Dear Friends,
We are pleased to introduce Valerie’s popular book, Reading Made Easy: A Guide to Teach Your Child to Read. Valerie has spent more than 15 years developing this program, five years in the writing, and two years testing the program with homeschool families. The response to the book has been outstanding! Read what others have to say:

Reading Made Easy is a wonderful book! The lessons are short and easy to retain, which results in a contagious sense of accomplishment. Not only does Reading Made Easy inspire and make learning fun; it is also easy and fun for this ‘mom’ teacher as well. A great book with terrific plans and activities.” 
Kathy Pelham, Tampa, Florida 

“My son, Mac, loved learning to read using Reading Made Easy. I tried using other reading programs, and we struggled with them. Valerie’s book makes it easy, using games and stories that children love. She uses a gentle, non-intimidating approach, building skills and confidence quickly.” 
Cindy Clark, Seward, Alaska 

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.”
Jane Claire Lambert – Author of Before Five in a Row and Five in a Row.

“Veteran homeschooler and author Valerie Bendt has created a reading program that should be very appealing to even the most inexperienced parent. The program is contained in this single 500+ page book. It is scripted and illustrated so parent and child work together from the book. A little extra work is required: you will need a large quantity of blank index cards upon which each week’s phonograms or words are written. Many times these are cut into two parts, which are combined as you work through the lesson. Use of the index cards and games adds a multi-sensory dimension to lessons.

Valerie has created a unique coding system, similar in some ways to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. However, Valerie’s system seems simpler and less confusing. She uses a gray typeface for short vowels, dotted typeface for silent letters, bold typeface for long vowels, and circling for some digraphs. Children practice reading words, then sentences, and then stories directly from this book. Valerie has tried to make the reading material meaningful and interesting. The occasional use of pictures invites the child to respond to both picture and words as they learn to understand context. Valerie includes tracing, copying, and writing activities, continually cautioning against pushing children whose fine motor skills are too immature for such activities.

The progression is a bit different from other reading programs–Valerie introduces both short and long “a” words before continuing with other short vowel words, and she continues in this fashion throughout the program. She covers most other phonetic concepts, but there are some important ones that are not included such as “eigh” as in “eight” and “sleigh.” However, on two pages at the end of the book, she lists those not covered along with example words and suggestions for covering them as a child encounters words containing them. The last twelve lessons in the book incorporate a twelve-chapter story about a young boy named Gideon who wants to learn how to read. Each chapter is first presented as a read aloud by the parent, and then an abridged version is presented for the child to read aloud himself. The content of the book is essentially non-sectarian until the story of Gideon, which is loaded with spiritual content and lessons.

Throughout the book, Valerie has chosen to use the LucidaSansSchool font published by Portland State University. These are the folks who publish the Italic Handwriting series, which Valerie also recommends. However, you are not limited to that handwriting style by this book’s presentation.

This program relies heavily upon parent/child interaction. Some early lessons conclude with the instruction to read a book aloud to your child. Valerie adds lists of suggested read-aloud and easy-reading books you might want to use. Overall, this course looks to be both enjoyable and easy-to-use, two features that I consider very important when it comes to teaching reading.”
Cathy Duffy, author of The Christian Home Educators’ Curriculum Manuals

“I haven’t been really excited about a reading program in many years, but I am now! Valerie Bendt, author of How to Create Your Own Unit Study, just left our home with her newest book, Reading Made Easy, in tow. Wow!! I am impressed! It is a combination of Ruth Beechick, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and Valerie’s special creativity. As the child progresses, handwriting is introduced using the Portland State University Italic Handwriting Style. Copy work assignments are given, along with many suggestions for dictation, creating stories, drawing activities, games for learning sight words, hands-on activities, etc. 

One of the things I love about this program is the variety of stories. They are not silly or frivolous, but ones to interest the child. There are some stories just for fun, some story poems, and some continuing stories. At the end of the book, the student reads a twelve-chapter, historical fiction short story (similar to an I-Can-Read chapter book). Filled with the subtleties of heartwarming thoughts on family life, home education, and a love of learning, it is a wonderful story about the first book wagon in America, and even includes a photograph of it! You won’t find anything like this in other phonics books! Highly recommended!” 
Tina Farewell – The Always Incomplete Resource Guide
Lifetime Books and Gifts

“Valerie Bendt’s latest book, Reading Made Easy is just that – an easy to follow reading manual that requires minimal preparation on the part of the parent. She has created her own symbols to designate the varying phonetic sounds, such as for the short and long vowels and silent letters. She also includes original stories and poems to use as readers as the child progresses through the manual.

In an effort to make learning to read more fun and interesting for the child, some of the lessons incorporate simple games, such as Sight Word Bingo and Sight Word Worms, for which patterns are provided. Sight words are introduced at an earlier level than in other reading programs, allowing the child to read more interesting passages. Introduction to the use of capital letters, periods, commas, questions marks, quotation marks, and exclamation marks are also slipped into the material with ease. Without placing a heavy emphasis on grammar, the child is introduced to more advanced concepts in a very natural and easy fashion.

Valerie has a true love of reading and realizes the pleasure books can offer. She enthusiastically shares this passion with others. Valerie motivates the child to see the true joy of reading by quickly gaining an understanding of the written word. To further assist the child’s comprehension, the child is shown a simple drawing that relates to the story. She encourages the child to draw his own pictures and to write sentences about his picture. Gradually, she encourages the child to write his own stories (by dictating them to his parent) and to practice his reading using these stories.

Reading Made Easy concludes with Mrs. Bendt’s, twelve-chapter short story, “Gideon’s Gift.” This heartfelt story emphasizes the joy of reading and writing while stressing the significance of giving God the glory in all situations and finding our God given gifts. Each chapter’s suspenseful conclusion urges the child on to the next lesson. This beautifully written account exposes the child to vocabulary not normally used in today’s books for children.” 
Cathy Pierce – Children’s Librarian 

Valerie,
This is my first year homeschooling, and I am using Reading Made Easy with my five-year-old son. We are only halfway through the year and he is already reading on his own. It really is easy! 
Diane Klein

Mrs. Bendt
I am a homeschooling mother of six children. We used Reading Made Easy with my (then) six year old last year and loved it. I plan on using it with my 5.5-year-old son soon. We also use Five in a Row. My (now) seven-year-old daughter, Hanna, adored your story, “Gideon’s Gift” and hopes to be an author someday. 
Christina Lynn

Valerie,
Thank you so very much for responding to my post today about what to do after finishing Reading Made Easy! It has been a wonderful experience for my daughter and me. I look forward to using it again in a couple of years with my little one! Thank you so very much for sharing your God given talents of helping us teach our little ones. Thanks also for your involvement and support for those of us using Reading Made Easy!
Denise Kiehl

Valerie,
My son is using your book Reading Made Easy, and we love it!
Desiree Shaffer

Mrs. Bendt,
My daughter enjoyed using you program and caught on really quickly. She really enjoyed the story about Gideon. Thanks for making reading so easy at our house!
Charity White

