Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bonnie Terry Learning: Math and Reading Help

We received two items to review from Bonnie Terry Learning.  The first was Five Minutes To Better Reading Skills, and the second was BT Easy Math Reference Guide.

Click on the photos to go directly to the web pages for these two products.
I've been using the Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills with my 8 year old son.  He's reading, but still lacks confidence and speed.  He loves doing the speed drills in the book!  He'd rather do that than try to read a book, actually.  It's partly because it is instant success.  He looks at a list of short words that he can read with over 90% accuracy.  Too many beginning reading books throw in harder words every now and then that discourage him. 

The goal of Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills is to read a list of words (from left to right)  as quickly and accurately as you can within 5 minutes.  The teacher keeps track of how many words are missed, and how many are read within the 5 minutes.  That is used to calculate the "words per minute" rate, and the student's accuracy.  There is a helpful chart at the beginning that shows what speed different grades should be reading at, so you can judge your child's reading ability and their progress.  A student can not move onto the next list until they have improved their speed and don't miss more than 4 words per page.

This reading drill helps them begin to "recall" their phonetic sounds more quickly and blend them together quicker.  The drill helps their brain establish better retrieval of words, which helps them read faster, which helps them stay focused on and remember what they are reading.  Reading speed increases reading comprehension.  The harder your brain has to work to actually read the words, the less your brain can remember what you read. 

Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills
includes a spiral-bound softcover teacher's book and a student book. The teacher uses a plastic overlay and a write-on/wipe-off marker to keep track of the student's progress.  The books are totally reusable, non-consumable.  The teacher's manual includes helpful charts for tracking your student's progress.  The student book and teacher's guide are sold for $60.00.  This is not a complete phonics program, but is phonetically based and should be used to supplement other phonics programs.

We used the Heads Up Line by Line reader (previously reviewed HERE) to help 8 yo J focus on just the line he was supposed to be reading.  He has been doing well, and we will continue mixing the reading drills in with reading practice from books to continue to improve his reading skills. 

I gave the BT Easy Math Reference Guide to 13 yo A and 12 yo R.  They kept it with their math books.  I showed them how to use it to refresh their memory on how certain types of problems were solved.  It reduced the number of times they had to call me over to help them remember something they'd covered before.  Usually, we have to find the place in the text book where it was discussed before, and do a quick refresher course.  The BT Easy Math Reference Guide has those reminders gathered together in one easy 16 page booklet.  The booklet is 3-hole punched so it can be added into a 3 ring binder.

The BT Easy Math Reference Guide includes math vocabulary definitions, measurement equivalents, basic math, word problem helps, geometry, fractions, decimals, order of operations, money equivalents ... and more.  Basically, anything your child will cover in 1st - 8th grade math, there is an explanation in this booklet.  This is not a workbook, just a reference for parent and child that will be helpful, no matter what curriculum you use.  It can be re-used with future children, or you can buy one for each child.  The BT Easy Math Reference Guide is sold for $17.00.

We've had success with both of these products.  These are products that Bonnie Terry designed for her own use teaching special education.  She used them successfully in her class room, and has made them available for parents to use at home, as well.

I admit that the price seems high to me, but when faced with an older child struggling to learn basic skills they will need all their life, the price is worth it to help them succeed.  The programs do work!

Click the banner at the top to read more reviews on this product by other Homeschool Crew members.

Trusting in Him,

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