We have had lots of great products to review lately. A number of them have been related to the task of learning to read and write. The ABeCeDarian Interactive A Workbook from the ABeCeDarian Company is one of those which we were given the opportunity to review. While you can purchase physical books from them, we received the Interactive Workbook and the Teacher Manual – A– both of these in digital form.
ABeCeDarian is a research based, multisensory decoding program for beginning readers; it is designed for ages five and up, to assist them in learning to read and write. ABeCeDarian Interactive A Workbook is designed to be used online however while this can be used on a regular computer, we found that it worked best on our iPad (this can also be used on Kindle Fire as well) where my son and daughter could use their fingers to trace the letters as we went along. Michael Bend, Ph.D. is the founder and president and has created this phonemic-based leveled reading program which teaches students from non-reader (Level A or Kindergarten) all the way through 6th-grade (Level D).
One thing I found to be a bit of a struggle was that this program is more student/teacher-led. This is not something you can just set your child up with and walk away from. While the lessons are fairly short, since there is no sound or method of assessment, it is very important for momma (teacher) to be fully involved in this one. The program will allow the student to move on to the next page without completing the prior one, and while I do appreciate the flexibility this allows, at the same time, it is a challenge for my younger two who, perhaps, have not truly mastered one thing and yet move on to another. At the same time, I think its nice for my younger ones to have the ability to move about in their work. My daughter preferred the writing portion of this; we have to go over letters and the sound they make fairly often right now.
My older son however preferred spelling and reading to the writing portion. So in some ways, the ability to navigate back and forth can be a good thing. And of course, I admit, it encourages me to have that extra time with each one of them as we go through the lessons every day. I can see where we are challenged and also where we are doing well. I tease my son that he and daddy have golf to bond over, and he and I have letters to bond over. haha
I admit it, I’m definitely more of a fan of physical books than digital materials. While I try to live in a more minimalistic way at the same time it seems much easier to home school my kiddos with physical materials.
ABeCeDarian’s interactive workbook however is a nice medium for us for right now. Both my son (6) and my daughter (4) have a fun time with this program. It isn’t too simple but also is not so advanced. The lessons are very reasonable in length too for both of them. I can work with them on this, even though they are each in a different place and it encourages them to strengthen and advance their skills. I do wish there was something that marked where we left off each day as I can be a bit forgetful (four kids does that you know) and so some days after it loads, we spend more time trying to determine where we left off. With my daughter its not such a big deal since the review is a good thing for her, but my son can get a bit temperamental if he has to wait too long or repeat the same thing too often. He is really enjoying the reading and spelling skills he has gained from this however.
This really does have a good variety of exercises though to help with all things reading, from letter recognition to sounds and basic reading/writing/spelling:
- Writing letters and words (we used our finger on the iPad)
- Creating Words from Letters
- Reading Pages
- Sentence Fill in Activities
The ABeCeDarian Interactive A student Workbook is $14.95 for one year and if you need or want to have ongoing access after the year ends it is $4.95 for each additional year. The PDF of the Teacher’s Manual – A is free, or if you prefer a print version you can get one for $9.95. Not bad at all if you ask me. It does need some tweaking (loading time is rather slow) but its definitely a great idea! If you need something to help encourage reading and writing, this is a great option, especially if you have more time to be really hands on with your kiddos. As a mother of four, I admit this challenged me to really take the time to sit with my two and work through the lessons within this one. Again, I really do believe this program has great potential and while it didn’t work out so well for us, we are planning to complete the 48 lessons within. It’s a great combination of reading and writing (I love how both are included!).