Valerie,
My daughter just finished Reading Made Easy! She is a great reader and reading more everyday! We both enjoyed the special time we shared doing Reading Made Easy. Thanks for your part in making “teaching reading” easy and painless! 
Deborah Meinsen

Valerie,
I just don’t know how to thank you for your book Reading Made Easy. I tried some other curricula with Anthony, and he did not want to do it. He either got bored or just would loose interest. I really was concerned because teaching reading was new to me. When I got your book, it was very simple. We only needed the book, 3 x 5 cards, some crayons, and 15 minutes every other day. We started the journey; it was wonderful. Anthony looked forward to his lessons, which we did consecutively every other day. On the days in between we reviewed the lessons. After doing a lesson we read a book, and as we read books, he was recognizing the words that he was learning more and more. He also traced the pictures in each lesson and colored them. He very proudly showed me the pictures, and he even made up sentences to go with the pictures.
Thank you!
Sylvia Howard

Valerie,
Lauren really enjoyed Reading Made Easy. It was a creative outlet for her. She would do each lesson and then want to write and illustrate her own readers–being spurred on by the drawings in the book. Sometimes she would do the writing, and other times I would write for her. It seemed like when she dictated the stories and I did the writing, the stories were more detailed. With the lessons being short, it gave Lauren time to make the readers. The Sight Word Worm was also a big hit at our house. I would often overhear Lauren teaching the sight words to her younger sister. The thing I liked the most about Reading Made Easy was the relaxed atmosphere–so similar to the Five in a Row curriculum.
Amy Craig

Valerie,
We finished Reading Made Easy this past year. We loved it! My 7-year-old daughter’s reading has really taken off. Thanks so much! 
Julie Pearson

Valerie,
Austin just loved Gideon’s Gift. We celebrated his completion of Reading Made Easy with a trip to the library to get his own card!
Donna Jones

Valerie,
Thanks for writing such a wonderful phonics program. It has been pure joy this year teaching Trevor to read!
Cheryl Gruber

Valerie Bendt’s book Reading Made Easy came out just as my oldest daughter started coming to me with her magna doodle and asking me to teach her how to read. Given that she was still so young, I was nervous about finding a reading curriculum that would fit our needs, but Reading Made Easy worked wonderfully! My daughter thoroughly enjoyed our reading lessons together on the couch with this book. Each day she would ask me, “When are we going to do our reading lesson?” Upon completing Reading Made Easy I asked her why she liked it so much, here were her words: “I liked it because it was easy and there were fun stories!” I have recently begun using Reading Made Easy with my younger daughter and she too already asks me each day, “When can I do my reading lesson?” We will definitely treasure this book as our method for teaching a child to read in our home. The hugs I have received over the thrills of learning to read and the preciousness of the stories are simply priceless! My oldest daughter and I have already started talking about how she might one day be like Gideon (from the final story in Reading Made Easy) and use this book to teach her youngest sibling how to read. Valerie’s approach to teaching reading is easy enough that I think she could do it in a few years!
Heidi Swenson

Hi Valerie!
I’m a Rower and I use Reading Made Easy with my 6yod, Alyssa. Today she finished Reading Made Easy and Gideon’s story. What a lovely story!!! I loved it!! I recommend Reading Made Easy to so many people, because it taught me how to teach and how to encourage and praise my daughter. Because it was scripted and so low stress for me, it kept me and my daughter from a lot of frustration. Your Godly, kind spirit permeates everything you’ve written and it has blessed me tremendously!!
Blessings,
Betty

Hi Valerie,
My five-year-old son loves learning to read using Reading Made Easy. This is our first year homeschooling and in the process finishing. Joshuah has mentioned he would like to do this next year….I was so excited, but could not find the words to tell him that Reading Made Easy will be finished this school year. I was searching the net and came upon “The Picnic Ant” that you had recommended for other homeschoolers. Is this book still available?

I will be going to the Convention at Winston-Salem, NC, and will be attending your seminars (Can’t wait! I was told they are “so much fun”). Will you have the “The Picnic Ants” available then? Thank you for creating such a wonderful book! Reading Made Easy has inspired my son to love reading at such a young age. It has made our first year enjoyable. 

God Bless, 
Theresa Mills

Dear Mrs. Bendt,
In May 2001, my family attended the Orlando FPEA Convention to prepare for our first “official” year of homeschooling. (Our children are ages 5, 3, 1 and expecting!) As I was eating lunch in the hotel restaurant, I saw a woman with your Reading Made Easy book. As I glanced over her shoulder, I must admit I thought it all looked “Greek”. All those circles and gray and black letters – what was all that?

Then, I stopped by your booth and you were gracious enough to explain what the rather simple codes meant and how your lessons were arranged. I purchased the book on the spot.

Ben (my 5 year old) and I began Reading Made Easy in August. He had already breezed through “Bob Books” and was reading very early readers. By December 2001 he hit the reading explosion and was reading one reader per day…books like Danny and the Dinosaur and The Little Bear books.

In March Ben began reading (silently) Little House in the Big Woods – each chapter followed by a test for comprehension. He completed that first novel in 6 weeks, and just finished the first 100 pages of Little House on the Prairie in two days!

I write to you today because this afternoon we completed lesson 108 of Reading Made Easy. I am so grateful and thank God for you and the gift He has given to you, the gift of writing. Your phonics book has given me the confidence to teach and truly given Ben a solid foundation for reading to learn.

I cried when I read the last part of Gideon’s story to Ben (Ben read quite a bit of it himself!) because I was so sad that part of our learning had ended. Of course there are many more lessons to be learned, but that initial gift of learning how to read is over – and now the details must be mastered. What a privilege it is to watch that process occur and play a part in it.

Thank you for being part of our lives for the last 9 months. We’ll be using your book again for our other children as well!

If you are still distributing “The Picnic Ants”, I’d be honored to use it with Ben. 
Thank you again, and God bless you and your family.
Carol

Valerie,
I just wanted to let you know how wonderful we found Reading Made Easy to be! My son absolutely LOVED it and it made teaching him to read so easy! Thank you!
Kelli Wilson

Hi Valerie,
You may not remember – but I met you a couple of years ago at the Five in a Row conference. It was there that I was sold on using Reading Made Easy with my daughter. We have used Reading Made Easy for about a year and now we are almost finished with it! What fun we have had with it. We are in the middle of Gideon’s Gift – and Rebecca wants to finish the whole story.

🙂 Thank you for this wonderful curriculum.
Blessings,
Leslie Nelsen

Hi Valerie,
I am writing because I have two boys that will be finished with Reading Made Easy in just a few days. I cannot say enough great things about Reading Made Easy. It has been an absolute joy to use Reading Made Easy with my 2 dear sons (7 and 6) and because of my 4 1/2 year old dear son begging me to teach him how to read, I began Reading Made Easy with him this year as well. He is already on lesson 36 and is picking it up so quickly just from listening to his older brothers read. He already knows most of the words on our sight word caterpillar chart too.

