Friday, December 5, 2008

Review: Rime to

Rime--as in: at, rat, sat, pat, mat
Not rhyme--as in: chair, mare, stare...underwear

I had the pleasure of reviewing Rime to, a simple yet effective reading program for preschoolers/beginning readers using "rimes" or word families.

Rime to Read was created by a team of three ladies; a former first grade teacher, a professor specializing in learning disabilities, and an illustrator/wife/mother.

The program is based on 20 short virtual books, each emphasizing a specific color-coded rime. The colors, which vary among vowel sounds, aid the child's retention and facilitate recognition of the vowel sounds. (Example: short "a" words are blue. Short "o" words are purple.) Books can either be read online or printed from your computer in PDF format.

Although we didn't use Rime to Read specifically to teach our children to read (it wasn't available!), it uses the same word-family layout that worked really well for two of my children.

The book illustrations are simple yet charming, and encourage story comprehension without being overly distracting. This was a crucial aspect for me, because I've found that some of the more popular children's books tend to use a lot of bold colors and pictures. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, I personally like to keep things simple when teaching the "under 5" crowd. (Less distraction equals happier Mama!)

In the back of each book, you'll find a list of high frequency or "sight" words, to help reinforce key concepts.

Info and Extra-Nifty Features:

  • The purchase price of $44.99 covers online access for a LIFETIME. This way your child can read the books as often as he/she likes, and younger siblings can use the same account down the line.
  • For the more budget-conscious, there is the option of purchasing a 4-book Vowel Set for only $9.99.
  • Children can click on a word that he/she can't read, and the book will "read" it to them. (Now that's neat!)
  • You can download the first book for FREE! (You just gotta love freebies! )
One Tiny Catch:
  • You can only print 1 copy of each book. Now, I didn't see this being too much of an issue, considering you can always go online and read the books over 'n over (times infinity). However, if you have more than one child, I would suggest laminating the books to help them last through multiple readings.

I found Rime to Read to be a charming, user-friendly, early reading program. Although I have to be honest and admit that I initially thought the price was a bit steep. (Seriously, I can write "pat, rat, sat, mat" as well as anyone.)

But once I learned that the price was good for a lifetime--and every child in the family could use the same account without having to purchase their own set--well, the price seemed more economical after that. (Especially if you have a large family. The savings there can be huge!)

I give Rime to Read 1.5 thumbs up! :o)

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