gently along, without skipping any step. Each step leads to the next. Skipping essential knowledge will disadvantage your child. Doing everything in sequence based on logic will result in success. Pray for wisdom to give each student a balance. He can learn directly from the true sources of knowledge.
This method is the most direct, thorough, and streamlined of any multi-sensory program we know of. This lays the foundation for the broadest, most efficient approach for the development of a young child’s language skills. Secondly, this course is centered on the Word of God. We believe the child will be exposed unobtrusively to more Bible than with any other beginning reading course. And he will also receive a handwriting and spelling course in the process. Thirdly, this course is designed to work with your child’s natural development. The sequence of steps is logical, and you can progress from point to point without leaving unbridged gaps, or asking a child to perform tasks that they are not equipped for.
Q. At what age should I begin using this course with my child?
A. Ideally, youth who may aspire to teach beginning reading or who hope to become parents some day should to learn how to teach this method before they are married. Otherwise, at the conception of your first child would also be the appropriate stage to begin studying, so that you can absorb the principles and method, prepare yourself to teach, and find the burden of preparing when the child is a toddler very light. Once children are born, life allows little time to think without interruption. When a child is a toddler, there are several definite things to avoid, and several to cultivate in him. Follow these guidelines and he will be better prepared for the pre-school stage. When the child is 3-5 years of age, there are many exercises to gradually teach him, a little here, and a little there. These children are so fresh, bright, and eager to learn when the preparatory work is done well. When 5-7 years of age the course generally comes into full use, depending on the child’s health and development. Early on, you should give him special activities to develop fine motor control in his hands. Show him how to do things correctly, such as the correct way to hold pencil or chalk, how to sit, hold his paper, etc. As soon as he has sufficient fine motor control, start him in handwriting (Chapter 7). Then move promptly into the main lessons. In a few weeks or months of consistent, daily study-time, he will be reading. This time should generally be less than one hour per day. He needs the rest of the day to work, be active, and mentally digest what he has been taught.
If the student is older, he can be benefitted by course either as remedial work or start as a beginner, by gaining fundamental knowledge that was missed earlier in life. The teacher must understand these fundamentals and their sequence of presentation in order to teach effectively. The older student may take longer than younger students, because he may need to unlearn habits acquired while untaught or learned by defective methods. Illiterate adults or those learning English as a second language can study this course for any new skill or information that will round out their knowledge of the English fundamentals.
Q. Why does this course include three Readers? Isn’t the Bible the textbook?
A. The Readers serve several purposes. They give us a place for illustrative pictures to increase comprehension during this early phase where the student’s attention is mostly absorbed with decoding. The large print causes less strain for young eyes. Since the Bible passage is also being memorized, we must be assured that the child has not simply memorized and repeated the Bible passage. The story in the Reader has the words mixed and re-organized so that the child must know each word in order to recognize the words and read the story well. He also learns about titles, punctuation, and sentences. The Reader practice enables him to confidently read the Bible.
Q. What does “a multi-sensory approach ” mean?
A. It means that to learn with all the senses, not only the eyes and ears. The feeling especially is highly involved with feeling the mouth shape the sounds, swinging the arm, tracing broadly in the air with a finger, writing, holding, and good posture while sitting. All these activities store motor-sensory knowledge in connection with the hearing of sounds and seeing the letters. We aim to involve all the senses as far as possible. Even smell and taste may be used as appropriate to make the learning experience rich and memorable. Hear it, say it, see it, and feel it, as you do it.
Q. What do you mean by “streamlining” the learning process?
A. Streamlining keeps the building-blocks of language in order–progressing from the most fundamental (speech) toward analysis of the pure, isolated sounds found in speech (phonograms), on to picturing those sounds step by step (letters, spelling and its governing rules, and analysis of words).
Imagine a tiny rivulet flowing off the melting snow or forming from rainfall. It starts with a tiny bit of oozing water, but as it trickles down the hill, seeking the low places which guide it along by banks as more little trickles join it along the way, it broadens and deepens the flow. This is how we start with the tiny children. We give just tiny bits of pertinent information here and there at first, not overwhelming them with too much at once. This bit of information must be essential and appropriate, holding it in by omitting the distractions, detours, half-truths, and bad habits that society usually imposes. As their powers increase, wise guidance is needed to allow more space for doing, learning, and always providiing increasing information and opportunities, but these must be chosen carefully to align with the goals we aim to reach. Omit the detrimental and provide abundant room to go forward as fast and far as the child’s powers allow him to go. If there are challenges to overcome, work to overcome them. A stream finds a way to flow over or around obstacles. The study of the Scriptures and natural resources is not narrowing, but ever broadening. Opportunity to experience the good in following truth is unlimited. But streamlining keeps things in efficient order.
The oral and writing skills lead gradually and naturally into spelling. Reading is a reverse process to spelling. Spelling is the quickest and least stressful way to learn to read well, with good comprehension, because through it you become well acquainted with the individual words. It is in harmony with how the mind works. Never should a young child be expected or assigned to read anything until he has been given the tools to reach that goal painlessly and confidently. As the stream deepens and widens, reading orally is the big step toward competent and excellent reading of everything. The more complicated aspects in reading of inferences, context, forming expectations, recalling earlier concepts, organizing syntax, are combined with picking up the print and decoding it.
Confusing approaches to reading often result in learning disabilities and dyslexia, although many adults are unaware of their grave deficiencies. Failing to teach the fundamentals early enough or neglecting to teach them at all often result in dire consequences to the learner. The method is at fault. It is contrary to the natural process of learning and the laws of the mind. If a child teaches himself to read before you take him through this progressive path, he will almost surely be deficient in some area, perhaps in phonics, spelling, or/and handwriting. He cannot remedy that area of weakness himself. He needs a guide to help him.
If we work at a disadvantage by doing things backward we are never winners. A proverbial horse pushing the car is never efficient. We must rip out, turn around, start over again, and re-do or re-learn. It is cruelty to children to neglect their early education. If properly taught, they can soar to any height of excellence by God’s grace.
Q. Why write in cursive? Isn’t printing (manuscript) clearer and easier?
A. Cursive handwriting has been proven to be the best through not only neurological studies, but by the witness of children. It is faster, flowing and beautiful when properly executed, the result of hundreds of years of refinement, and a skill in danger of being lost at present. It prevents letter reversals far better than writing in all capital manuscript, and better than lower-case manuscript. It reveals individuality. Cursive opens up learning centers in the brain that enable a child to learn with ease. Little children enjoy cursive. It is slightly more complicated to teach, but avoids so much confusion that it is definitely worth the effort.