Since I will be finishing Reading Made Easy with 2 of my boys in the next few days, I was wondering if you could please send us a copy of “The Picnic Ants”? 
Thank you so much!

Sincerely,
Sandra McLatchie

Valerie, 
I love you approach to teaching reading! I withdrew my daughter, age 6, from first grade last November because she was shoved into a LD class only because she wasn’t reading at a level the rest of the 7 year olds in her class were reading. I have home schooled her and my eight year old ever since. I have tried many phonics based programs that only frustrate them. They are visual-random learners. Your approach with Reading Made Easy has surpassed all other programs for visual learners. I used it for a while, then stopped only because THEY felt it was “too young” for their age, but I have always gone back to it because the way that you present the information seems to stick with them, as opposed to other phonics based programs. I have slightly adjusted the curriculum to fit our needs so that it is slightly harder for a “wiser” child. Now I can see progression!!!! Thank you, thank you for your book! 

Thanks so much for everything you have given my family! 
God Bless!!!! 
Joyce 

Valerie,
Reading Made Easy was truly a gift from the Lord to us. When I was purchasing curriculum for my son for first grade I really felt the Lord telling me not to purchase reading curriculum. I stepped out in faith because I had never taught anyone to read so it was scary (my oldest son learned to read by himself). We had a tough time and Luke got frustrated very easy. Then about halfway through the year I looked into Reading Made Easy and purchased it. What a blessing. Then I knew why the Lord wanted me to wait to purchase anything. Luke was no longer frustrated because he is very visual and the reading clues were great for him. We completed the book in about a year and a half (just ending about 3 weeks ago). Now he reads everything. In Sunday school he even volunteers to read from the New King James Bible and the best part is he does his own devotional time every morning. At night, he curls up with his book light until we say he has to go to sleep because he is reading all sorts of different books. I love when he reads out loud to me. He’ll be reading a book and say “Mom, hear this…” What a blessing. 

My daughter who turned five in March asked me if she could use Luke’s reading book so since January I have been working with her. She loves it. I keep it short and fun since she is so young, and she is doing great. 

Thank you for your faithfulness for doing what God has called you to do. May he abundantly bless you and your family. 
Thanks, 
Janet Tierney

Valerie,
We have really enjoyed Reading Made Easy. We are also doing Five in a Row, and they really go great together. This is our fourth homeschooled child. I didn’t have a curriculum with the others. When I saw Reading Made Easy, I just had to try it. Having the right tools can make the job so much faster and easier. I really appreciate all the work and care that you put into Reading Made Easy to make it easier and more fun for the rest of us. 
Thanks,
Ronna 

Valerie,
This is my son Benjamin on his first day of school for kindergarten. I wanted us to always remember this special day. Mrs. Bendt’s book, Reading Made Easy, was to be our first book. Well this book turned out to be my son’s favorite book. It really does make the reading process easy. The progression was perfect, the method used was excellent, and the stories in each lesson were very enjoyable for both of us. A few weeks after we finished the book, my son started to read chapter books! He is off to a great start. I am always quick to recommend this book to anyone needing a great resource to learn how to read.
Amy, Gainesville, FL


Dear Valerie,
I finished the Reading Made Easy. I liked the story of Gideon. My Mama helped me write the sentences. I know how to read the sentences in the Reading Made Easy book. 
God Bless You and Your Family!
Emily (6 years old – 1st grade)

Dear Valerie,
I want to thank you for taking the time to write the phonics based reading program, Reading Made Easy. I am using the program with my daughter, Emily, who is 5 yrs. old. (She will be 6 yrs. old on July 2.) She enjoys the stories, the artwork and being able to make her own drawings immensely. We like using the “Draw Write Now My Drawing and Handwriting Notebook”  for her drawings and stories. She likes looking at her drawings and reading her stories (usually 2-3 sentences per drawing) again and again. I like the fact that it is fully scripted. 🙂

I am so thankful for your simple and fun hands on approach to reading.
Blessings to you!
Jill Reinking

Dear Valerie,
My husband and I meet you last year at the Florida Homeschooling Convention. At that time I was still unsure about the whole homeschool idea. My goal was to get a school curriculum like Abeka, Bob Jones etc. I said to my husband, “I am a pharmacist, (I have not practiced since the babies) not a teacher.” My husband insisted on getting Reading Made Easy, Five in a Row and the curriculums. Within minutes after reading Reading Made Easy there was no doubt in my mind we were going to use your book. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing Reading Made Easy with me and my family. My daughter is reading and loves homeschooling. It has been such a wonderful experience. You have given me the confidence I needed to homeschool. I highly recommend Reading Made Easy for first time homeschooling moms like me. Just this week my sister-in-law and her friend purchased Reading Made Easy
Thank you again,
Janeen Zehe

Valerie,
I just wanted to let you know that our daughter, Sarah has finished Reading Made Easy. If you could send her “The Picnic Ants”, I know she would be grateful for it. She enjoys books so much, and it will be like her little reward for her reading! She’s loved Reading Made Easy, and has really taken off in her reading! It opens SO many new worlds to our children, doesn’t it???

May the Lord bless you for all you do to help other homeschoolers. 

Thanks Valerie!!! 
Blessings and Peace,
Tracy Quebral 

Valerie,
I’m Amy Sturgell. We met a couple of years ago at the Five in a Row Conference. I wanted to let you know how much my son and I appreciate Reading Made Easy. He is 8 and has had a very hard time learning to read. We’re on Reading Made Easy Lesson 20 and going strong! He posted a note to you on the Five in a Row “Three R’s” bulletin board. Here’s a copy of it.

Hi Mrs. Bendt,
This is Andrew. I love your Reading Made Easy. It helps me a whole lot on my reading and I like that my mom and I read books together. Thank you for writing the book, it’s really fun.
Love,
Andrew 

We appreciate your work!
Blessings,
Amy

Valerie,
WE have totally enjoyed Reading Made Easy, and I plan to use it with my younger children when its time.

Thank you for the great work.
Blessings,
Debbie Burkett

Valerie,
I have just completed Reading Made Easy with my six and seven year-olds. I absolutely loved the way everything was “spelled-out” for me. This format gave me the confidence that I needed as a first-time homeschooler. Thank you for taking the time to write Reading Made Easy.

The last chapter of “Gideon’s’ Gift” was wonderful. (A chapter book within Reading Made Easy.) It has inspired many discussions about the gifts that God has placed within my children, and what they can be used for! We talk often about whether or not our actions glorify God, or not, and the kids remember Gideon when this topic comes up!

