Author Interview: Valerie Bendt talks about her new book Reading Made Easy

Valerie, tell us a little about yourself. “My husband, Bruce, and I have homeschooled our six children all of their school lives. I have also written the following books of interest to homeschoolers: How to Create Your Own Unit Study, The Unit Study Idea Book, Success with Unit Studies, For the Love of Reading, Creating Books with Children, The Frances Study Guide, and Successful Puppet Making. Our two oldest daughters have graduated from homeschooling, and we continue to homeschool our other children. I also enjoy speaking at homeschool conventions, and I can be contacted to schedule speaking engagements at Valeriebendt@verizon.net.”

What was your motivation behind this publication? “For years I had been thinking about writing a phonics/reading manual, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it because there were so many reading programs already on the market. But different people and events kept prompting me to write a reading manual. Friends and people who attended my workshops wanted to know “How do you teach reading?” I tried to explain my methods, but I realized that many people needed more than an explanation, they needed a program that was simple to follow, phonics based, child friendly, and Christian. I have spent more than 15 years developing this program, five years in the writing, and two years testing the program with homeschool families. Jane Claire Lambert, author of Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row has this to say about my book:

Reading Made Easy combines the best of sound phonics mechanics with a contagious love of reading. I only wish this valuable tool had been available when I began homeschooling. Affordable, scripted, easy-to-use and effective; what more could anyone want? Reading Made Easy is a wonderful tool for anyone who wants to impart to children not only the information of ‘how’ we read — but also the inspiration of ‘why’ we read. ”

What do you hope parents will gain from this publication? “Teaching my children to read has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. What a joy to see my little one light up with delight as he discovers the pleasure of reading. I want parents to partake in this wonderful experience with their children. Learning to read should be exciting, not drudgery. I hope my enthusiasm for teaching reading is contagious. I hope you catch it between the pages of my book!”

Who are your sources of inspiration or favorite authors? “My husband is my greatest cheerleader. He has always encouraged me in my homeschooling endeavors and in my writing. He’s been a terrific provider, thus enabling me to stay at home and teach our children. He has also been a wonderful example to me in that he always includes the children in whatever he does. Through his example, I have also learned to do this. My children have been involved in the writing of my books — whether as guinea pigs for my ideas, typists, artists, researchers, web designers, or computer technicians. I think Ruth Beechick and her ideas have influenced me the most. Her easygoing way and common sense advice is precious. Her book, You Can Teach Your Child Successfully is a must. I have benefited greatly from the writings of Susan Schaeffer Macaulay as well. Her book For the Children’s Sake is still one of my all-time favorites. I also greatly admire Jane Claire Lambert, author the Five in a Row books, as she helps me to gain a fresh perspective for observing and enjoying literature with my children.”

Do you have anything further to say to your readers? “Your children won’t be little forever! I know it seems that way at times, especially when you have four children under the age of six! I’ve been there and I know what you are going through. I encourage you to hold fast to the high calling that the Lord has given you. It is truly an honor, a privilege, and a blessing to teach our children. May our Heavenly Father bless you as you seek His best for your family!”