Monday, February 28, 2011

TOS Review/ I See Sam

As part of the TOS Review Crew, I have had many opportunities to review some pretty great products. 

But I must say that I See Sam has been my absolute favorite product that I have reviewed so far. 

It has been the biggest blessing to me. I am truly thankful to have been given the opportunity to review this product. 

I See Sam is a set of readers put out by Academic Success for all Learners

Actually, there are 141 color coded books that are divided into 8 different sets. 
These sets range from the kindergarten level to the mid third grade level. 

Each set has up to 27 books in it. 

I received sets 1-4. I am still just so thrilled to have received 4 whole sets!

We are still on set 1, but I can not tell you the difference it has made in my son's reading skills. 

Before I see Sam, we had been doing another reading program, and he knew about 5 sounds, but he could not put those sounds together to form a word. He hated doing that program, and always cried about having to do it. He does not complain about this program.

I don't know what it is about the I See Sam readers that made the difference, but it did. 

He is easily blending the sounds together to form words, and he is so proud of himself when he reads a whole book!

This program is so simple.  All you need are the readers, and your set. 
You don't need anything else to use this program. 

There are however, some optional items that you can use alongside of this program if you would like to. 

Here is what I received from the company. I will tell you whether or not, in my opinion, you need these optional items. 

I received:

*The first 4 sets of readers: Obviously the readers are a necessity. 

*The Anatomy of a Little Book:  This basically gives you an oversight of the layout of the Little Books, and how they work. This is not necessary, but it is helpful, and you can download it for free, so I say go ahead and download it. This is not exactly the same one as I received, but it is still helpful. 

*Reading For All Learners Little Books Instructor Guidelines: This is very important. It explains how to use this program. You can download this for free. 

*Reading For All Learners Little Books Placement & Assessment Manual: You may need this if your child is already reading some, and you need to know what level to start with. If you are just starting with level one, you don't need this. 
If you think you may need this, you can purchase it for $10. 

*Progress Tracking Sheets: These are great. Your child can keep track of each book that they read. 

*Set Completion Certificates: You can present your child with a certificate after they complete each set of books. You can print these on colored card stock.

*Flashcards: These flashcards correlate to the readers, so your child is learning the sounds as they appear in the books. You can purchase the flashcards for sets 1-4 for $15. You can also download them for free on your own card stock, if you would like.

Flashcards Sets 1-4

You could get away with just the readers if you wanted to, but I think some of the extras really contribute to the program. 

It really couldn't be any easier to teach your child to read with these readers. 

In each book it has a sound practice, and word practice section. 
Your child will practice all previously learned sounds and words before they read the new book. 

They will also get a chance to practice the new words that will appear in the next book. They will have already been practicing these words at the end of the previous books. 

At the end of each book, your child will practice the upcoming new words, and sounds for the next book.

Periodically, there will be a section called Looking Back at the end of a book.
This is like a little test/review to see how well your child remembers what he has learned. 
If he can read these sentences perfectly, he can move on to the next book. 
If he struggles, you will know that he needs a little more practice with the last few sounds/books, and you will not move on until he reads the sentences perfectly. 
In the regular readings, your child can make 2 mistakes, and still move on. 

(All of these examples are taken from the free download of book number 21 in set one. You can download the entire book here.) 

This program is so well laid out. There is no guess work as to what is coming next, and there is no wondering if you are doing it right.

You may be asking yourself the question, "But how do I teach these sounds in the first place?"

As you can tell, these are just the readers, but as I said earlier, I believe that is all you need. 

It is so easy to teach the sounds in your daily life. As you go throughout your day, you can sing songs that help your child to learn the sounds, you could do a letter of the week program, you could play sound games, you could watch videos that teach the sounds, or you could use flashcards that correspond to the upcoming sounds in the books. The flashcards that come with the program are perfect for this.

It is really up to you as to how you teach your child his sounds, but I don't believe that you need a big, complicated program to do so. 

Now, I used to think differently before I See Sam

I sing the same song to my son for every letter sound. It is silly, but it works. 
I sing, "What sound does "I" make, iii (the sound), and I do this for every sound that we are learning. 
For some reason, it really helps.