We are grateful that you use your gifts from the Lord,
May he bless you, 
Clare Axton

Dear Mrs. Bendt,
This is my first year homeschooling and I was more nervous about teaching Katie to read than anything else because I feel reading is a vital part of learning. We went to the Homeschool Conference this year in Winston-Salem and after walking through the Book Fair Thursday night, we went back to the hotel settled on Abeka. My husband and I had agreed we would go to separate sessions the next day to cover more and I chose to go to your session, Reading Made Easy thinking this would be a class to help me feel more comfortable teaching reading. I had never heard of Reading Made Easy curriculum but as I sat there and listened to you and saw how you presented a lesson, it all made perfect sense and I knew in my heart this was what God would have us use. It has been wonderful to watch Katie learn to read and see the excitement on her face as she puts the sounds together. Thank you so much for Reading Made Easy – it’s true to its name and has made teaching and learning reading easier.
Annette Elks

Valerie,
My dd just finished Reading Made Easy on Friday. We couldn’t be happier with the results. It is truly a great program, and I mention it to EVERYONE.
I have read previously about a book called “The Picnic Ants” that you send those that have completed Reading Made Easy. If that is true, we would love to receive your book. I am sure it is wonderful.

Thanks again for created a wonderful and easy reading program
Jennifer Scotello

Hi Valerie,
We just finished Reading Made Easy and I was so impressed. I own many programs but this got to the important task at hand….READING. Your work and love for reading has shone through in this manual. At the end, we had a celebration day but it was actually very bittersweet as I loved it and so did my children.

Blessings,
Stephanie Scarborough

Dear Valerie,
Thank you so much for Reading Made Easy! My son started the book last May when he was 3 1/2 years old. We are almost finished and he has loved every minute of it. I was blessed to meet a mother who steered me to your book. My son, Seth has this unbelievable ability to decode words, and read with ease. So, this book really gave me the tools to lay a strong foundation and have an easy plan at an early age for him to follow. I work 32 hours a week, so the first thing we try to do when we get home is our “reading lesson” as time and life permits!

We are on lesson 81 and are having a party to celebrate at the end, so I will let you know when Seth (4yr & 2 months old) finishes Reading Made Easy.

God Bless you and your family, it must be really neat to see the “fruits” of your diligent hard work through the years with your children almost grown! And thank you for reminding me to have fun & just take my time, I needed to hear that! 

God does bless us all, 
Tina

Reading Made Easy IS easy! What a great way to teach a child to read. Each lesson builds on the previous one, but the program is also flexible enough for the parent to tailor it to his own teaching style. Valerie’s word-for-word instructions are very simple to follow and you can add or delete as needed for your child’s abilities. My daughter enjoyed each story and illustration because they made sense. She absolutely loved the GIDEON chapter book story used in lessons 97-108. She was eager to read it herself to find out what happened next. As a follow up, she read “The Picnic Ants.” This cute story allowed her to build on those reading skills and she enjoyed drawing her own illustrations for it. Her reading is progressing every day and Reading Made Easy was a solid foundation in her progress.

Thanks a lot,
Marty
P.S. – This is my daughter, Elisa, with “The Picnic Ants.”

Valerie,
I am just wondering where to go with my kids when they finish Reading Made Easy. We have absolutely loved Reading Made Easy. We have tried about 5 different phonics programs and spent a lot of money. My oldest child has some learning difficulties and none of the other reading/phonics programs have worked for her. She has taken right off in Reading Made Easy and wants to do two or three lessons a day. My son who is six loves it too and is doing really well. I just don’t want to waste a lot more money while finding the right thing to use next. When we get done with Reading Made Easy should I just have them reading easy readers, should we do unit studies and not worry about a reading program, or do you have another suggestion?

Thank you,
Paula Carpenter

Valerie, 
My son is almost done with Reading Made Easy (we’re on lesson 104), and we both have completely LOVED the experience. Thank you so much for creating it!

My son particularly liked the game Sight Word Bingo. He really learned his sight words playing this game and wants to play it even though he is almost done with Reading Made Easy

I loved EVERYTHING about Reading Made Easy –the gentle approach to learning to read, the stories my child read in each lesson (from learning things about bees to reading poetry), and the chapter story, “Gideon’s Gift”, used in the final lessons of Reading Made Easy, which have helped my child transition to reading chapter books. 
Thank you, once again, Valerie! 
Marie D. 🙂

Valerie, 
It’s hard to believe, but tomorrow we will do our last lesson in Reading Made Easy. We would have finished the end of NEXT week, but ds (dear son) has enjoyed Gideon’s story so much that we have sometimes done two lessons in one sitting! He can read the level 1 or 2 readers pretty well. When he reads an Arnold Lobel story, using different voices for the different characters, it is a treat. I just wanted to give Reading Made Easy a thumbs-up. It is easy to use, the stories are sweet, and it works! My 6yo ds is a kindergartner, and he is reading on, I would say, late first grade or early second grade level. Best of all, he enjoys reading. Today he chose a new book at the bookstore and read it to me on the way home. He picked up a Boxcar Children book yesterday and read the first two pages out loud. He was thrilled! My son and I enjoyed Reading Made Easy. Very little preparation time, sweet stories, lessons that were just the right length for us. I would definitely recommend it to others.
Wendi

We use Reading Made Easy with my dd (dear daughter), and she is making progress every day. I think Reading Made Easy is ideal for someone who lacks confidence as a reader. It will give your child the tools he needs to build confidence, yours and his, as he progresses each day. 

I recently recommended Reading Made Easy to my friend who tutors public school students in reading. She is loving it, and having great success with her students who are first, second and even third graders. 

My dd also lacks confidence, but day by day, Reading Made Easy is giving her more. I have to fuss a lot with her to get her to read, but I have seen her with the Reading Made Easy manual reading the short stories she is familiar with, and likes. I think Reading Made Easy is so similar in spirit to Five in a Row, they are an obvious match. You will not regret trying Reading Made Easy. 

Blessings,
Kristin

Dear Valerie,
I am writing to express my gratitude and share some fun photos!

I have to tell you our story is a little bit unique because I am a working mother four days a week, with a husband who works from home. So, we basically home school anytime we can! Also our son Seth showed really early signs of reading, and we started Reading Made Easy last June when he had just turned 3 ½. I would come home from work at 4:30 each night and do a reading lesson with Seth, which he loved and looked forward to daily! Your easy way of teaching was a huge blessing for me because it allowed me to spend time teaching, not researching how to teach! It was always easy and enjoyable and quick too! Seth never struggled to pick up a concept… we finished in the beginning of February when he was 4 years + 3 months old!!

It has been a true joy to be able to watch him learn and read, especially at such an early age… I really don’t know if I would have been able to provide him with a great start without your book! Thank you for following God’s will for your life and blessing others with your gifts.

May God continue to bless your family and business.

Warm Regards,
Tina Plantenga

Hi Valerie!
Several years ago I met you at the Five in a Row Conference. I just wanted to let you know how much we LOVE Reading Made Easy! I taught my older son to read using Sing Spell Read and Write and sold it as soon as we were finished with it. Although my son learned how to read successfully using it, I knew that I didn’t want to go through that same program again. When you showed us Reading Made Easy at the conference, you described my experiences with SSRW. As a brand new homeschooler, I had been forced to majorly modify the SSRW lessons but didn’t really have the confidence to do it at the time. Big Smile!

