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Review of Pre-Reader and Early Reader
Reprinted with permission from: homeschoolchristian.com reviews

The Tracey Tutor Program is nothing short of amazing! It is a gradual, incremental, thorough, and comprehensive program that will teach you to tutor your older child (or adult student) to overcome learning disabilities and obstacles, and become an outstanding reader.

"The Tracey Tutor Program
is nothing short of
amazing!"
This program was written by Stephanie Tracey, a mother whose dyslexic daughter was in sixth grade and could not read. Despite years of instructions, the schools had been unable to teach her to read. They said she "just needed to try harder," or that she "wasn’t as smart as her brother."
Mrs. Tracey would not accept that answer, and set about to teach her daughter to read. After succeeding at what the schools could not do, Mrs. Tracey worked as a professional Reading Tutor for nearly twenty years, then teamed with Barbara Markland to create a package that other tutors could use to achieve the same successes.

What does the program contain?

First, a look at what it does not contain: There are no dancing bears; no cute catchy songs or nursery rhymes. There aren’t any pictures.
It has nothing that will make an older student feel embarrassed or babied. And, there is nothing that will distract a student of any age from the task of reading.

What it does have is a very gradual and thorough, slow-moving, master-based program that begins at the very first reading lessons (What is a short /a/sound? How do we combine a short /a/ with a /t/ to make a two-letter syllable?) Then it moves on to more and more complex spelling combinations, until your student has thoroughly mastered the art of beginning reading. It covers the short vowel words, consonant-vowel-consonant words, words beginning and ending with blends of two or three consonants, digraphs, r-controlled words, soft /c/ and /g/, /tch/, /dge/, /ng/, /nk/, and common suffixes and how they are added. It does not move on to more difficult phonics concepts, such as diphthongs, long vowels, silent e words, or combinations of vowels.
(Note from Tracey Tutor – These more difficult phonics concepts are covered in Intermediate Reader and Advanced Reader, which were not reviewed by homeschoolchristian.com.)

The Pre-Reader Tutor Manual

The Pre-Reader Tutor Manual is a set of ten lessons which teach the short vowel sounds, consonant sounds, and how to
combine a vowel and consonant to form a two-letter word or syllable. The packet works with one short vowel at a time,
combined with many different consonants. These are the building blocks for later words which will end in two letters –
such as adding a /p/ to /an/ to get pan. This manual includes a Powerpoint DVD with an on-screen discussion of the concepts
being taught, and the “Tracey 2-Tap Pre-Reader” set of manipulatives as well as the “Lots of Letters” packet which teach
introductory reading mastery of the two-letter words or syllables. This set is for the student who has not yet grasped the
concept of basic letter sounds and of blending two letters, and helps ensure a solid foundation is built in this essential skill
before the student begins to attempt the reading of words. This packet stands alone, and is not part of Early Reader.
YELLOW Pre-Reader

The Early Reader Tutor Manual

The Early Reader is keyed to the centerpiece textbook, Dictation Imagination!, which has twenty-eight mastery-based lessons
with drills and word lists of increasing difficulty, sequential learning lessons, lessons that teach a single concept, reinforcement
of mastered concepts, and spelling drills. Each chapter of Dictation Imagination! is keyed to a packet of manipulative cards
in the Dictation Companion , which includes mix-and-match cards, flash cards, and cards which can be folded or moved about
to reinforce new combinations.
BLUE Early Reader

Radical Readers and Teacher Workbooks

The Radical Readers and their accompanying Teacher Workbooks provide practice in reading comprehension and reading of sentences, as well as writing practice involving the mastered words. This is especially helpful as some struggling readers do fine with flash cards, but have much more difficulty with sentences. Again, there are no pictures, so students will not be insulted, distracted from reading, or be able to guess at the sentences. The student will practice reading a huge variety of sentences using nearly every possible combination of the words they have mastered.

Divide & Win Workbook

The Divide & Win Workbook teaches how syllables work, and patterns for anticipating when vowels will be pronounced as schwa. The package also includes a Spelling Drill Sheets booklet, Tracey Tablet, and My Tracey Board to practice writing, spelling and syllabilication.

Tracey Tapper

A stand-alone component of the package is the Tracey Tapper packet, which is for tactile drills of vowel-consonant words and syllables, as well as for drills of consonant-vowel-consonant words. This includes words that end in /ck/, double consonants such as /zz/, and beginning with /qu/, and those that begin or end with "letter clusters" – groups of two or three consonant blends. The Tracey Tapper will teach words of three to six letters in length which involve a short vowel and two consonants or sets of consonant blends.

"This is an outstanding program
that should work for any child
who is capable of
learning to read."
The program uses tactile, visual, and audio materials throughout, so that
whether your learner is kinesthetic, visual, or auditory, he or she will be
able to excel. The Tracey Tutor Program is strongly phonics-based, and
designed especially for the struggling reading student, regardless of age.

When this program teaches a concept, it does not give two or three examples and expect the student to catch on to the rest. Instead, it teaches every variation on that concept. For instance, with the word family /at/ joined with a single starting consonant, you could expect to find not just /cat/ and /hat/, but also /bat/, /fat/, /mat/, /pat/, /rat/, /sat/, /tat/, and /vat/, as well as nonsense words that follow the pattern (these are thought to be especially helpful with phonics since they ensure that the concept is understood). Each concept is then drilled until it is easy. The drill involves not only visual reading, but also uses the tactile materials that come with the program.

RECOMMENDATION: This is an outstanding program that should work for any child who is capable of learning to read – and for quite a few students who have been deemed incapable of learning to read!

It is idea for the student who has reading difficulties, is past the earliest grade levels and just isn’t “getting it” for some reason – whether diagnosed
or undiagnosed. It is well suited for the older elementary or teen student, for adults, for those struggling to learn to read English as a second language,
or for students with special challenges such as dyslexia or Down syndrome.

If your student has been exhibiting meltdowns or seems to despair of ever learning to read, this program will help get him or her focused and
enjoying reading again. Because it is so gradual and incremental, learning will seem much easier and, therefore, not be so daunting or overwhelming.

Because it is all taught on a mature level with no songs, pictures, or other content associated with very young children, it will not insult or embarrass
the more mature student. The style of presentation is exactly what you might expect if you spent a lot of money for someone to come to your home
and teach an older child or adult to read – straightforward, no-frills presentation, practice, and drill.

This program would also work with a normal beginning reader since it is brilliantly done and includes no distracting pictures or gimmicks. But since it is so gradual and drill-intensive, it is definitely suited to the struggling, slightly more mature students who needs tutoring than to the accelerated beginning learner.

If you want a thorough program that will give you confidence as a teacher, ensure that you teach a struggling student effectively, and leave no learning gaps in the first part of phonics and reading instruction, this program may be the perfect one for you! "This program ... is brilliantly done
and includes no distracting
pictures or gimmicks."