I started looking at Direct Instruction programs after I read “Super Crunchers.” It’s the first I had heard of Direct Instruction, and I wanted to learn more, so I did a lot of research.
At the time, my five-year-old son was in kindergarten. He had been assessed as “gifted” when he was younger, but it was clear that he wasn’t going to get reading anytime soon. And I feared that he would be diagnosed with dyslexia or some other malady. So we hit the books in November of kindergarten.
I tried Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but it just didn’t click for us. I’m a stay-at-home dad and I hadn’t taught anything before, and it was clear that it would be a battle. And I didn’t like the orthography because he was also going to school, and I was afraid it would confuse him (although it probably wouldn’t have).
Then I found Funnix. It was much, much better. I didn’t have to learn pacing and pronunciation. And the stories were very fun.
My son couldn’t read the first passage, but he knew his letters quite well, so we started on the accelerated track. And it worked! I set an accelerated schedule, and eventually skipped the workbook work as I assumed he would learn to write at his school. And I wanted him to get to the point where he liked to read on his own.
We finished Funnix Beginning Reading in record time because of these shortcuts. But then I realized we weren’t ready for Funnix 2 because he wasn’t fluent enough. So we went back and did some fluency exercises with the words in Funnix Beginning Reading. Eventually, it was clear that he was ready for Funnix 2, and we’ve been doing it ever since (he’s on lesson 76).
He is now a rock solid decoder (he can decode multisyllabic words he has seen before), and has measured reading speeds from 90-130 WPM on the Funnix 2 passages. I have purchased Reading Mastery III and I’m sure he’s ready for it, but he said that he just loves the stories in Funnix 2, and wants to finish it.
So, to summarize, I like Funnix because it was easier for me to do, the stories are a ton of fun, and it has made my son a terrific reader.
I have learned a lot about reading instruction since this experience, and I’m a much better teacher now. But I would still pick Funnix over Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons because I don’t have to work as hard and the stories are a TON of fun.
I recommended Funnix to a couple families and they are using it.