Friday, November 7, 2008

Rime to Read Review

Rime to Read: A program for Beginning Readers, by Sara Hines and Lynn Klaiman,illustrated by Shari Hookman Berger

Don’t you mean Rhyme to Read? No, I don’t, but that’s what I thought, too, until I got to the Web site’s home page. So, what are rimes? Rimes are words that sound and look alike. Rhymes sound alike, but may or may not look alike. Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what is the Rime to Read program about? It is a highly effective approach to beginning reading skills; it emphasizes word families (rimes); it utilizes a unique color-coded system; and it will read to you (if you click on a word). It is a cumulative, 20-book program that can be accessed from the computer or printed. They are similar to the Bob Books in that they emphasize one short vowel sound per set (four books per set).
That sounds great! What else can you tell me? Here’s what else is great about the Rime to Read program:
1. You can try it before you buy—receive a FREE trial book.
2. The illustrations are cute, but don’t detract from reading skills.
3. Kids can read through the books themselves by clicking on the words they don’t know to hear them read out loud.
4. Each sound is color coded to reinforce the concepts.
5. You can sign up for a free newsletter to receive additional beginning reading tips.
6. Books can be saved on the computer to save paper and space, or printed so kids can carry them around to read whenever they wish.
7. The authors themselves will personally answer any questions not addressed in the faqs.

Are there any cons? Yep, I found a few:
1. I found the books a little hard to evaluate since I don’t have any beginning readers at home any more. I had to stretch back in my memory to remember what they liked and what worked for them.
2. You have to sign up (name and email address) on the Web site to see the free book.
3. I still prefer actual books that I can hold in my hands. Printing them out just isn’t the same.
4. The cost is a bit steep. Each set of four books (one set for each short vowel sound) costs $9.99. True, there is the audio component, but I still thought it was a bit much for beginning reading books.

The bottom line: If you’ve got an emerging reader and enjoy e-books, Rime to Read is for you. If you still prefer actual books you can hold in your hands, go a different direction.