Disclosure: I received this product free through the Homeschool Review Crew
We were recently given the opportunity to review Failure Free Reading Home Edition. We were given a six months subscription to the program. One of my primary goals for my homeschool is proficiency and love of reading. Teaching reading can be overwhelming. I am glad programs exist to help in the process.
Failure Free Reading: What Is It?
Failure Free Reading Home Edition is geared to help struggling readers to read with “meaning and expression.” The product is online with downloadable, printable resources. This is non-phonics approach and is designed to meet visual and auditory learners. When I was working on my Early Childhood Education Degree in college, I remember when we were learning how to teach children to read. Our professor said that she had seen trends come and go over the years. She said that, at the time, we were in a “whole language approach” to teaching reading, but in the next few years in would likely swing to a “phonics approach.” Wouldn’t you know … when my kids were beginning to read, the curriculum being sold was very phonics heavy. While there is value in both approaches, whole language and phonics, I don’t think you can use one exclusively. I have a child who learned to read completely without phonics and is a brilliant student who reads well, spells well, etc. I have another child who relies heavily on rules and phonics to get her through the day. Failure Free Reading Home Edition uses a whole language approach. According to research three out of ten students do not easily understand phonics and need a different approach to reading.
When I first logged onto the Failure Free Reading Home Edition website, I was very overwhelmed. The homepage (before you log in) has a lot of words! Visually it was a lot to take in. Once I logged in through the parent portal, I was taken to the above screen. This is where you can add students, you can update their information, find their log in pin, access their lessons and reports, and complete the diagnostic test.
When my child logs in, she is taken to this page first where she selects her specific log in picture (one that I set up through the parent portal).
She is then taken to this page where she can click to launch her lesson.
Above is an example page of one of the lessons. The instructions are given auditorily with visual cues. The online lessons include guided audio instruction and are designed to take about 20-30 minutes of independent work for the student to complete. Lessons begin with a short video definition of vocabulary words, there are 5 new words in each unit for a total of 30 new vocabulary words in each level.
When I click on the “Instruct” tab on the parent dashboard, I can access downloadable materials that accompany the lessons. There you can find an illustrated reader, teacher’s manual, and independent activities. I can also access reports to see how my child is progressing.
Above is an example of an activity from the “Independent Activities.” This reinforces the vocabulary from the lesson.
Failure Free Reading Home Edition- Pros:
- Ease of use for student: Once I taught my child to log in, she was able to navigate the site easily and access her lessons. This did not require much hands on help from me. This is great when you have multiple children you are teaching in the home. It helps create a sense of independence as well as free the parent to move about to other children.
- Easily navigated parent dashboard. Once I got past my initial over stimulation of the home page, I was able to see the ease of the parent dashboard. It is straighforward and easy to find what you need.
- Straight forward approach. This is not a flashy program. It is straight forward and gets right down to the teaching of reading.
- Teaches vocabulary and reading comprehension- both of which are needed skills, especially when it comes to tests such as the ACT and SAT.
- Printable activities. This component adds to the experience and gives opportunity to put pencil to paper.
Failure Free Reading Home Edition- Not So Pros
- The diagnostic test was long. We could not back out and continue the next day. When we tried to quit, we were told that leaving would mean we would have to start over completely the next time. The same is true for the lessons.
- In my opinion (and my child’s opinion), the voice is dry and the inflection is off. The reading is not natural… like there are no pauses between sentences. It sounds like a run-on sentence. Unfortunately, this was a turn off for my child and she was not interested in continuing the program. It reminded her too much of a different congitive, computer based therapy she has done before that was like pulling teeth… so maybe take that observation with a grain of salt.
- Grammatical errors. Now… I am not an expert. I am sure you can read through this blog post and find many grammatical errors. Maybe I am wrong, but when we were doing one of the lessons and it was going through the reader, the use of commas seemed out of place and excessive. I did not, however, notice this in the downloadable, indepedent reader.
As a whole, I found Failure Free Home Edition to be an excellent, whole language approach, reading program. I can see how this would be refreshing for those who have struggling readers. The program is well deisgned and informed with years of research and experience. At this time, it is not a great fit for our family, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work for yours!
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