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Core Reading Program Review by Christine Field

Latin and Greek Word Root
Phonics Review one and two
Programmed Spelling Review
Reading the News
Glavach & Associates
P.O. Box 547
Hearldsburg, California 95448
(707) 894-5047

Have you tried to teach an older child to read? They quickly tire of reading about S-a-m and his c-a-t. There has to be a way to get these children involved in reading while immersing them in more grown up content.

Dr. Matt Glavach saw this need and dedicated himself to producing such materials. He has a Master's Degree in Special Education and a Doctorate in Psychology. He is the author or coauthor of more than 30 educational programs, including the highly acclaimed Core Reading System.

Dr. Glavach says this about his program:

"The Core Reading is based on current brain research in reading. Rather than being remedial, it is an intensive and activity-based program designed to connect students to the school's core curriculum.

The 25 weekly lessons use a core vocabulary from English, biology, science and social studies curriculums. Students move step-by-step from two-syllable words to words of 5 syllables or more through a unique spelling approach and timed readings to develop reading fluency.

Each lesson is organized by specific words with consistent ending patterns. Core Reading is organized into 25 lessons based on consistent word patterns. Using the word pattern approach assists in spelling and transition to reading longer words. For example, words like plastic, fantastic, and scholastic and nation, station, and communication have rhyming qualities that form natural bridges from shorter to longer words in the patterns.

Each lesson packet includes spelling, dictionary study for core vocabulary development, an oral word list, and a timed reading selection focusing on the pattern being studied and tied to an important subject in the core curriculum. Each lesson has a similar structure that allows the student to be self-directed and comfortable with what is coming next."

Although I did not personally review Core Reading, I did look at the others listed above. Phonics Review one and two are nicely done, with clear, ready-to-use worksheets and an accompanying audiotape. It can be used as a primary phonics program, or as a supplement to more intense training. Students begin with an individual placement test to determine proper placement in the program. The audio portion of the program is self-instructional, with the student following along to complete the worksheets. After the audio portion of the lesson, the words are reviewed and extended activities are available for the student.

Programmed Spelling Review has a similar format. It is designed for students who need to review basic spelling skills and high frequency writing words. It used audio lessons and student workbook pages. Each lesson presents a particular spelling pattern and then reinforces it thought the exercises. The program offers a pre-test to determine placement and 12 audio lessons. It is designed for students who exhibit poor and inconsistent spelling. It is easy to follow and can be a powerful rein forcer for the struggling speller.

Reading the News is an interesting, fun program. It uses Associated Press newspaper articles for starting point reading material for students in middle school through adult. Focusing on newspaper article content rather than boring vocabulary lists, the students begin by following along as an article is read on the audiotape. Activities based on each passage encourage the student to think about questions raised by the piece. Words are previewed before the selection is presented. Then numerous word and comprehension activities are offered based on the passage. I have never seen a program structured like this. It is an engaging, creative way to draw students into reading, comprehension, and spelling.

The last product I looked at was Latin & Greek Word Roots. This one got completely "field tested" as I used it to teach seventh and eighth grade students in a co-op with which we were involved. The program was easy to use and the students enjoyed it. Each week, words are introduced in ABC order. Students make study cards, do worksheets, talk about the derivatives, and use the words in their writing. A quiz is provided to test understanding each week. Every three weeks, one week is devoted to review, with interesting word searches and other activities provided for study. This program is completely laid out for ease of use and my students really enjoyed it - and learned many new words!

-- Product Review by: Christine Field, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine