Friday, November 18, 2011

One Minute Reader; a TOS Crew Review

My homeschooler, whom I affectionately nicknamed, 'Rella, and I have been reviewing a reading resource called One Minute Reader from Read Naturally.


I'll tell you up front - this is a product that I intend to stick with if it fits within my budget as we go along. (Read Naturally offers affordable options.)

The program is research based. The concept and implementation are easy and uncomplicated. And it is created by a former special education teacher and her husband.
The product package = a book, an audio CD, a timer, a pencil that is blue on one end and red on the other.

The how-to: The book contains audio stories from the book read aloud. Play the CD, read along with the CD, read alone with the timer, mark errors with the pencil, calculate score. Students are to read along with the voice on the CD at least three times, then alone in a timed reading. (Stories are read aloud on the CD three times, so you pop in the CD, locate the first track of the story, hit play, and let it run. No backing up and restarting a track.) The actual steps are here. The stories are non-fiction and come with a page of questions to check comprehension (something we still struggle with at my house) and games and support activities.

The lessons are short, which is a bonus for a child with attention challenges. The recommended half-hour lesson is a bit much for my child with attention issues, although she tends to get to 15 minutes pretty easily. The pattern of reading along with the CD and then reading alone becomes familiar, quickly, also a bonus to a child who doesn't always sense patterns and who needs structure. The stories change; the pattern of the lesson stays the same. Same but different, different but same. There is a sample book available here.

Research-based One-Minute Reader is meant for support at home. In other words, it's not a product marketed specifically to homeschoolers.

The readings are intended to be completed independently; however, I have to sit with my girl when she completes hers. I like to see her reading along with the recordings. My child reads much too fast and I did not realize that until we received this product. The pleasant voice on the recording sets the pace that 'Rella must follow, and I like how 'Rella must slow down for it.

We were given a Level 1 book/CD and a Level 3 book/CD. We began with Level 1. Placement is important. We haven't attempted Level 3 yet. I don't think my girl is ready for it.

IMPORTANT (at my house) NOTE: There is no giant "LEVEL 1" or "FIRST GRADE" printed on the materials. The level number is printed in a rather small font and I had to look for it. My child often balks at working on material clearly labeled for a much younger grade level. If your developmentally delayed reader is sensitive about reading material meant for lower/younger grades, this product is sensitive to those children.

Because the stories are non-fiction, we learn about people, places, things when we read. I had no idea that Big Ben is a bell, not a clock. (Am I the only one?)

I have experimented with the multiple choice q & a that follows each one-minute story. 'Rella can answer the questions with more success an hour or a few hours AFTER she completes the exercise. She needs the processing time. We have also been working on some narration of the stories instead of the q & a.

Short. Sweet. Developmentally appropriate. Research based. Geography, science, famous people, animals, plants, places - the short stories cover a wide range of topics, some that have prompted questions that require a little digging to answer, that gave us an interest to chase. I hope my girl improves her comprehension and reading as we continue to use this resource.

The OMR provides a framework that we have not had before. The brief story is packed with interesting tidbits of information without a lot of 'flowery' or excessive descriptive language. It's nuts-and-bolts, yet interesting. The Level 1 is "just enough" for 'Rella right now - she is growing competence at several levels/layers. I'd like to continue with it. The big concern: I have some questions in my mind about buying the big kits - I hate to waste $ if she moves up a level before we are finished with a set.

The Starter Kit comes with a instructional CD, a book and CD, a timer, a pencil in a binder, priced at $24.95. You may buy the entire level in a bundle for $99.95 (save 14%) or individual book/CDs for $12.95.

Read Naturally has a blog here and a facebook page here.

To read my Crewmates' review of Read Naturally or One Minute Reader, please click here.

Read Naturally sent me a review copy of One Minute Reader at no charge to me. I get to keep the product. I was not paid for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.


Pebblekeeper ~ Angie said...

Thanks Penny! We have enjoyed the One Minute Reader here as well. Funny you mention that, we too seem to have alot more dialog later with the questions than directly after the reading. Good Point.

Walking Fruitfully said...

This was great to work with my struggling reader, too. She is 11 and also sensitive to books for "little kids". I think the pricing per book is pretty reasonable and then you can get the next book from whatever level is needed. My daughter was being stretched with the purple book--but I think it is good for her. We also did more narration than Q&A. I wouldn't have given this a second glance outside of the Crew. I am really glad we had this one--it has been such a great fit.

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