Phonics Reading Program: A Comparative Review
Children Learning Reading Versus Reading Head Start
It is always part of a parent’s goal to help their little children learn to read. This skill is foundational to every child’s development process, and it is but natural for parents, especially the moms, to be quite involved in making sure that their kids are prepared in the best way to acquire and enhance this particular ability.
However, the desire to teach a child to read must be coupled with the right learning tools to make parents’ jobs easier and more effective. At times, they are hesitant to assist in the process or are very much into it but are going about it in quite ineffective ways.
Today, there are reading and phonics programs developed to address this reality. Teachers whose expertise is in this particular learning area have shared their knowledge in creating modules and courses to assist parents in teaching their little kids. Though many free resources are available, you may consider going for paid ones if you want a comprehensive program for your children.
Among the most widely used phonics programs, the “Children Learning Reading” and “Reading Head Start” will be in the spotlight of our review in this article as we take a comparative stance on both. This step will help parents who want to check these out but need more information before making a decision.
What are the Criteria?
To compare them effectively, there is a need for specific parameters by which we can gauge how each fare. In this article, we will focus on four aspects, namely the affordability, additional resources offered, the content and method of teaching, and how the course is presented and delivered.
Like any other learning program, both offer various modes of payment for those who are interested to avail. Also, they have a guarantee to give your money back if you are not satisfied with the course in any way.
However, the difference lies in the presentation of their offerings. Reading Head Start took the more straightforward approach by showing three pricing options of $297 for lifetime access, $197 for a full year, and $1 ($37/month thereafter) for a trial. As apparent in their scheme, you will save more money if you opt to pay for more extended access, and every selection will be inclusive of everything in the package.
For Children Learning Reading, on the other hand, their Standard ($49.95) versus Premium ($69.90) Packages seem not to show any distinction. Still, upon inquiry, you will learn that the latter includes demo videos as well.
For some parents, all phonics programs seem to be all the same, especially when you look at their primary features. At times, the decision boils down to the freebies or extra tools included in the package. These additional resources sometimes spell the difference.
For Children Learning Reading, they provide audio clips (MP3 format) for every phonic sound and some flashcards that you can print, so you are well-equipped to teach your children in the entirety of the course.
Also, they give you a nursery rhymes book (PDF format) or Lesson Stories, which you can go over with your child as they slowly learn to sound out the letters and some words. Each story is connected to a particular lesson in the curriculum.
Parents who go for the Premium Package mentioned earlier will get more extras. They will have the demo videos that will further help you as a parent to teach the course to your little child. If you compare both packages, and how much you will need to add to upgrade to a premium module, you will quickly realize that the additional payment is worth it because of the demo videos.
In Reading Head Start, all extra tools are included in all pricing categories. They provide you with sound cards for every phonic and hand-drawn illustration and word cards that you can use to aid you in teaching.
Although they have a similar storybook with Children Learning Reading, their stories are complicated for a basic reader. A lot of words make up a passage, and the suitability for teaching the young ones is questionable, except maybe for those who are quite advanced for their age. Also, the stories are not connected to the lessons in the course. Consequently, the parents are free to use them at any point in the program.
The only remarkable thing about these phonics passages is the fantastic illustrations that come with every story.
Delivery and Presentation
How a course is delivered and presented to the students is vital in their absorption and learning of the lessons.
In this respect, Reading Head Start is ahead of Children Learning Reading. They have a well-organized and easy to navigate online portal with resources for every lesson. The program was very well thought out and put together into cool modules. However, there existed bugs on the website and some links which were dead for the pronunciation guides. Some lesson overviews were also missing a couple of stages. These, of course, were addressed by the programming team.
Children Learning Reading is more traditional and safer in its approach. When you choose either a Standard or a Premium Package, you immediately have access to all the resources that you can download, which are included in the course. It’s a far cry from the online portal of Reading Head Start, but for those who can do with a conservative method, it works! The comprehensive documents and videos will fully help you teach the curriculum.
What you, as a parent, will pick between the two based on this parameter will be influenced by your personal preference. If you want the modern and stylish approach, you can choose Reading Head Start’s online portal, and if you prefer the old school and dependable methods, Children Learning Reading is perfect for you.
Content and Method
Moving on to the essential parts, we now evaluate both phonics programs. We will look at them based on the “meat” of the curriculum and what methods to use in teaching them. The content and the teaching methods are the “core” of the program and should be given the utmost scrutiny when choosing among multiple options.
Even if you have the most amazing resources presented most excellently, if the content and methods are less than par, you will think twice in using them as tools in your little children’s formative years.
The curriculum provided by Children Learning Reading is more detailed, as apparent in the PDF documents that come with the packages. They explain the theory behind their methods and the system to be followed in executing the lessons. In the Premium package, you get to see a demonstration of the most efficient and effective way to teach the course, and all you need to do is follow carefully.
Consequently, as a parent, you will know precisely why you are using such an approach in your teaching and how you are supposed to do it. There’s no room for error if you carefully adhere to the instructions.
Children Learning Reading, not surprisingly, was developed by a man who was a devoted father. He was an advocate of teaching children based on excellence and commitment, and it was reflected in how he was able to create a program that will indeed be amazing in terms of content and teaching methods.
On the one hand, Reading Head Start has excellent content, no doubt about it, but lacks a bit in how the lessons are explained. If you are an experienced teacher or instructor, you will not have a problem at all. If you are an ordinary parent, you will need time to get accustomed to the content and the methods before you will be able to teach your kids effectively.
This program was developed by people who have expertise in online phonics programs and are geared more towards teachers with more experience than typical parents. Though they have fantastic content, the learning curve is quite steep if you plan to use the program, and you have zero experience in how online portals work or proficiency in phonics courses for children.
What are the downside and upside?
Children Learning Reading
This program is a comprehensive and excellent phonics program created by another parent (a Dad) who longs to develop the most effective teaching method. The system is quite easy to understand and follow, and everything that you will need to teach the course to your children is included in the package, which, I must say, is priced reasonably.
It is a traditional, maybe outdated course for some, and their pricing is a tad confusing for those who don’t have time to make further inquiries before they buy into a program.
Reading Head Start
Their content is excellent as well and also the delivery and presentation. The coverage is comprehensive as a phonics program and is shown in the modern and user-friendly online portal.
Like any online program, their website experiences bugs and some other functions that need fixing. The course is a bit geared towards teachers more than parents since it requires some experience in teaching to understand and execute truly. It doesn’t help that there is an insufficient explanation of the theories behind the content and education methods.
After all the features and considerations discussed above, it’s time to conclude which phonics program will be better for those who want to teach their children to read.
Ultimately, it will all boil down to your priorities and preferences. If you can overlook outdatedness or do with a traditional curriculum whose content and teaching methods are passionately developed by a parent just like you, then Children Learning Reading will be your perfect teaching partner. With only one payment and a competitively priced one at that, you can download all the resources that you need to help your children to read effectively.
With Reading Head Start, you can take advantage of a new and slick comprehensive phonics program delivered through an online portal. The materials provided are more suitable for those who have some experience in teaching or maybe for teachers themselves who want to use the program for their students, since the difficulty level is higher than Children Learning Reading. There is no demonstration as to how to teach the course.
For parents who are first-time teachers or new moms, there may be a struggle with learning their way within the program. Of course, the premium in the pricing of this program is justified by the innovative presentation and delivery used.
In the end, your decision will be influenced by your circumstances, your budget allocation, your comfort level in dealing with technology, and your teaching experience as a mom to little kids who need to learn how to read.