Teaching Reading at Home and School

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Sarah Wilson

  • Reviewed on Saturday, March 22, 2003
  • Grades Used: Beginning to remedial
  • Dates used: March 2003 - Present
Thank heaven for Frank Rogers !
My son is 8 and a struggling reader. He attended public school in first grade and began reading instruction with the whole word method. I basically had to teach him from the beginning with reading. We used Alpha-phonics in the first half of the year. It is a good program and he showed slight improvement. He wasn't in any means a fluent reader.
Then I stumbled on TATRAS. I checked it out and thought why not try it out, especially since the price is so low. You can get it for 39.95 from love to learn. When I received it in the mail I opened it up and I was very overwhelmed at first. The manuel didn't seem very organized at first. I just stuck the tape in and sat down with the book and listened. After hearing the tape and reading the book it all is very easy and actually seems to make sense the way the manuel is laid out.
It has a beginning readers section and one called the fast track for remedial readers. I decided to start at the beginning since my son didn't really have a very good phonics instruction.
You start with the first 8 phonics sounds and you don't move on until they have the sound of each one mastered. Then you go on to the next eight. Make sure to keep on practicing the previous sounds.
After only the second lesson the results were astounding. I could not believe how much smoother he was reading. He even noticed the difference. He wanted to go to the library and get a book to read by himself. He used to struggle with simple three or four letter words. Now he just reads them smoothly. I was so excited and relieved when I saw the difference. Finally we have found the program for us. I felt like running down the block telling everyone to get TATRAS.
This program has worked really well, of course there are other factors involved. He knew all of the consonent and short vowel sounds already. Plus I think he was actually ready to read.
I do wish I had found it a long time a go. Another great part is the lessons are short and sweet. Which is great because young children don't always have the attention span to sit there and do one thing for a long period of time. The ease of use for the program is great for parents especially when you can't remember everything. I will definatly use this again when my daughter is ready to read. Thank you Frank Rogers.


  • Reviewed on Thursday, June 20, 2002
  • Grades Used: Elementary grades
  • Dates used: since 2000

I just thought you might like a few notes on Teaching Reading at Home & School, escpecially if you might be looking for a good reading program. It is based on the Writing Road to Reading, by Romalda Spalding, and was used as a supplement to that book until Mrs. Sanseri wrote The WISE Guide to Spelling, which updates and organizes the 26 spelling lists and ads even more flow to the whole program.

I found the program while searching for spelling rules, thinking I'd supplement the program we were currently using. In this search, I happened to get Writing Road to Reading out of the library, and realized I'd hit a goldmine. Then found out that Wanda Sanseri had done TRAH, and decided to purchase that book. I'm very glad I did.

Wanda Sanseri has done a wonderful job of laying out TRAH. I'll try to explain the basics of the program. First, a child learns the sounds of the first 26 phonograms (the basic alphabet sounds). So when you learn the sounds for 'a', you learn /a/ (short sound), /A/ (long sound) and /ah/ (as in 'wasp'). For any phonogram with more than one sound, you learn the MOST COMMON sound first, next most common second, and third most common last, etc.

Then you learn what consonants and vowels are, and the difference between them. Then you go on to learn WHY the vowels say the sounds the do when they do. As in, 'a' says /A/ in apron because 'a' says /A/ at the end of a syllable.

Then you start learning spelling words, laid out in lists, putting to use the things you have covered thus far.

The thing is, when you teach the alphabet phonograms with a beginner, you also teach how to print them. So it is also a printing program. Then you can transition into cursive later, so it is also a writing program. When you do excercises with the spelling list words, you can be learning grammar, or composition, or creative writing, so it also covers those aspects of language arts, and you won't necessarily have to buy special programs for each aspect, most likely, in the younger age levels.

You can give your already-reading child a diagnostic test, to see what grade level she would be at spelling-wise. And at certain points, you administer the diagnostic test to measure their progress. You don't need a lot of fancy stuff to run the program, and as there is very little non-consumable materials, it is very cost effective.

Let me sum it up this way: It's not fluff'n'stuff! It's good, basic, solid phonics, that uses a lot of repitition, verbalizing, kinesthetics, and analytical thinking to CEMENT the decoding and encoding processes into the children's brains. I obviously think highly of the program! LOL I was taught to read using phonics, and I always thought I must have been blessed with a pretty good program when I was going to school. After studying and now using this program, I feel that this method is superior to what I had back in 1972, in a little town's school that still believed in the value of teaching phonics. If you have the tools to encode and decode words, you will be set for life, and I do believe that this program will give your kids those tools.

TRAH can also be use to remediate poor reading skills in older children, and even adults. They simply start at square one, or wherever the diagnostic tests put them, and go through it step by step at their own pace.