Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Joyce Herzog - Scaredy Cat Reading System Level 2 Review

Do you have a child scared of reading? I did 2 years ago. Well if you answered yes then Joyce Herzog's Scaredy Cat Reading System might be the answer for your child. Joyce Herzog is a teacher and author! She has many fabulous educational products which assist  teachers and parents and simplify teaching for you and learning for your students. Joyce has taught disabled students in private and public schools for many years and has been working with homeschooling families for two decades.

A moms review:
Not only have we had the pleasure of reviewing the Scaredy Cat Reading System Level 2, but we also had the pleasure of meeting Joyce and her husband at the Teach Them Diligently Convention this past weekend. She has such a fabulous heart and cares deeply about helping children.

We really enjoy reviewing reading programs because well two years ago my 5 year old little girl said she wanted to learn to read. But after many tears and frustrations we had to stop because she wasn't quite ready. Over the last two years we have tried many programs, some of them worked and others have not. My little girl is now 7 and reading quite a bit on her own now. It is my hope that by providing you with reviews about different reading programs, that you will be able to find a program that will work for your child without having to go through the tears and frustrations that we did.

Scaredy Cat Reading System Level 2 is mastery based phonics system presented in a lesson-by-lesson format. The Scaredy Cat Reading System teaches children reading, spelling and other language skills. SCRS L2 specifically covers short or 'scared' vowels in words, sentences and stories. Words such as cat, fox, bug, etc are covered. Children also learn reading comprehension which is vitally important and something that most reading curriculum's lack.

Only a few words are introduced at a time so children don't feel overwhelmed. The vowels are strongly emphasized in Scaredy Cat Reading System Level 2. Learning all the sounds vowels make has been a big struggle so I was glad that I choose this level for her because it's been a big help. The words and lessons are broken into vowel groups: Abby Alligator, Izzy Iguana, Olly Otter, Uncle Umpire and Edna Eskimo.

What is included:
There are lots of great goodies in the SCRS L2 reading package.

-Teachers Manual with lesson plans and teaching audio CD (which includes the Letter Master video, Lessons and fun catchy songs)
-Student Activity Book (SAB)
-Learning Kit with letter and word flash cards, colorful games, magnetic letters and pictures
-The Story of Letter Master booklet
-SCRS L2 Reader

How we used it:
When the package first arrived I did what I always do which is read the teacher manual and prep any necessary materials. There are 33 pages in the teacher manual. There is an introduction to the program, entrance and exit exams, teacher training, Scaredy Cat concepts, how to teach spelling, how to use the games, daily menu plans, additional activity suggestions and more. It took me a few days to fully grasp the program concept and prepare the materials which involved cutting the cards and magnets. Then it was time to get started.

I utilized the program with my 7 year old daughter, Gwyn, who can currently read about 130 words. There is a placement test that will assist you with choosing the correct SCRS level (there are 3). We worked with the Scaredy Cat Reading 3 times a week (it's been a busy month with homeschool conventions so we haven't been getting much homeschool done). I will say though we have been able to easily utilize the program on the road because it all fits nicely into a large ziplock bag. There are 10 lessons in all in the SCRS L2 program. Joyce mentions it should take up to a year to complete each level of the Scaredy Cat reading program but this will obviously depend on your child's progress. We just started lesson 2, so we have been working on lesson 1 for about 5 weeks.

Each lesson includes numerous activities. Some of these activities utilize the flash cards, games, student workbook and audio CD that are included. However for some of the others you may need additional materials such as newspapers, magazines, your child's favorite book, construction paper, etc. Or your child may even think up some of their own games like Gwyn did. She loved playing hide and seek with the vowel cards. When she would find them all she would put them in order and chant the rhyme.

My favorite part of the teachers guide and the part you REALLY need to be sure to read is the "Daily Menu Plan." This section really helps you better understand how to plan each day especially if you are a very busy homeschool family like us!

There are Appetizer Days, Main Course Days, Salad Days and Desert Days. This plan helps you keep variety, yet have structured times. These are suggestions and again you may find a particular schedule that works better for your family. Scaredy Cat reading is meant to be fun. You should go with the flow and there should be no forced drudgery.

Because of everything we had going on we had one main course day, a salad day and appetizer day. I would generally let Gwyn pick which activities she wanted to do. She really loved the variety of the different activities and it was indeed fun for her!!

Each day we would start by listening to the audio CD lesson (there is an audio script as well if you prefer to read it yourself). Next we would review/drill the vowels/consonants (and later in lesson 2 words). Then we would complete some games/activities. And finally we would have a brief test. There is an additional recommended step before game playing which is working with sentences/spelling however since we just started lesson 2 we haven't really done this yet. We utilized Scared Cat Reading about 30 minutes a day.

Wrap up:
I loved the flexibility of this program and how easily it can be adapted to suite your families needs. It is multi-sensory program and great program for all learning styles.

There is only one thing that I see eventually being an issue for Gwyn in this program...and that is the timed test. The goal of the program is to get your child reading 30 words per minute (which is awesome). However my daughter majorly breaks under pressure and is very hard on herself if she fails at something. Because I don't want to have any set backs with her reading I am planning to time her when the time comes but I will not let her know I am doing so. When she accomplishes the one minute goal I will tell her what she has accomplished and praise her. But if she doesn't I plan to say nothing to her about it and just keep practicing with her. The teacher manual does address the timed test and provides some tips.

My only other minor complaint was the teachers manual which could have been organized a little better. I found myself having to re-read parts of the manual to better understand how to utilize the program. I ended up basically doing my own thing. We found what worked for us and utilized all the resources in a way that best suited us. Gwyn enjoyed the program and thought it was fun and that is all that matters!!!

Free resources:
-Samples of Scaredy Cat Reading System Level 2
-FREE Hints and Articles
-FREE Downloads - including placement tests, games, catalog and more

Gwyn review (7 yrs old):
I like the magnet tiles and games. They are lots of fun and I am learning all about A,E,I,O,U. I learned to read a few more words I didn't know.

Links to follow:
-Joyce Herzog Website
-Joyce Herzog Facebook page 

Where to buy:
The Scaredy Cat Reading System Level 2 can be purchased for $75.00 directly off of Joyce Herzog's website. You can also purchase additional student workbooks for $30.00, readers for $5.00 and read and draw readers (20 additional stories) for $15. For the other levels visit this page.

Click here for more Joyce Herzog reviews (multiple products not just the reading systems) from the The Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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