You wrote Reading Made Easy for us! There is such a difference between a product that was written by a homeschooling parent who has done it and a product that was written for the large classroom and they have slapped a “for the homeschool” label on it. Thank you so much for taking the time to put together this fantastic product. We are using it almost daily because my six year old son requests to do his reading lesson. We are on lesson 45.

The puppet making and book making products are wonderful too. Thank you so much for using your talents to make our jobs so much easier.
Kimber

Valerie,
Reading Made Easy has been a real blessing to our family! Being the oldest, my 8-year-old daughter had to bear the brunt of Mom’s learning curve in our homeschooling adventure. In other words, Mom switched reading programs on her many times over the last couple of years before we found Reading Made Easy. She was a great sport about it all and was flexible enough that I don’t think any permanent damage was done, but I’m so glad to be over that hump now and to not have to go through the same kinds of “stops and starts” with my younger children. I’m so grateful for all the work that went into making Reading Made Easy such a fun and enjoyable — yet easy to implement — program.
Since my oldest daughter had already begun to read very easy readers, we skimmed quickly through the beginning lessons in Reading Made Easy until we found the place where we needed to slow our pace down and allow time for the new concepts to sink in. Because of this, we skipped many of the hands-on activities during the early lessons and even when we did slow down we still didn’t do much with the activities since my daughter was older and didn’t need as much reinforcement. But I was so glad to have those activity ideas handy for the times when they were needed. And now that I’m taking my middle daughter through Reading Made Easy, I’m thrilled to have the activities all planned out for me!

She loves this program just as much as her older sister did and I love the fact that I can use it differently with each child to fit their specific needs. I joke with my husband that our youngest daughter probably won’t need to go through Reading Made Easy because she will have picked it all up through “osmosis” by overhearing her two older sisters’ reading lessons! In fact, at only two-and-a-half, she already tries to say the sounds when she hears her older sisters doing their lessons or reading practice. She picks up books and looks at the letters and tries to say the sounds she thinks the letters represent. Sometimes she brings me the Reading Made Easy book and says, “I ready!” or “Read with me, Mommy!” — phrases that are music to a homeschool Mom’s ears!

Thank you, Valerie, for creating a program that is so gentle yet so effective, so easy to implement yet so comprehensive in scope. Reading Made Easy is a program that proves that reading instruction need not be drudgery and that “bells and whistles” and expensive price tags do not necessarily a reading program make. “Bells and whistles”-type programs may be fun and may be worth the money, but they are not absolutely necessary. Reading Made Easy is an affordable, Mom-friendly choice for a delightful reading experience which fills young children’s hearts and minds with precious memories of warm hours snuggling with Mom (or Dad) and enjoying the worlds of adventure open to all who can read a good book.
Sincerely,
Melissa

Valerie,
I used Reading Made Easy in a different way than was intended. I felt that the reading program which I had been using did not have enough actual reading practice of the rules learned, so I bought Reading Made Easy for practice. It worked very well for us, for it reinforced the phonics rules we had learned with cute stories and pictures. My daughter thought the pictures and stories were very cute. I think that this program has strengthened her reading in an enjoyable and relaxed format. I also like how you have included suggested readers after completion Reading Made Easy.
Thanks again,
Kelley

We have finished Reading Made Easy, 3rd quarter of 1st grade. I would have started it earlier, if I had only known! When we started, Mitchell was reluctant to learn to read. He was afraid to make a mistake, so he didn’t want to try. I started giving him a small reward every day when he finished each lesson. Soon, I didn’t need to give the reward– just being successful was enough reward for him. He seemed to just take off reading toward the last third of the program. What thrills me so much is that when he wants to read now, he doesn’t select “easy reader” books — He wants to read more difficult stories like Clown of God! I couldn’t be more pleased! Now my pre-K son is following along in the program just like his older brother. I loved the scripted format, because I didn’t have to “know how” to teach my child to read — something I was not very confident about before using this program. It was inexpensive, clear, easy to follow, and I TAUGHT MY CHILD TO READ! Reading Made Easy is a blessing my homeschool shelf will never be without!
Maggi Pivovar (homeschooling mom to 3 beautiful boys!)

My daughter and I really enjoyed Reading Made Easy. The lessons were just the right length. She transitioned into reading without the visual clues seamlessly. She is really enjoying reading now to herself or anyone who will listen…which is the whole point.
I appreciated Reading Made Easy because it was so easy to teach from and because the author, Mrs. Bendt, is a successful homeschool mom who’s gone before me in this journey. She answers questions about her book on the Five in a Row Message boards frequently, which is an added bonus!

Thank you, Mrs. Bendt!
Chris, GA
P.S. — We just received The Picnic Ants. Lauren had to read it to me immediately out of the envelope and will start illustrating it today too. Thank you for everything!

Valerie,
I heard you speak at the FIAR conference 2 years ago and was very excited to try your program with my dd who was a VERY reluctant reader. We had already tried many programs. It took us about 1 1/2 years to get through the book because we took a lot of “breaks” but we finally made it through and dd is a very good reader now at 8 years old.
We made the sight word worm and made little readers out of some of the Reading Made Easy stories which was quite fun. Dd has finally begun to actually enjoy reading since I stumbled across a beginning reader phonics Bible at the homeschool convention. She is reading through it on her own which is quite an achievement after all the struggling to get her interested!

Thanks!
Nell Thompson

Hi Valerie,
I saw you speak at the Florida Homeschool Convention this year and have been using Reading Made Easy since last year. My son is 7 1/2 and we will finish the book this week. Aside from your book and Five in a Row, we pretty much learn everything else from living, and although I consider us an unschooling family, we have really enjoyed sitting down together with your book a few days a week.

I get to do it all over again with my 5 year old daughter who is on lesson 8, but I’m looking for something else like the Gideon story for my son and I to read together, do you know of anything available to us? Thank you for helping me help my children learn to read!

Thanks also for your time,
Julie Trahan-Scaringella
 

Dear Valerie,
I just had to let you know what a difference this resource has meant to my second son and I. I used 100 Easy Lessons for my oldest son and he picked up reading very quickly. However, my second child struggled with the lessons. It just didn’t “click” for him. I heard you speak at the NC Homeschool Conference last year and enjoyed your ideas tremendously. I purchased your book Reading Made Easy and it has made a tremendous difference. The hands on manipulation of the cards, sight word bingo, and our caterpillars have allowed the concepts to really sink in. Phonics is now his favorite subject. You are a blessing!!

Kristi sent this letter to me after finishing Reading Made Easy with her son:

Dear Valerie,
I wrote a while back to tell you how much we are enjoying Reading Made Easy. It has been a true blessing. You asked me to let you know when my son finished because you had a book to send him. He finished yesterday!!! Also, PBS is having the Young Writers and Illustrators Contest now so he wants to be like Gideon. (This refers to Gideon in Gideon’s Gift, which is a chapter book included in Reading Made Easy.) Thank you so much for making this great resource.
Kristi Johnsen

Dear Mrs. Bendt,
I just wanted to let you know that I attended one of your workshops in Kodiak, Alaska a few years ago. I purchased your reading program and I just wanted to tell you – I am so utterly impressed by your program. I found it so simple to use and yes, I have experience with other programs. This was my third child to teach how to read and she is doing great! She is only seven and can now read at a fifth grade level. I truly think it is because of the simplicity of your program, that I was able to teach it and have it be fun for her. I am now working with my five year old and he also loves the program.

