Reading Reflex

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  • Reviewed on Wednesday, October 5, 2011
  • Grades Used: 3 year old
  • Dates used: 2010
I taught my 3-year-old to read using Reading Reflex. It took a while to copy, laminate and cut up the letters, and then implement the envelope system, but once this was done, it was an easy program to use. I laminated the letters to make them more durable, so that I will be able to use them with my other children.

The best part about the program, from my son's perspective, was that the games were fun, and he really enjoyed our daily lessons.

Once we were halfway through the book, and he was reading four and five-letter words with blends, I quit the curriculum, thinking that anything further would be too advanced for his age. But he had been introduced to reading, and he didn't stop! He improved upon his reading skills using the Starfall website, and of course, books, and is now 4 years old, and reading at a grade three level.

I think that the most valuable thing about the book is the advice it gives about keeping lessons fun and novel. I took all of the suggestions like setting up a special space for our lessons, and keeping the materials new and interesting by buying new crayons and supplies and not allowing him to use them except during our special lesson time.

It's a great curriculum for early readers. They only have to know the sounds the letters make before beginning. My son couldn't yet write, and found writing frustrating, so I modified the lessons by allowing him to select letters from a magnetic alphabet in order to spell words, instead of expecting him to write the word by memory.

Even though I didn't end up needing to use the second half of the book, I think it was an incredibly valuable resource, and I plan to use the same method again with my other children, when they are old enough.


  • Reviewed on Friday, July 18, 2008
  • Grades Used: Kindergarten
  • Dates used: 2008
This is my first time teaching reading. I came across Reading Reflex and thought it sounded easier than teaching phonics. It teaches phonics from a different angle and leaves you in more control over how to teach the lessons, as opposed to 100 easy lessons that has it all scripted out.
I've decided to stop using Reading Reflex because I've found I need more structure. I'm paranoid that I won't cover everything or that I'm doing it wrong. The book is very hard to follow and understand.
I think Reading Reflex would be useful to teach remedial reading if the phonics approach does not click with your child. It may also be useful if you've already taught a child to read and are more confident doing it.


  • Reviewed on Saturday, March 1, 2008
  • Grades Used: 1st
  • Dates used: 2008
My daughter was learning how to read by whole word approach or memorization. She was not understanding how to sound out the words, and traditional phonics was not making sense to her. Using Reading Reflex has helped in this area immensely. She is now developing the ability to read new words by sounding them out.

I think what works is how Reading Reflex teaches phonics the opposite way of most phonics programs. Instead of the child looking at the word and trying to figure out what sound the letters would make, you say the word, and have the child show you which letters make up the word. RR points out that letters don't "make" sounds, but that the sounds in words are represented by "sound pictures" or letters. This seems to make more sense to her and her reading has improved.

It is hard to understand the method at first. I had to read through the book a couple of times to understand it. It is also a little tedious to cut out all of the letters and games. However, once we started, it went fairly well, and became pretty easy. I was pleased at her progress.


  • Reviewed on Tuesday, September 27, 2005
  • Grades Used:
  • Dates used:
When my oldest child was 8, I was homeschooling and heard such rave reviews about Reading Reflex. I rushed out and bought the book. I was so sure this would be the cure all for his reading struggles. The authors of this book and their website make it out like all children who struggle with reading struggle because they haven't had proper instruction, or have been taught incorrectly. I spent a year and a half using their program, following it to the tee. I made sure my son didn't use letter names and we didn't teach any phonics rules, just Reading Reflex. I expected great progress. After a year and a half I still had a child that could not read, write, or spell. I soon sent my child back to school to the "experts". Flash forward to now and I am homeschooling again with a child who still struggles extremely with reading, writing, and spelling. After years of guilt, feeling like I failed my son because I must have been doing something wrong with their wonderful, perfec t program, I have finally realized that learning disabled children have massive difficulties learning to read no matter which program they use.

Reading Reflex makes their book out to be a cure all. Their reading program, actually does a wonderful job teaching spelling. For example, they teach all the ways to make the "A" sound (like in cake). What they don't do, because they are insistent on not using letters, is teach all the sounds that the letter "A" makes. Because Reading Reflex insists teaching phonics doesn't work, they don't teach any of the rules of phonics that help with dividing syllables and when to use which sound. I have finally resorted to making my own program for my son using flashcards (another thing Reading Reflex insists doesn't work) and supplementary materials that I have purchased from Educators Publishing Services. We have seen some great progress, but I also know now that these types of learning disabilities take YEARS to overcome and lots and lots of love and patience. You aren't going to find that in a book.