I first started using Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read with my son as one of this year’s--many--New Year’s Resolutions. But unlike other resolutions, such as losing weight and getting my Master’s degree, this was one I actually followed through with.
It was a time of new beginnings. Eli was five and had just started Kindergarten. Since his birthday is late, my husband and I had planned to give him the “gift of a year” and hold off sending him to Kindergarten until he was six. We had enrolled him in a private early childhood school, but it turned out that it wasn’t a good match for him. So, after some consideration and a whole lot of angst, we pulled Eli out of the private setting in December and enrolled him in public Kindergarten. It was January and he had already missed half of the year.
When the public school evaluated Eli, they found he wasn’t reading, nor was he able to sound out (or decode) words at all. Unfortunately, as anyone who lives in New England knows, Mother Nature hasn’t been terribly supportive of kids going to school in 2011. During the first month of Kindergarten, we practically had more snow days than school days. While the kids loved it, all of the time off made this already Type-A mommy stress out even more. I couldn’t imagine how my little guy was ever going to catch up. My husband and I began to entertain the idea of holding him back for another year of Kindergarten.
At the same time, my company had just purchased Hooked on Phonics. I had heard about the reading program, but had never used it myself. So, we decided to give it a try with Eli. It couldn’t hurt, right? When I popped in the Kindergarten Level 1 DVD for the first time, my son (who normally isn’t allowed to watch TV) was mesmerized. “More!” he demanded when it was over. As a mom who works full time outside the home, I thought, “This is great!” and I promptly made dinner. Then feeling a tad guilty, I left the mac ‘n cheese on the table and spent a few minutes to go through the workbook lesson with him. Afterward (no kidding!) he read his first little “story.” Sure, it wasn’t a Pulitzer Prize winner. It pretty much consisted of “Hat. Cat. Pat cat. Cat sat . . .” But I’m telling you, he DID it himself! He was hooked. So what if dinner was cold? My kid actually read something! What more can I ask?