Revised and Updated
2022 Edition

A Research-based Reading Program
for Home or Tutorial Use



What age and skills does my child need to have before I begin using this book?

This book is an accelerated beginning reading program that was designed to teach four-year-old children and above either at home or in a tutorial program. It has also been successfully used with precocious three-year-old children. The authors recommend four prerequisite skills your child will need before beginning instruction. Your child should show an interest in learning to read; be able to listen, understand, and follow simple spoken English instructions; be able to speak in complete sentences, and sustain working on a task for more than a few minutes.

Does my child have to know the alphabet before I start teaching?

Children don’t have to know the alphabet letter names to read, they need to know SOUNDS.  This program teaches a child to identify and say the sounds.  After the child has mastered the sounds, letter names are introduced in later lessons.

Why the “funny” print and it’s not in alphabet order?

The print (and all features of the program) used to teach children to read is very purposely designed to make learning as easy as possible. The sound-symbols order of introduction– sequence – was done to provide maximum discrimination (symbols that look different from each other and sound different)–this makes it easier for children to learn and master more quickly. The order of introduction of sound-symbols was designed to have children learn sounds that when combined (blended) would produce the maximum number of words, which are then placed into stories, as soon as possible.  

Not only is the sequence different from alphabetic order, but most notably the configuration of the symbols is different:

is taught since it is the symbol used most often in reading (books, online, forms, etc.) and “a” can easily be discriminated from d, p, q; while can easily be confused with d, p, and q by beginning readers. is used rarely in reading material, but is the handwriting version.  

and  have different configuration of the oval part  

 and  have different stem lengths to make it easier to tell apart  

Long vowels are shown with macron (bar over symbol) to discriminate from short vowels.  

Letters are combined that produced one sound:  

Only lower-case letters are taught (except the word I) so a child does not have to learn to identify both the lower and upper cases in the beginning.  Most words that we read are lower case print.  Capitals are introduced in later lessons. The book provides transition to “regular” print later in the program.    

How will my child understand the different sounds a letter makes, for example the letter “a” makes different sounds in “rat,” “farm,” “fall,” “rain,” “late,” and “was?”

When letters are combined, they often make a different sound. The instructional design of the book takes into account these challenges. Sound-symbol combinations such as “ar,”, “al,” “ai,” and silent “e” are also separated in introduction and slowly integrated with previously learned sound-symbols to ensure understanding. For irregular words, words that do not follow common sound-symbol relationships, such as “was,” children are taught that some words are “funny” because they are said differently than sounded out. The careful sequencing of the introduction of sound-symbol combinations and irregular words plus sufficient practice, review, and strategic integration sets children up for reading success.

Should I continue the lessons if my child does not remember the sounds?

Yes, continue the lessons while implementing the following suggestions. When your child does not remember a sound, immediately say the sound, and then ask, “What sound?” Return the beginning of the exercise to see if your child remembers and make a big deal when your child remembers that “hard” sound. If the sound is not remembered, repeat the correction procedure as needed while also encouraging your child (e.g., “Learning to read is hard work but I know that you can do it!”). Review the difficult sound(s) at the end of the lesson and before beginning the next lesson. 

Other suggestions include the use of the sounds cards and sound firming suggestions (under supplementary materials): https://startreading.com/videos-supplementary-material/.

You may want to teach only one-half of a lesson until your child is able to complete an entire lesson with greater ease. Although learning to read can be “hard,” you want to ensure that your child is still having FUN through your praise and encouragement.

Will our regional dialect affect my child’s progress in learning to read?

Before taking into consideration regional differences, you want to ensure that you are correctly modeling the pronunciation of sounds. Please see the Pronunciation Guide of TYC and the Sound-Symbol Relationships training video. Regional differences are often more prominent with vowel sounds in words. It is perfectly fine if you and your child read words the same way that you speak.

 Should I begin teaching even though my child has speech or articulation difficulties?

Yes, your child can learn to read even with speech challenges. When a sound is difficult to pronounce, accept your child’s best approximation. Include extra practice with the difficult sound(s) before, within, and after a lesson while praising your child for their hard work and best effort. Each time that you include the extra practice of a difficult sound, model the correct pronunciation of the sound. For example, if your child pronounces “www” for “rrr”. You can say, “Yes, rrr. Let’s see if you can say that tricky sound again.” You may also want to provide your child with spoken words (e.g., run) and sentences [e.g., (insert your child’s name) loves to run!] that contain that sound, so your child hears the sound used in the context of a word and sentence. The use of TYC has been known to improve articulation for children with speech difficulties.

What if my child already knows sounds?

