Dr. Joyce Herzog has put together the Scaredy Cat Reading System Level 3 system that I was able to review. Don’t worry it doesn’t start at Level 3, that’s just the level I reviewed! First I’ll tell you a little bit about Dr. Joyce Herzog. She has taught elementary and learning disabled students for twenty-five years in both public and private schools. She has been a speaker, author and consultant for over twenty-five years. You can find her still speaking at conventions and in webinars. Dr. Herzog offers many different products on her website.
Now onto the Scaredy Cat series. The series is based on phonics mastery but arranged in a way designed to make sense instead of jumping around. It is also designed to teach your child to think not just memorize. The Scaredy Cat series is designed to work with students of all abilities including those who are dyslexic.
In the Level 3 package I received all of this.
Riley was anxiously looking on while I took this picture. There is a Teacher Manual, Student Reader Book, Student Activity Book, Flashcards, a dice with letters on it, Game boards, two cd’s with lessons 1-8 on the first one and 9-15 on the second one and a book about the Letter Master Who Gave the Letters Their Jobs. Let on in the Teacher’s Manual it explains that the Letter Master book is not a part of Level 3 but needs to be purchased separately. I’m assuming it was included in my package for my review.
Here is an example of one of the pages from the student activity book. They are supposed to draw a line from the sentence to the picture that matches it.
I remember being taught about short and long vowels when I was learning to read. What the heck is a long vowel anyway? I don’t think I ever fully understood the concept. In the foreword of the Teacher’s Manual it explains how that was changed in this system to brave and scared vowels. That immediately made sense to me and I haven’t thought much about vowel sounds in a long time! Kids remember things like that not some arbitrary rules that don’t apply consistently.
Some students already know how to read but may not have either achieved mastery or don’t know the rules behind different words. Riley is not in that category but Jahnna is. There is a SCRS (Scaredy Cat Reading System) Express that covers all fifteen rules and gives you words and sentence lists for practice. I’ll be ordering that for her over the summer. I think that it will help her figure out why she reads some words correctly but not others. But that’s a different program so I better get back to the level I reviewed!
The introduction emphasizes that Mastery is the ability to read thirty words per minute and spell nine out of ten randomly chosen words. You should not continue to the next level until mastery has been achieved. There is no rush with this system. You simply go at the child’s pace.
There are three steps to teaching spelling the SCRS way. First is to teach the Scaredy Cat concept in a story and then a song. Second is to have the student spell five to twenty words from their current card pack. Third is to dictate two to ten sentences using the current words for your student to right. That’s it. Fairly simple. Along the way you vary the words from the word pack, play the games but always focusing on mastery.
Riley really enjoyed this program. She is reading more fluently and has started focusing on spelling things correctly instead of trying to spell them phonetically. The games were a lot of fun and I liked that Jahnna was able to play them with her and benefit as well. We used this program four to five times a week for anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes a day. It’s not horribly overwhelming or time consuming which is nice.
At $100 I originally thought this program wouldn’t be worth the cost. That being my own personal opinion before the review. I have been able to review several different programs in this price range over the last four years and I fully admit that this is the only one where I have seen my girls make true progress in a short period of time. I really wish I had known about this program when I was first starting out with Jahnna. It would have saved a lot of wasted time and headaches on both our parts. In case you are not sure which level to start on? There is a download page with a placement test you can give your student to figure it out. This is a program I am completely comfortable recommending to others!
Have you used this program? Let me know what you think in the comments!