We have also created books and I tell you, they are more precious to me than anything they have we’ve ever come up with. Anyway, thank you so much for coming to Kodiak to share your success with homeschooling.

God Bless,
Michele Gonzales

Dear Valerie,
Dear son finished Reading Made Easy today!
Thank you Valerie for all your hard work putting it together. Our reading lessons have been about joy not drudgery for both of us.
Hugs!
Jen

Dear Valerie,
Just want to sing a few praises for this outstanding program. I’m so proud of my dear daughter who just finished it yesterday, after a little over a year. We have soo enjoyed the program, and my dear daughter really loved the story Gideon’s Gift. I’m amazed at how far she’s come. Now I’m going to concentrate on getting nice picture books at her level for her to read to me daily.

Thank you Valerie for making this an enjoyable journey for both of us!
Crystal

Hi Valerie,
Just a note to tell you that my son Tyler finished Reading Made Easy today. He was so excited to finish. I just wanted to tell you how much we have enjoyed the book. We are moving on with reading in readers and some simple spelling now. Thanks so much!
Jennifer Olin

Hi,
I just finished reading your three books on unit studies, and I must say I really enjoyed them. It was about my third time reading them through from the past couple of years. I think I want to try to fit in a few unit studies in between our Five in a Row studies. You do so much reading and that is what I want for my family. Did you spend all day reading with your children? You should make a little booklet about some of the games you made up. That area stumps me sometimes.

One thing that I really liked was in showing how you brought the unit to everyone’s level. Especially in the copy work and dictation lessons. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering that my daughter is only 6. I was an only child so occasionally it’s difficult for me.

Your products have been so helpful to us and I just wanted to say thank you. Reading Made Easy taught my daughter to read and we have been having fun with Making the Most of Preschool Years.

Many Blessings for you and your family,
Christy

Valerie,
I told you my children are Reading Made Easy graduates. Chelsea was about 7 and Ryan was 5.5. I believe I already emailed you about how many programs we tried before Chelsea was even willing to try to learn to read. As you know I evaluate and review homeschool materials; in fact, I am often given copies of entire curriculums/books/etc but yours worked for her. Ryan was so young but at age 3 he told me “I want learn to read so I can read the Bible with no pictures.”

Again, it was such a blessing to meet you in person. You seem to be a relaxed yet structured person…what a beautiful balance.

God Bless,
Stephanie Scarborough

Dear Valerie,
James and I recently finished Reading Made Easy and just loved it! Thanks so much for writing such an incredible book! Of course, we kept it flexible and customized the lessons and activities just for him. What a blessing!

I loved the way you incorporated the simple and excellent hands-on activities and the copy work.

Thanks again for sharing your wisdom with the world, Valerie!! I recommend your book every opportunity I can!

Much love to the Bendts from the Farewells,
God bless you all,
Tina
Tina Farewell
www.LifetimeBooksandGifts.com
 

Dear Valerie,

I had spoken with you this fall when you visited Learning and Families here in Sarasota. Reading Made Easy was instrumental in getting my daughter through first grade in public school. She was reluctant to read during Kindergarten homeschool and to our surprise, our situation changed for first grade, I ended up having to work and we put our children in public school. She was required to take a placement test and though her scores for math were high, her reading skills were just under the benchmark. They wanted to put her back in Kindergarten. But we had already been working with her using your book at home after school. In the three weeks time between taking the test and getting the test results, Maddie’s reading had improved significantly. What kept her motivated and engaged was the opportunity to draw at the end of each lesson.

Though the principal and school counselor recommended dropping her back, I insisted on keeping her in first grade, knowing she would be bored in kindergarten and that they would not be able to move her along in math. Her teacher also thought she should remained challenged in first grade and she saw the progress we were making with the extra effort at home. We could not have done it without Reading Made Easy.

By spring, Maddie made the A honor role and the teacher pointed out in front of the class, that Maddie had worked hard and that hard work pays off. One night as Maddie and I talked in bed, she said that she was glad to have a mommy that made her work hard, so that she could do well. It was very rewarding.

We continued this year with the book and Maddie has become very fluent. We have used Explode the Code and are completing Book 5 ½ in that series.

In public school Kindergarten, my son was using Saxon Phonics, and this year in homeschool, I started him on Reading Made Easy as well. It has identified some problems with his phonics training. I found that many consonants were taught using a vowel sound added on. Your book is helping identify and correct some of these issues. His favorite part is mixing up the index cards. At first he was tracing the pictures, but my artist husband has been teaching him how to look at things so that he does not have to trace. He no longer traces.

Both my children are very creative and love to draw and write their own stories. Often they may mimic the stories we read, but I am finding they create a lot on their own.

You had mentioned that you send a book to those who complete the book, so I am requesting one for my daughter.

I purchased how to make your own books (title?) and we are hoping to do that this summer. You really inspire me to think outside the box.

Sincerely,
Terry Buchan

Dear Valerie,
Thank you again for devoting so much of your time and talent to developing Reading Made Easy. It was truly a godsend to my family. We last exchanged emails in November. Time surely passes quickly when you are trying to keep up with those younger and more energetic! My son Chris enjoyed reading “The Picnic Ants” and then illustrating it. I’ve included his drawing from one of the pages. My prayers are with you all as you continue your family ministry.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Hubert

Dear Ms. Bendt:
Thank you for your wonderful book, Reading Made Easy. Both our children, Cassy and Ian, learned to read quickly and with plenty of fun. Best of all, by about half-way through the book they were teaching themselves! Although you recommend about three lessons per week Cassy and Ian had so much interest and enthusiasm for the lessons that they averaged about one lesson per day. The combination of phonics, “sight words”, drawing, writing and reading together was perfect for our busy homeschool family. I would recommend your book to any family who wants to build concrete reading skills as well as kindle an early and life-long joy of reading. The suggested teacher dialogue was gentle and smooth, making it very easy for mom (a non-native English speaker) to hold the interest of our children. The lessons were very well organized requiring little or no preparation – a big plus for any home school parent. The stories in Reading Made Easy made sense and were not boring, as they can be in many early readers. By the time our children finished Reading Made Easy they were reading 4th grade materials and not afraid to seek out books on their own interests. Our two children have very different personalities and learning styles, yet Reading Made Easy was very effective for both of them. I wish we could find curricula on other subjects that would be as useful.