Start from lesson 1 and go through all six exercises to check that your child can correctly pronounce sounds and say continuous sounds for at least 3 seconds. Even though your child may know sounds, you should also be sure to check performance on the other pre-skills (blending–Saying the Sounds and Say It Fast exercises) taught in the lesson.  If your child is proficient on all exercises, you may rapidly go through many lessons at a time using lots of encouragement and praise: “Wow, you went through that whole lesson in 5 minutes; you’re doing great! This is easy for you, so I bet you could zoom through another lesson. Let’s give it a try, OK?” Continue teaching lessons rapidly until you have used your allocated 15–20-minute period.  Then teach and correct at an accelerated pace as time allows during the next periods. Once your child is challenged and makes errors (needs more corrections), teach at a regular rate. Always include praise for working hard and for first-time correct responding and stay positive during corrections.  

How do I hold my child’s attention?

Children usually will reflect the parent’s (or instructor’s) attitude.  However, it is counterproductive to try to teach a child who is too young and does not want to learn to read. On the other hand, if your child asks to learn, then you may start to teach even a young child. To be actively engaged with your child during lessons, you must be very well practiced in following the scripted exercises and techniques BEFORE you teach so that you can present lessons quickly while also monitoring your child. In this way you can stay positive and animated in your interactions, especially important when your child makes errors.  Always include praise for working hard and for first-time correct responding and stay positive during corrections.  You may also consider whether or not you want offer at the end of a teaching period a tangible reward such as stickers, stamp, or stars on a chart for working hard and/or completing a lesson. 

Should I really teach for 20 minutes a day?

It’s always wise to base instructional decisions on the child’s responses and behavior. At the beginning of the program the lessons are short and may not take 20 minutes to complete, but later lessons will take longer.  If your child is becoming fatigued and inattentive after 20 minutes (or less), stop teaching and continue the next day with a short review, then complete the lesson.  If your child is still working hard and enthusiastic after 20 minutes, it’s a good idea to take a break, then continue to complete the lesson if your child really wants.  Another option is to complete the lesson at another time of the day.  You may also decide to split up a lesson and teach at two separate times during the day.  You may also decide how many days a week to teach–it is not necessary to teach every day, but it is good to have a consistent schedule.

What techniques and strategies should I use to be successful using TYC?

The book was designed to teach one child. To set up for SUCCESS, follow these guidelines: 

  • Use a consistent schedule-20 minutes a day or split up time for a younger learner.
  • Practice the sound-symbol relationships (see “Sound-Symbol Relationships Training Video” and the Sounds Pronunciation Guide of TYC)
  • Learn about features of the scripted lessons
  • Practice a lesson, including corrections before teaching a child.
    (See demonstrations and training on “Videos” page.)
  • Follow script and bring to life by presenting lessons with enthusiasm and naturally quick pacing to maintain attention.
    (See demonstrations and training on “Videos” page.)
  • Make sure child can see book or watch your mouth as indicated in script.
  • Use visual cues when the child is looking at the book (i.e., finger on the ball of the arrow, touch under each sound, or slash under each word).
  • Monitor child’s responses by watching fingers, mouth, and eyes.
  • Express your personality with non-scripted praise to child (e.g., good eyes on the book, great job sitting tall, fantastic job sounding out that word without stopping between the sounds).
  • Correct errors immediately in a positive way by modeling the correct response, repeating task with the child until child is successful, have child independently repeat task until firm.
  • Confirm and reinforce working hard; specifically praise correct responses
  • Utilize the Lesson Progress Chart to reward child for lesson completion.

    How do I assist my child’s mastery of the words and stories?

    During a lesson, do not hesitate to have your child repeat word reading tasks. Make the extra practice FUN by challenging your child and saying, “Let’s start at the top and read the list of words one more time a little faster” or “Let’s go from the bottom of the list to the top to practice those hard words again.” For extra practice outside of the lessons, play word games with your child. Suggestions for firming words and playing word games can be found here. To make word cards, see the listing of words as they are presented in the lessons here.

    While children are still being taught in TYC, a book series by Ginger Burke that are specifically designed to supplement TYC as a child progresses through the lessons is highly recommended. The books’ have clever and cute content and illustrations. The corresponding TYC lessons are identified on each book to ensure your child’s continued success. This is the link to her supplemental stories: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/The-Acorn-Place. 


Your child has gained knowledge in understanding the relationship between oral and written language—what words are and how they are formed. Your child understands that words have meaning and can respond with oral answers. Your child does not have to rely on pictures for either the decoding of words or story comprehension. However, you may have noticed that your child is not yet skilled at reading many larger words and irregular words. Your next step in instruction should focus on teaching new words that contain sound combinations such as al, ee, and igh. In addition, you will want to introduce new reading material, but with consideration. Please refer to pages 393-395 in TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ IN 100 EASY LESSONS for more detailed information.

If you have a question that has not been addressed, please feel free to email Dr. Phyllis Haddox at teachyourchild100ez@gmail.com.