The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Ball-Stick-Bird Reading Program Review by Anissa DeGrasse

By: Renee Fuller

Psychologist Dr. Renee Fuller developed the Ball-Stick-Bird reading system. The name comes from the way it teaches the alphabet: with Balls (circles), Sticks (lines), and Birds (angles). This review is for books 1-5 and the corresponding Teacher's Manual. Mrs. Fuller also has a wonderful website full of interesting stories and helpful information about her program. She has done tons of research and it's all there for you to read. Her site is very well organized and easy to navigate.

When the package arrived and I tore into the package I was instantly impressed with the materials! The books are colorful and well constructed. When I began to read the Teacher's Manual, the program began to make sense to me. This program can be used whether your child is ready to read or not because it is a different method of learning and teaching. The program is simple to and easy for the student to understand. The lessons are scripted in the teacher's manual, even telling you when to 'point' to the text and when to sit on your hands.

Also included in the package were the letter parts, printed on cardstock. They are for the student to use to construct the sounds. The letters are taught by their phonetic sounds and not by their alphabet name. The alphabet is taught through four sense modalities: visual (seeing the letter), auditory (hearing the phonetic sound), tactile and kinesthetic (manipulate the letter parts to form letters), which makes the learning 'stick'.

My daughter has been having some trouble 'getting it' with reading lessons. With this program she took right off and was reading right away! The lessons were fast (about 20 minutes each), easy and the books are fun to read. The main character of the book is a Martian named Vad and each book follows his adventures. The stories are interesting and fun for the child. My daughter wanted to do her reading lessons, which made this program a BIG hit for me too! I am truly impressed with this program and would highly recommend it!

-- Product Review by: Anissa DeGrasse, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

Ball-Stick-Bird Reading Program by Renee Fuller

I am privileged to be able to review the second portion of the Ball-Stick-Bird Reading Program (books 6-10) by Dr. Renee Fuller. This program is an outstanding way to get your children reading! It is a hidden jewel for parents with a struggling reader.

The name comes from the way it teaches letter sounds: with Balls (circles), Sticks (lines), and Birds (angles). As your child is learning letter sounds they will put them together to create the letters, this is a great program for those hands-on learners. As with the first set of books (1-5) they are very well constructed and larger (8 ½ by 11) than other readers we have tried. This is appealing to me because I don?t like to struggle to hold these as with smaller books. I also like that the print is not so small that I can?t read it but not too large that it?s overwhelming. These books are so well constructed they will be favorites for years to come, not just for getting your child started reading.

Books 1-6 continue with the whimsical story that began in books 1-5, the story of Vooroos--who are up to no good in book 6. The stories are fun to read because they are not your normal run-of-the mill beginning reading books. They have updated the ?Dick and Jane? concept to modern day interests: space. Along with each book, you can refer to the teacher?s manual for comprehension questions. The questions are simple and will help to open up discussions about character and proper etiquette as well. Several new letter blends are taught in book 6 along with patterns that were presented in the previous series. They are all repeated in the continuing books (7-10) which will reinforce the sounds and blends.

I am excited about this program and I would highly recommend it to any parent who is teaching their children to read; especially those with struggling readers. My daughter was having troubles learning to read but this program broke that wall and she?s now a fluent reader. Personally, I love how the teacher?s guides are scripted and map-out the lessons for me?this saves time and frustration.

On the Ball-Stick-Bird website, you?ll find information about the program and how to purchase it along with wonderful articles from Dr. Fuller. If you?re trying to decide what to choose for this year?s reading program, go with Ball-Stick-Bird, you will not be disappointed!

--Anissa DeGrasse, Media Operations Assistant, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC