GIDEON Reading Program
Before children can learn to read, they must learn to recognize letters. Beginning with the consonants, the Gideon Learning to Read program teaches not just letter recognition, but the sounds of the letters as well.
Learning to read means breaking the alphabetic code. Our Word Builder booklets provide a step-by-step program that allows the student to combine phonetic sounds to decode words. Starting with the short vowel sounds, these booklets provide ample practice words for mastery learning. Research concludes that students who are skilled decoders are shown to have increased fluency and improved comprehension.
The Dolch sight words are also included in the Learning to Read program. Since these words are studied in first and second grades, children who master them have a good base for beginning reading.
GIDEON Reading Comprehension Program
The Gideon reading program includes an early comprehension series designed to promote reading for meaning. These beginning comprehension booklets provide a variety of exercises while developing new vocabulary. Our reading program continues with a nonfiction series that contains a great variety in subject matter and excellent thinking questions. Following the selections are questions that require students to find the main idea, identify sequence, and match vocabulary words to meanings.
The Gideon Vocabulary Program developed for grades first through fourth creates challenging activities to advance and strengthen basic language skills. Working with a list of twelve words and their definitions, the student engages in a variety of exercises, such as crossword puzzles, scrambled sentences, multiple choices, and matching. Sentence writing using these vocabulary words is also included.
Our more advanced vocabulary series consists of carefully selected words taken from literature, textbooks, and SAT prep books. Each word list gives parts of speech and concise definitions as well as using the word in a sentence. The exercises allow the student to apply his or her understanding of the meaning of the word and test his or her comprehension. Research has shown that a strong vocabulary is essential for strong comprehension.
Standardized Test Prep
Test prep booklets are an important part of the Gideon reading program. They are designed to provide practice activities for appropriate application of reading comprehension and test taking strategies for grades 2 – 8. The exercises cover a variety of word skills and real reading situations that are presented in a typical standardized testing format. This is part of the GIDEON program and is offered at no additional cost.
Gideon believes in a direct approach to grammar beginning with first grade work. This early start will help to build a strong grammar foundation. Our program simplifies learning grammar concepts, such as punctuation, capitalization, subject-verb agreement, and verb tenses. Good sentence construction and sentence diagramming are also addressed.
General Information about Reading
Reading researchers often compare learning to read to riding a two-wheeler. Before she can travel on her own, your child must know how to hold the handlebars, balance, push the pedals, and build up speed. Likewise, to read a book, your child needs to sound out words, recognize common ones like “the,” understand what the text means, and read fast enough to make sense of the story.
The National Research Council, the National Institute for Literacy, and the National Reading Panel, a group commissioned by Congress to determine consensus in reading research, identify these key skills to learn how to read:
Spelling and Writing
Phonics: Knowing the relationship between the sounds of spoken language and the letters of written language is essential for reading. Phonics gives your child tools she can use to recognize familiar words quickly and to figure out words she has not seen before.
Word Recognition: Many common words in English, such as “the” and “one,” do not fit the phonics rules, so your child needs to memorize them. As he or she gains more experience reading, he or she will also instantly recognize other common words.
Fluency: To read fluently, your child must not only be able to recognize words instantly, but also be able to divide the text into meaningful chunks. For example, “lock of hair” must be read as a group to make sense. She builds fluency with lots of practice and experience listening to teachers and parents reading aloud.
Spelling and Writing: Your child increases his knowledge of how print works when he or she spells and writes on his own. When he makes each letter, he learns to associate a sound with it. At first he may write “book” as bk – because he or she hears the /b/ and /k/ sounds. With instruction, he learns correct spelling.
Comprehension: To read, your child must understand the meaning of the words. She builds comprehension when he or she discusses what she thinks a book will be about and summarizes what happened in a story. Her understanding increases as her vocabulary expands.
The Gideon reading curriculum addresses all these key skills. Using our learning to read program and moving through the vocabulary and comprehension exercises, each student builds a strong foundation to succeed in school.