Monday, August 9, 2010

Stepping Stones Together- Mama Buzz Review

Product: Stepping Stones Together Reading Program


My son, Griffin had a hard time getting reading to click. He had all of the sounds down pretty well. Fluency was a real problem for him. Once he got it, though, he really did well. My daughter on the other hand picked up reading literally by herself. We started in Kindergarten with letters and sounds. She already knew them all. We started putting sounds together to form words and she could read any 3 or 4 letter word within one week. She now, at age 7, is reading at a level several grades above her age. She loves reading, just like her Mommy.

Stepping Stones Together would have been so great when I was trying to get Griffin to read books. I could never find anything he liked. With Stepping Stones Together you get a program, founded by image Dr. Erika Burton, that teaches beginning reading skills with beginning reading activities. It teaches children to read using high frequency words and nouns. These high frequency words are words that are used every day, words that your child needs to learn in order to be successful with reading.

I love the fact that the reader gets to choose which books interest him/her. Whether it be princesses or superheroes, there is something to interest every child. Reading time during this stage should take about 15-20 minutes daily.

The first thing the child does is to choose a story they would like. Bella choose a story about a girl named Bella, of course. The title of the book was Bella, The honest Princess. Bella loved the story. When I asked her what her favorite part was, she said coloring the pages. 102_6159That is one of the things I really liked about this program. The pages are all in black and white and can be colored by the student.

There are a few questions at the end of each story with a writing prompt. We personally do not do writing this early in school but it would be a great place to just have them tell a story or add on to the one they are reading. Along with the writing prompts, there are printable writing sheets. There is room to draw a picture and then write a short paragraph about the story. Both of my kids really enjoy this kind of activity.

Another thing offered are downloadable flashcards to go with each story as well as games if your student needs extra practice. There is an incentive chart which works well for children who like to see their progress. They can either color in the blocks or use stickers imageor stamps to mark their progress. After they complete the A series, there are two more levels to complete.

As part of this review, I had access to all three levels of the program. Each level has stories in each interest area so your child will be able to find something they like. This is very interactive with the parent. You read the story together once, then look through the pictures, and then the child attempt to read it by themselves. The books are short, only 8-10 pages each including the questions.

You can purchase a membership to Stepping Stones Together for $19.99 for 60 days. You will actually get 90 days for that price. You can also purchase a whole year for $39.99.

We really liked this program. I’m not sure I would call this a reading program. There really isn’t much in it to teach reading. I guess you could say it does teach reading if you use a whole reading concept. I have never used this and feel like phonics is the best way to go. It seems to be more of a comprehension program and just really great readers. All in all, I think it is worth the price for these things. The website was very user friendly, although it took awhile to load on my older desktop.

Please note that I received a free trial membership to Stepping Stones Together in exchange for my honest opinion in this review. No other compensation was provided. Thank you to Mama Buzz and Stepping Stones Together for this opportunity.

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