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Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills:A Fast, Fun, Phonic Approach to Improve Reading Skills Review by Brenda Prince

Bonnie Terry, M.Ed., BCET
Bonnie Terry Learning
1 (530) 888-7160
238 Poet Smith Dr.
Auburn, CA 95603

How is your child's reading fluency? Are they able to read through a selection quickly while maintaining accuracy when pronouncing words, or do they stumble often on simple words? When they read, do they comprehend what they are reading or do they instead concentrate entirely on the words themselves?

Recent studies show that 67% of American Eight graders cannot read at current grade level. Luckily, there is a program developed by Bonnie Terry that can help students who are currently struggling with fluency in reading.

Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills: A Fast, Fun, Phonic Approach to Improved Reading Skills is simple in execution but powerful in results. The program is designed to be used from First Grade onward, including to be used with adults who might be struggling with mastery of fluency in reading. The concept of the program is pretty simplistic – using the program at least twice a week, student and teacher spend three to four minutes doing an oral pre-read from a list of works provided for each drill. It is during this time that the student is able to become familiar with the letter sound combinations or vowel sounds being introduced (short u, ou, ew, long a, ect). Following the pre-read, students then move to the oral time read where they are then given a list of words in which they have one minute to read aloud. The goal is for the student to be able to complete the timed read accurately, without mispronouncing, stumbling over or repeating the words as they read. As they read through the list, the teacher keeps track of any errors the student makes. After the one minute time is complete for the oral timed read, the student has completed the assignment for that day. The teacher then charts the child's progress on a chart provided in order to keep record of progress. Drills are repeated each session until mastery of the list is achieved.

The system consists of two spiral bound books. The first is the Student's Book. This book contains all forty-five drills that the student will working through. The second book is the Teacher's Book. This book contains detailed instructions for using the program, as well as hints and tips to adjust the program as necessary in regard to the student's age. Charts are provided to record and track the student's progress and reproduction rights are given to allow permission to copy the charts as needed. The Teacher's Book also contains the word list for the forty-five drills in the student book. There is a slight difference in the drill lists between the two books, as the teacher's book also provides a numbering system along with the word list that allows for the teacher to make an accurate assessment as to how many words per minute the student is reading at. A chart is provided in the Teacher's Book that gives a suggested words-per-minute reading rate for early elementary grade levels.

I've been using the program with my ten-year-old special needs son whom is reading below grade level and I can say that there has been a vast improvement as to his performance on each drill, both in his mastery of reading the words on the list as well as the amount of words he reads each time. For example, his first attempt at Drill One which consists of Consonant-Vowel-Consonant words with the short a sound, he read eighteen words in the minute time frame but missed seven of those words. Over a period of three weeks repeating that drill, he was able to increase his speed to one hundred and eight words per minute and correctly pronouncing all of those words. When we moved on to subsequent drills, I noticed that he did much better, even on his first attempt at reading the word list, meaning we spend much less time on each drill then we did with the first.

I've really been quite impressed with the system and would highly recommend it to those parents who want to start early and building a strong foundation in phonics, fluency and reading mastery. But I would almost go as far as saying this program should be a necessity for any parent with a special needs student who might be struggling with their reading and I below their grade level in skill. If used properly, this program could easily be the resource that might make the difference in only five minutes a day.

Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills: A Fast, Fun, Phonics Approach to Improve Reading Skills can be purchased through the website for $60 and comes with a sixty-day money back guarantee.

-Product review by Brenda Prince, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April, 2017