I think that we all tend to think that teaching our children to read is going to be this really complicated, scary thing, and nothing could be further from the truth. 

We spend gobs of money on these reading programs, and in case you haven't noticed, you still have to teach your child the sounds. 

Once your child knows the sounds, he can start to put them together. No complicated reading program required. 

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we will continue with this program even though the review period is over, because it works

If you are interested in purchasing this program, there are several options for you. 

You can buy one set at a time. Each set is $30. 

You could buy the Starter Set for $60. The Starter Kit includes:

Little Books Starter Kit
Little Books Set One
Little Books Set Two
The Reading Time Training DVD
Two Set holders
Instructors Guide
Motivational Materials for Sets 1 and 2

54 Books in all
A value of more than $75!
Save $15 and start your beginning reader out right.

Limit of one per customer.

You could purchase the Read to Succeed Gift Set for $70

Read to Succeed Gift Set
The Read to Succeed Gift Set includes:
  • Little Books Set One
  • Little Books Set Two
  • 54 Little Books Total
  • Two set holder shelf organizers
  • Set 1 & 2 Flashcard kit
  • Support materials for Sets 1 and 2
  • The Rainbow Coloring Book
  • Box of 24 crayons
  • Instructor Guide
  • Program Introduction
A great way to start a beginning reader out right. Includes 54 books in all. Normally all of these materials would cost $80, order now and save $10.00.

OR, you could purchase the Deluxe read to Succeed Gift Set for $160.

Deluxe Read to Succeed Gift Set
This 2010 gift set includes:
  • Little Books Set One
  • Little Books Set Two
  • Little Books Set Three
  • Little Books Set Four
  • 91 Little Books Total
  • Four set holder shelf organizers
  • Sam The Lion Puppet (Really Roars!)
  • Flashcard Kit for Sets 1-4
  • Support materials for Sets 1-4
  • The Rainbow Coloring Book
  • Box of 24 crayons
  • Instructor Guide
  • Program Introduction
Everything a beginning reader needs. Includes 91 books in all. Normally all of these materials would cost $180.00, order now and save $20.

You can also order a combination of these items individually if you would like to.

I received everything in the Deluxe Kit minus the set holders, the lion puppet, the coloring book, and the crayons. 

I would recommend getting the Deluxe Kit if possible. I did not receive the set holders, but I am seriously considering ordering them. They would be very nice to have.
I am also thinking of ordering my son the coloring book. I think he would like it.

I feel I must be honest and say that there is one negative about these readers, in my opinion.
I really wish they were more sturdy. They are basically just printer paper, and they don't hold up well to a lot of wear and tear.  The covers are more like Card Stock. After my son reads one a few times, it starts to get wrinkled, and bent. 

I feel that for the price, they are an investment, and I wish them to hold up for the long haul. I would want them to last through multiple children for the investment made in them.

That said, I would still purchase, and use them. The children don't read the same book but a few times anyway, so they won't get too much damage, but I really do wish they were a bit more sturdy. That would make them perfect.

I do plan on purchasing the last 4 sets, if that tells you anything. 

I have used other readers that are a little more sturdy, but the size of the books are very small, and they do not lay everything out for you like these do. The I See Sam readers are about 5 1/2 in. x 8 in. 
I really like this size.

And the amount of books that you get in each set of I See Sam readers is double the amount I have seen in other reader sets. 
I believe that this is crucial. It gives your child more time on each sound, and more practice putting those sounds together. 

I really, really like this program, and will continue to use it with my son, and any future children that the Lord blesses me with. I highly recommend this program, and I think you will love it just as much as I do.


*I have received 4 sets of readers, and accompanying items from I See Sam, free, as a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, in return for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been given to me.*


Tristan said...

It is neat to read how it worked for you. It did not work out so well for us, but every family is different - what a blessing that there are materials out there for each of us!

Mama to 3 all-boy boys said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Glad it worked well for your son!

Wordless Wednesday

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday !