Start with Sounds and Start Younger
Take advantage of the fastest growing period in your child's life.
From gooing and cooing, books and rhyme, teaching sounds, singing and interacting with your children, our videos and resources will further enrich your loving bond in ways you never imagined. Early on, you can strengthen your child’s developing language and more pointedly target phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words. It is the greatest predictor of reading success.
- Raising Robust Readers uses Wordy Worm to teach 72 phonograms (the sounds we read) through play.
- If phonograms are introduced through song and play as toddlers, many children can be reading before they start kindergarten.
- Raising Robust Readers and Wordy Worm provide you with the information to make it fun and the tools to make that happen!
We invite you to scroll down to read more and find out more about how the Raising Robust Readers course can help your child start on the path to reading success!
The Raising Robust Readers Course:
Sing and play your way to reading success!
Research-Based + Fun-Filled Play
Raising Robust Readers incorporates the best practices of the National Reading Panel, the National Right to Read Foundation, and the International Dyslexia Association. This multi-sensory, explicit and systematic instruction of phonics, is at the core of our program. But, even more important is the built-in, fun-filled play. Play promotes brain growth and creates an additional pathway to learning.
Easy for Parents to Teach
The Online Course with 18 step-by-step modules includes everything you need to teach your child how to read, including downloadable worksheets, fun-filled activities and more! The course will show you the most effective ways to teach your child.
What Sets Us Apart
Our multi-sensory instruction will teach your child auditory, visual, tactile and kinesthetic instruction, simultaneously, through songs, gestures and play. Our sequence of instruction is a carefully crafted departure from traditional approaches. Blending begins very early so learners experience the joy of reading, not just saying sounds and recognizing letters. Each phase is designed in small successful steps from simple to complex; from sounds to syllables to words.
Raising Robust Readers in Real Life:
See how incorporating play helps early readers
Teach Sounds with Songs
Teaching sounds with songs makes learning fun and memorable. Sing along with Wordy Worm to learn the phonograms!
Connect Sounds to Pictures
Connect sounds with pictures and incorporate sounds in everyday interactions. Early readers learn easily when parents make it fun!
Make Sound Puzzles
Sound puzzles are fun for early readers when phonograms are incorporated into everyday activities. Join your preschoolers on phonogram and sound hunts when you are in the grocery store or out and about. You can teach the phonograms on the go!
Play Your Way to Reading
Play together when you are on the go. Early readers are so eager to show what they know and have so much fun doing it. Play becomes fun AND meaningful!
What is phonics?
Phonics is the relationship between sounds and the written letter symbols. It involves the correspondence of sound/spelling with written words/syllables. When referring to reading programs, phonics refers to reading by decoding (sounding out words) rather than reading using the “whole word” or “whole language” approach. While Raising Robust Readers is a phonics-based program, it is more precisely a phonogram-specific program.
What is phonemic awareness?
Literally it means being aware of sounds. This term refers to spoken sounds. It is the ability to hear sounds and manipulate them. For example “t-a-p” vs “p-a-t.” Both have the same letters; but they are in a different order. Or “t-a-p” vs. “t-o-p” where the vowel sound is different. Note: This term differs from ‘phonogram’ which refers to the printed symbol.
What is a phonogram?
Phonograms show the smallest sounds that make up words. It is the “code” by which we sound out words. A phonogram may have one letter (h); two letters (ai); three letters (igh) or four letters (eigh). In each of these examples the phonogram makes one sound regardless of how many letters make up the phonogram. So...h says /h/; ai says /ā/; igh says /ī/ and eigh says /ā/.Some phonograms have more than one sound. For instance, a has three sounds: /ă/ as in Abby. /ā/ as in ate. /ah/ as in almonds.Knowing this code takes the mystery out of reading and the frustration out of learning.
At what age can I introduce phonograms to my child?
Phonograms can be introduced at any age as long as you consider the developmental (not the chronological) age of the individual, and teach accordingly. A baby can hear the songs and watch your mouth; a toddler can add gestures and play; an older child can associate print and sounds and go on phonogram hunts; an adult can learn and apply new skills to expand his/her independent opportunities. Truly, they can be introduced at any age and at any stage.
My daughter is non-verbal. How long do I wait until I start teaching her?
You do not need to wait at all. Just because your daughter has delayed (or little) speech does not mean she cannot hear and process sounds. Nor does it mean she cannot see print. We don’t have to be able to speak to read. After all, most of our time is spent reading silently. You can still evaluate her understanding of your instruction, for instance, by having her show you the words/phrases as you say them rather than having her produce the sounds/words/phrases verbally.
My son is in a special education kindergarten class. I have been using your program with him at home with great success. The teacher uses sight words and consonant-vowel-consonant books. How can I get her to use phonograms?
First go to the teacher and show her what you have been doing at home. Show her how effectively your son is putting sounds together to read words. Ask her to incorporate the program into his reading instruction. If there is resistance, you can call an Individualized Educational Plan meeting. Bring documentation regarding Orton-Gillingham-based instruction and documentation regarding your son’s progress. The term “Individualized” is there for a reason. We suggest listening to the excellent documentary “Hard to Read” produced by American Public Media. Although the program focuses on dyslexia, there is a wealth of information on the effectiveness of the Orton-Gillingham method and on parent advocacy. As a parent of a child with Down syndrome, you will be able to identify with many, many points that are discussed. Here is the link: https://www.apmreports.org/story/2017/09/11/hard-to-read
When my older children were in pre-school, they learned the ABCs in order. You don’t teach them in order. Why?
Because we want children to experience success from the very beginning, and at each step moving forward, we begin with phonograms that have only one sound. That way, when they begin blending, there is only one possible sound for each. Hence, no guessing; just success. For that reason, we teach single sounds consonants and vowel buddies before we teach two-sound consonants and multi-sound vowels. Experiencing success at the beginning means that students are more confident when moving to the more complex steps.
How long should I spend each day teaching reading?
There is no set time. Frequent, short spurts tend to be very effective. This helps with short attention spans, and helps retention. Using environment print and teachable moments are generally more meaningful than worksheets. Think circling bossy r phonograms on a menu or just making a "buddy-bet" on whether you two will pass a jEEp in the parking lot as you go from your car to the grocery store. There are also times you can create a whole activity around one phonogram such as making a weird beige shirt when studying phonogram “ei” or even spend a whole afternoon having a picnic, eating ice cream, and taking a taxi ride to teach the three sounds of ‘i.’
I don’t feel qualified to teach reading. Won’t I be hurting my child?
Parents can be a child’s most effective teacher. There is so much going on in a classroom, that individualized, direct reading instruction is limited. And ‘reading time’ occurs whether your child is in a receptive mood or not with a teacher who may or may not have been trained in best practices. You know your child’s personality; you are with your child day and night; you have the opportunity for meaningful teachable moments. You have the greatest incentive for your child’s future independence. But you have to understand how the process works. With Raising Robust Readers, you gain the knowledge and confidence to be the constant support for your child either at a desk or on the go wherever you go. For more reasons why parents should take a more hands-on approach, listen to the documentary “Hard to Read” . You will also hear about how well teachers know (or don't know!) the components of effective reading instruction as set out by the National Reading Panel in 2000 and as researched by the National Council on Teacher Quality in 2016.
Get Started on Your Way to Reading!
Awards and Accolades
Authors Judy O’Halloran and Marilee Senior received a 2015 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award for literacy for “The ABCs of the Sounds We Read: Going Beyond the Alphabet to Discover the Reading Code.”
Raising Robust Readers has been chosen by GiGi's Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Centers to be used internationally with their literacy programs.