Sincerely,
William and Ting Steptoe

Dear Valerie,
Well, I’m on Lesson 92 (Ready Made Easy) with my second child. This book amazed me the first time around, and it continues to amaze me the second time around! As we are almost done with Reading Made Easy, would you please send another copy of “The Picnic Ants” to us? A cute story about Conner, which I posted at one time on the FIAR boards, but you may not have seen it. Last summer my sons’ cousins were visiting for the week and all four boys were outside playing with the Slip and Slide. Conner got bit by some bug and came in the house screaming. He took off his swim trunks (still crying), and declared, “I am never going outside again! I am going to get dressed now, and then I want a reading lesson!!” So he got dressed and we cuddled together for the next reading lesson (while the other 3 boys continued to play outside). After the lesson (and the cuddling), he got back in his swim trunks and went back outside to join the others. Who says Reading Made Easy is just for learning to read? Who says Reading Made Easy only benefits the child?

Thanks again for Reading Made Easy!
Marie 🙂

Hi Valerie,
I purchased Reading Made Easy from Five in a Row for my son. He is just about finished with the book, and I saw at one time you mentioned on FIAR boards that you would send a book when the child is finished. If you still do this we would love to receive it. Reading Made Easy has really been a blessing in our homeschool journey. My son has been a “resistant” learner, but he has come around and is reading well!

Thank you!
Blessings,
Darla Taylor

Valerie,
We loved your reading program, Reading Made Easy! My son did fabulous with it. I found it to be very user friendly and an enjoyable way to guide my son to learn how to read in a painless, natural way that enhanced his natural love of reading. Thank you for creating this wonderful tool. I only wish that could more eloquently express just how terrific your program was for us. We had a whirlwind year, yet the simplicity and joy of Reading Made Easy allowed us to do the “basics” despite the many distractions that were in our days. It was sooo painless, and at the end of the year I realized how incredible his progress was. Your stories are priceless and captivating! Thanks soooo very much.
Debbie Hermosillo

Dear Valerie,
We had a great time with Reading Made Easy. It came recommended by Jane Lambert, so I decided to give it a try. WOW! I was worried about my daughter transferring to normal print, but this has not been a problem. I wanted a firm approach to reading, but not one that would kill her love of reading – I found it! She loved building the sentences with the index cards – and the Sight Word Worm was just too cute. She also looked forward to doing the copy work and tracing the little picture you provided. Now, after countless hours of begging I started with my 3yodd and she LOVES it too. We are going slowly. She builds her sight word worm as we go because she saw her sister’s and wanted one right away! Also she still has fine motor skill problems, so I trace the picture for her, and she colors it. She traces over what I have written out in a yellow marker instead of copying it on her own. She will start lesson 20 tomorrow, and she begs to do some everyday. She also has really liked the sentence card game, and on review day that is her favorite part – building all the sentences from her past lessons. My oldest (7yo son) also got involved at the end, by reading the parent’s version of “Gideon’s Gift” to my 5yodd for me (well, actually for his own enjoyment) then my dd would read her part. I am looking forward to teaching my last child to read (and a few children I baby sit) and then putting it away to give to my girls one day to teach their children. Learning to read does not have to be boring and you proved it!
Janee’

Valerie,
Thank-you for writing a reading program that is effective and easy to use. We have had fun with the lessons. We have enjoyed two of your other books: Successful Puppet Making and The Frances Study Guide. Both have been wonderful resources for our family. I think we have made most of the puppets in your puppet making book. Last spring Emily and Nicole each made their own bear puppet. They did most of the work by themselves. Emily wanted her bear to be a girl so she cut out a skirt from pink felt and glued a pink bow to the bear’s head. Nicole made her bear a boy. She made a black hat and green shorts from felt. We have fun with the puppets. The girls like using the animal puppets to act out stories from the Bible. We decide which animal best represents the characters in the Bible story. For example, we use the owl for Samuel, the lion for David, the lamb for Jesus, etc. After reading our Bible story they act out a simplified version with the puppet. It makes the Bible come alive! Nicole is looking forward to getting her own “Picnic Ants” book. Her older sister, Emily, got a “Picnic Ants” book in 2001 and liked it very much (and still does). We were pleased you still had the book! God bless you and your family for taking the time to write and publish so many helpful books.

In Christ,
Jill Reinking
P.S. – Below is a letter from Nicole.

Hi Mrs. Bendt,
I finished my Reading Made Easy book. I liked the Gideon story. I like to read and thank you.
Nicole Reinking
5 and a half years old

Dear Valerie,
Hi. My name is Hollie Vollmar and I’m a homeschooler in Easley, SC. I first heard of you (and Reading Made Easy) on the Five in a Row Message Boards. Based on the Lambert’s recommendation, I purchased Reading Made Easy. When my son Eli was 4.5yo he was begging me to teach him to read – we started Reading Made Easy and never looked back. Eighteen months later we have finished (not mentioning surviving a not-so-easy pregnancy and a new baby). What a blessing Reading Made Easy has been to us, and I look forward to using it with my 4yo when he is ready. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your method!

Thank you again!
Hollie Vollmar
P.S. My son LOVED “Gideon’s Gift”!! (So did I!)

Valerie,
Hello! I started teaching my daughter to read without a curriculum and found that I would quickly lose patience with her. Obviously this did not make learning to read fun for her… and above all I had wanted it to be a positive experience, one that encouraged a love for books and reading. Thankfully I came across your book at the “Five in a Row” table at the Arlington Homeschool Book Fair and decided to purchase it. I can not stress enough how happy I am that we found your book. I loved how concise and well written the lesson plans were, not to mention how straightforward you made my part. I also loved the use of the dark letters for the long vowel sounds, the grey for the short vowel sounds, the dotted letters for those letters which remained silent in a word, etc. It was very logical and incredibly easy to understand. It has been two years since we used your book, and I am happy to say that my daughter, Gabrielle, loves to read. We read the “Little House” books together, and she is now reading the Junie B. Jones series on her own. Much of her love of reading is thanks to your incredible book. The stories (many about animals and insects — which she loves) and artwork kept her attention, made her laugh and made her want to do the lessons. She also loved the games and her Sight Word Worm posters. My friend who was teaching her son to read at the same time as my daughter (but w/a different curriculum) has recently bought your book on my recommendation for her two younger children. I am certain that they will enjoy it as much as we did. Thanks for your help and for a wonderful book on reading made fun and…Easy! I should also mention that I have a degree in Early Childhood Education from Oklahoma State and thought your book was right on target for many of the things we learned in that program. I loved the way you handled the phonetics of words (as I mentioned before). I have always hated the phoneme “codes” (? can’t remember the correct terminology) and can never remember any except that the long stroke over a vowel (think they called it a hat when I was a child) means that the vowel is long (“says its name”). The way you handled them made understanding them intuitive (which can NOT be said about the way they handle phonemes in dictionaries, etc. To this day I have to go to the bottom to look at the word supplied as an example of the phoneme before I know how the different symbols represent different sounds in words.) You made the rules of written language very accessible to the beginning reader! In closing I wanted to once again praise your stories and drawings. They were so charming and often times humorous. I still remember fondly the story of the farmer who wants to know who moved his car… and the next picture shows the cow in the driver’s seat! And so many cute frogs, pigs, birds and insects… it seems like there was another story about a pig that wanted pink mud… and the other animals pointed out how the things they had weren’t the same color as themselves. Very cute!

