Teach America To Read and Spell

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Nikki

  • Reviewed on Friday, July 11, 2008
  • Grades Used: Pre-K, K
  • Dates used: 2006-2008
I really like the idea of TATRAS. However, it didn't produce the results I wanted to see in my son. There seem to be so many different things to do, that we got bogged down. Learning to read wasn't fun for us. We've had much more success just using the Dick and Jane books and easy readers.

I do not regret buying TATRAS, though. When we come across a new phonogram that my son doesn't know, we do learn the TATRAS way of pronouncing the phonogram. I like the idea of learning all the ways a group of letters can be pronounced at the same time. I also believe this will help tremendously with spelling.

If you can make TATRAS work for you, I think it's great. We just have to adapt it to make it work for us.

narnia

  • Reviewed on Wednesday, July 2, 2008
  • Grades Used: 1st
  • Dates used: 2007
I tried this program with my youngest daughter. It really looks like it should work, but it didn't for us. It was waaay to complicated for easy use, so I went back to Alpha-Phonics, and Teach Your Child in 100 Easy Lesons. I haven't completely given up on it yet though. I may use it later, after she is a 'reader', for reinforcement.

HSDadPhD

  • Reviewed on Thursday, December 14, 2006
  • Grades Used: K-1
  • Dates used: 2005-2006
First off, what other reviewers have posted about TATRAS (when it works for you) is fundamentally true. TATRAS is a good, VERY inexpensive way to implement the WRTR (Writing Road to Reading) methodology in a seemingly more 'user-friendly' format. But personally, I felt that it was too confusing, (the manual looks like some biblical charts of the genealogies of the patriarchs!) and did not give results (either from my end, or from my children's side of the equation) soon enough, (even when using the "Penny primer") to make it interesting to me (as teacher) or for them (as students). We started it the same time as the Ball-Stick-Bird reading program; (which complements WRTR texts quite well- cf. my review of that) but while BSB took off, the TATRAS was 'booooring.'

I have thought about it (why I bought it) now for a year or more, after having gone back to the WRTR program variant I initially used; (and when my second child started HS, finally finding something that really was just 'so good,' it 'worked' beyond all my expectations. (see my review of Phonics Road) I now wonder about TATRAS, maybe it was just having to have learned another 'learning curve' on MY PART, to see what TATRAS' author wanted that turned me off, but I soon abandoned it, to languish in its' tiny box. The only thing I thought was of value unique to this program were the pencil holders the author includes, to help assure mastery of the writing instrument for young hands, but those can be had from school supply stores anywhere.

So, am I sorry I bought TATRAS? No, not at all. For roughly $40, it is an AMAZING product. I just couldn't get over the convoluted manner in which it was presented, the lack of interest generated by the "Primer" or the Manual on either side, and the "I can do it better' mentality on an already proven program such as Spalding's WRTR. So, if money is an object of concern in your fledgling HS program, then this would fill a DEFINITE need for someone. But, if education of your ds and dd is 'more precious than rubies,' and getting a sequential, broadly-based phonics/reading/spelling program looking toward the upper elementary grades is what you desire, I'd look somewhere else.

Glimpse

  • Reviewed on Friday, January 27, 2006
  • Grades Used: non-graded phonics reading instruction
  • Dates used: 2006
I decided on TATRAS for my next phonics program.

For my dyslexic children, it will be the last.

This is a terrific program, the only catch being that you actually have to purchase it for under $50.00. And of course then you have to use it!

My last review on here (regarding reading instruction), I wrote about the possible virtues of the new and improved Play 'n Talk program. Well, I decided on TATRAS instead, after researching it. I am sure that Play 'n Talk is one of the best "horizontal" phonics programs available. But that is all it is.

TATRAS uses something taught in the one-room school houses of our forefathers here in America, prior to 1826.

"VERTICAL PHONICS"

It is more intuitive and forthright in my estimation, more coherently workable with the English language.

Frank Rogers is indeed a wonderful man that is in touch and will walk you and your children through every step of the program. He loves to see people get started reading using this wonderful program and will bend over backwards to see it done.

The program is unique.

The children learn all the sounds for each of the phonograms (sound groupings) to proficiency, so that they can then use them to decode words.

They don't concentrate on memorizing words - rather decoding those words to automaticity. The difference in this approach is that the student quickly learns that all words can (and should) be decoded. That this is the correct (best & easiest) way to approach a new word.

FOR EXAMPLE:

The first phonogram is the letter "A". It has three sounds in this program - (schwa is an intuitive sound derived from trying the first three). The sounds are:

(short - although he doesn't use the term) a as in apple
(long - or its name) a as in ate
(short o) a as in wash

So the student (young or old) learns to look at the one-letter phonogram "A" and say the three sounds. This is practiced apart from decoding, so that it comes automatically to try the first sound first when he/she comes to a word.

This is also the order of frequency for the sound's occurence in the English language. So when decoding the child tries the /a/pple sound first, then the /a/te sound, then the w/a/sh sound in that order. Say the word is sat - the child would sound it out very quickly, using the first sounds of "S" and first sound of "A" and first (and only) sound of "T". [sound of - of course meaning sound that that "phonogram" represents.]

After learning a few phonograms they start actually learning to decode words, which they quickly master. There are as many phonograms as are most commonly utilized in the English language, some having quite a few letters.

The words used in the program are the most commonly used in the English language. And the child learns them through decoding, NOT guessing.

Thus the child can quickly read what is pertinent and is empowered to tackle every new word encountered, with confidence, by decoding it.

It's a great program.

Not every phonics program out there delivers results. This one does.

I have tried many, many, programs, including some of the most expensive "professional" ones possible. If this program works for my children, it really works!

The cost is nominal; try it first!

Be prepared for something a little bit different (than you may have tried before) and then flow with it. I highly recommend the Bible reader that you can purchase with the program - and to use it as recommended. I would then follow that with ACE Bible Reading grades 2-4 and your children will be off to a great start in their reading life.

Best wishes in your student's first decoding adventure.
Shannon Glimpse

PS> the website for TATRAS is:

www.verticalphonics.com

Read everything on there, then order. Call Mr. Rogers if unsure how to go about it. Especially call for remedial students, they may be able to take the fast track.

It's fairly simple; it takes a little bit to get used to the rhythm, but after that it flows so easily you can give your children little one minute drills throughout the day, as you please.

My children love it. We purchased the countdown timer, as recommended and they find it fun.

NOT time consuming, very effective, most inexpensive, confidence building, totally supported, what more could you ask for?

Blessings
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