I couldn't let the month go by without telling you about a freebie my lovely friend, Lady D. in Florida gave me the heads up about. During the month of January, Funnix is giving away downloads to their first 120 reading lessons HERE. These lessons are structured, detailed, computer-animated, interactive teaching sessions and could effectively teach your child to read up to a first grade level. All you need to do is sit next to your child and reinforce the correct answers, then monitor their completion of a few simple and fun worksheets.
I just finished "doing" the first lesson after completing my download and it was very clear, easy to follow, and it seemed like it really could do the trick. It took about a half an hour, and had a good mix of listening, following directions, repeating, and identifying exercises that would easily keep a 4-7 year old early reader involved. As both Cowboy and Ladybug already read, I won't be using it for them, but I thought that its simplicity might work for Firefly (age 3 1/2) who is chomping at the bit to read like her big sister and brother do. I figure the two older ones can sit with her if I need them to, as long as I can keep them from shouting out all the correct responses!
If you have children anywhere near the target reading age, or will in the future, you should think about downloading this program. It could save you a ton of money and worry. As the above ad states, it's kind of like having "a tutor on your computer!" The program also comes with a downloadable teacher's manual and printable workbook, which you receive access to when you get your confirmation email. If you are uncertain if your child can use this program, visit THIS page for other useful downloads that help assess and prepare your child for the lessons.
You know my favorite price is FREE!! and this looks like a winner, so spread the word!