Reading Progress: 5 year old Alan

By: Keith

Alan has hit a major milestone in his reading progress.  Or, rather, he is about to hit that milestone.  He is on the last book of the second grade Hooked on Phonics reading program.  I would also love to give an update on my 6 year old and his reading, but he refuses to read for the camera, and I can’t force him.  Neil has completed everything I can teach him about phonics, and he is an independent reader.  He recently read the book Holes.  It was right about the level that he could understand from a conceptual point of view and from a literary perspective.  Someday I will get him to read on camera.  Until then, I present Alan.

Hooked on Phonics bills itself as a supplement to regular school, but I’m going to be honest. It replaces reading class completely.  See for yourself  and read my updated review of the new Hooked on Phonics K-2 Reading system here.  Alan, although exceptionally smart, is probably not a genius.  Nevertheless, he learned to read painlessly and quickly.  He didn’t do it in school.  Heck, he’s 5 years old; he would have just started Kindergarten.  He would be learning basic phonics sounds now.  This is not the first time I’ve talked about Hooked on Phonics.  It’s because I believe in it.  The only reason they say it is a supplement to school reading rather than a complete replacement is that, and this is an educated guess, they don’t want to upset the teachers’ unions.  Heaven forbid someone would cross the teachers’ unions.   But, I don’t work for HOP so I can tell you the truth.  The truth is that this program is all one needs to teach a kid to read.  The proof is in the pudding as they say.


teaching-the-boysThe process:


1.Every day: Spend 15 minutes to half an hour every day at the Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade levels of the program.  Spend 30-45 minutes a day in the Master Reader level.  Take one day off each week.

2.Be present: Sit and correct every mistake the child makes so as not to allow poor habits to form.  It only takes gentle correction and being present.  Your child will perform.

3.Patience: There are days that your kid will resist and he will have brain meltdowns.  You’ll think he’s lost all his brain cells and forgotten everything.  On those days, go slow and keep it short.  The kid will come back stronger the next day.

4.Read Anywhere: Carry the books with you in your purse or in the car.  Lessons don’t have to take place at home at the kitchen table.  Time gets wasted all day in lines and doctors offices and, well, everywhere.  It’s a good time to read.  Making reading seem like a pastime makes the kids see it as less of a chore.


I am a huge advocate for reading education.  I learned a lot myself going through this program twice with the boys.  It caused me to understand how kids think about reading.  The people who put it together are clearly professional educators because they have structured it in such a way that kids do not consider it work.  Parents, likewise, hardly feel like they’re teaching.  I started the boys at just about their 4th birthdays (Can’t remember exactly).  That means that in a year and a half they progressed through 3 grade levels while all the while never spending more than an average of about 25 minutes a day – Perfect.  Hooked on Phonics is one of the most popular products available, and there’s a reason for that.  It works! 

16 Responses to “Reading Progress: 5 year old Alan”
  1. J. Cruikshank October 2, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    Alan reads so uniquely CUTE!!!!! Fantastic job Alan! His nose was scratched in a different place on another video. What a boy! Don’t count on Neil if he dug his heels in. That apple fell VERY close. hahaha :-)

    • Keith October 3, 2009 at 8:28 am #

      He’s always bumping himself on something. The most recent one is rug burn. Alan’s a funny guy :-)

  2. Basti October 3, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    Hi Keith thanks for visiting my site :)
    Alan is Adorable, thanks for sharing the video. My son can also read now, but it’s his mommy who takes care of that part since she’s the teacher. We’re homeschooling him.

    I really appreciate dads who take time to teach their kids and spend quality time with them while growing up. God Bless you and your whole family.
    .-= Basti´s last blog ..DIY Guides for Quick Fixes and Home Improvements =-.

    • Keith October 3, 2009 at 6:01 pm #

      Thank you, Basti. Alan is indeed a cute kid. Thanks for dropping in and thanks for commenting. Glad to see other families that value reading in the same way :-)

  3. Preston October 4, 2009 at 9:58 am #

    Congratulations to Alan and to you, as well. When my daughter was little, we did not have anything like Hooked on Phonics. But I did subscribe to some kind of reader program during some of her early school year summers. I don’t remember all the details but it involved books and question sheets. She loved it and is still an avid reader today. You are giving your kids such a great gift.
    .-= Preston´s last blog ..My Dog Has Died =-.

    • Keith October 4, 2009 at 10:04 am #

      Thank you Preston! Alan is so easy to teach that I’m not sure if it’s the program or just his personality. Neil, my other one, is a super stubborn personality, but even he was pretty easy to teach. I’m really impressed with what a little patience can do :-) Thank you for the encouragement and thank you for dropping in!

  4. Joan October 5, 2009 at 10:41 pm #

    What a treasure Keith! I mean this is something Alan can show his own kids someday! Great job Alan and great job dad!

  5. Keith October 5, 2009 at 11:49 pm #

    Thanks Joan! I need to make more of these videos. The boys actually enjoy making them (except Neil with the reading).

  6. ruth June 1, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    hi,fantastic video…Sooo cute. well done alan and mum!!! keep up the great work.reading education


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