Thanks again,
Stacey DeMarco Andrews

Dear Valerie,
We LOVE Reading Made Easy!!!! This was exactly what we had been searching for! After teaching our 1st daughter to read with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, we knew we wanted something similar, but different. Yes, she reads wonderfully, but we skipped so many tedious exercises, had to teach simple phonics patterns, and then had to teach her the difference between short and long vowels! We were going to follow-up with Alpha-Phonics or Phonics Pathways, but she didn’t need all the instruction! Plus, she just turned 5 and has been fluently reading since she turned 4. I didn’t want to overburden her with phonics/spelling rules since she’ll be learning those next year. Well, daughter #2, although she could repeat the sounds from Easy Lessons, became very discouraged with the layout of the program. We then tried our other two (mentioned above) and neither was hands-on enough for her. So, I decided to check out Reading Made Easy. It is exactly what we’ve been looking for! I love the section in the back with all the phonics rules and sounds not covered, as I can now copy those onto blank index cards and review them with my older daughter! Lydia (our 2nd) loves the Sight Word Bingo and Worm! I showed her what they would look like when we reached those lessons and she’s ecstatic! We haven’t even started! I’ve been letting her look through the book so she can get an idea of what our lessons will look like. We LOVE that it uses the Italic font since that is the handwriting program we (reluctantly at first) switched to. My daughters were copying their friend’s handwriting and slanting every letter! It’s nice to have the reinforcement in their lessons. Lydia has been begging me to start her new reading lessons! Monday is the big day! I love this product and have recommended it to Karen Andreola (author of A Charlotte Mason Companion). It beautifully fits the Charlotte Mason method! I’d love to read your book on Unit Studies as well. I’ve always wanted to try Unit Studies, but have been terrified by horror stories of people who used Konos, and other similar programs. After reading through in its entirety (Reading Made Easy), you’ve definitely topped my list of credible, practical, realistic homeschool moms! Thanks for putting out such a fantastic program for my little learners!

Most Sincerely,
Cassie Hale
Kokomo, IN

Dear Valerie,
I posted a request on the Five In a Row Message Boards a while ago, asking for advice as to what to do after Reading Made Easy. My daughter and I so enjoyed the warmth of the program, and I wanted to somehow continue with that same theme. One of the responses I received was from Marie, who asked if I’d emailed you requesting” The Picnic Ants.” Now, I hadn’t heard about this, so I am asking you to give me some more information about it, please. Although I live in South Africa, I have a friend who is visiting America at the end of this week, and is willing to bring back any schooling “stuff” I need. I just would also like to take this opportunity to thank you so very much for the really beautiful reading program. I wish it had existed when my two boys were learning to read some 10 to 12 years ago!
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Jill

Valerie,
Oh, I cannot say enough nice things about Reading Made Easy! It was so simple to use, and my daughter liked doing the Sight Word Worm. She always enjoyed reading the stories, and that is what is so nice about Reading Made Easy. I want her to enjoy reading, and I can honestly say now that she enjoys reading! I stopped pushing so much and just let her guide me as to when it was time to move on to the next lessons and everything went so easy – just as the book says! Thank you! I also think it has helped with her writing and spelling. I would get one of those books with the empty page on top and the lines to write on the bottom, and she would copy just a sentence at first from the story and later more sentences and then draw a picture about her sentences. She could use your pictures if she wanted to draw them, but usually she liked making her own or using what you drew but adding things to it to make it her own picture. Thanks so much, she has enjoyed it very much!! I would encourage everyone to use this book!
TLC

Dear Valerie,
Hi there! I have a second child who is just about to graduate from Reading Made Easy, and it has been wonderful! I’m wondering if you still send out a little booklet called “The Picnic Ants” for those who have finished the book? I know my son would love to receive a copy if you still do this. Thank you for your time–and a wonderful reading program!
Crystal R.

Hi Valerie,
Thank you so much for offering to send us “The Picnic Ants.” Mikey will love it! I just have to tell you how impressed my mother is with Reading Made Easy. She taught public school for 30 years and was a little skeptical when she looked at Reading Made Easy when we started. But now she is a big believer in it. She is thrilled that Mikey is reading so well. I can’t wait to get started with Sarah, but she is only 3. We have a little while before we will start with her.
Again, thank you!!!!
Stacey Marsengill

Dear Valerie,
Thank you so much for writing Reading Made Easy. I found it on the Five in a Row website and hoped it would help us. My husband and I started homeschooling last September and got so frustrated with workbooks and having no idea how to teach reading that we sent her to public school. After going through many trials with behavior change, we pulled her out of school in January. My husband and I both have college degrees and numerous specialty training yet we felt lost when it came to teaching fundamentals. We have been teaching with your book for four weeks now and are seeing fruits from our labor. But the most important thing is that we are having so much FUN while learning SO MUCH!!!

Thank you; you are an answer to prayer.
Jon and Katie Engemann

Dear Valerie,
Hi! My name is Christina Lynn and I’m a homeschooling mom of 6 children. I have used Reading Made Easy with three of my children and have thoroughly enjoyed it. The children liked the story of Gideon and related well to it as Sarah, Hanna, and Joshua are three of our children’s names. When Hanna finished Reading Made Easy a few years ago you sent her a copy of a booklet to illustrate as her own “book”. She was thrilled to be able to do this. I don’t know if you still do this, but when I told my Sarah she asked me to “please check!” If you still do this could you please spare a copy for her and one for Christopher (he finished the program several months ago). Thank you so much for writing such a wonderful reading program. I’ll never forget the joy of teaching my children to read as we snuggled together on the sofa. We also use “Five in a Row” and love to read together. Your program fits our lifestyle so well. I’m looking forward to using it again with our 5 and 3 year olds. May God richly bless you and your family as you have blessed ours!
In Christ,
Christina

Thanks so much Valerie for your answer! I am new to home schooling and need all the help I can get from experienced homeschoolers and teachers. That was so nice of you to answer so thoroughly. I wasn’t aware of the suggestions listed at the back of the Reading Made Easy book. Because of my inexperience with teaching and lack of fluency with the English language (I lived in the Philippines for 7 years), I think I need to go with the traditional approach, but I will definitely follow your suggestions and now maybe use Learning Language Arts Through Literature more as a supplement or help. (As a follow up to Reading Made Easy.) I will check out the handbook you recommended. (www.TheWriteSource.com) Thanks again! By the way, I really love how Reading Made Easy makes it easy for me to teach my dd to read. She brings the book to me sometimes 2x a day (even after we’ve done our lesson for the day already) wanting me to sit with her and do more lessons. . I even hope to someday (in the distant future and if my husband’s health allows) teach Filipino children with the help of your book and Five in a Row.
Thanks again for all your wonderful help!!!
Melanie Kulig

Dear Valerie,
Moriah is on her last lesson of Reading Made Easy and she is reading beautifully!! I wanted to thank you for writing a superb phonics program that made teaching my daughter to read a breeze! Recently, Moriah surprised me by reading out loud 96 pages from her Pathway reader. She was so excited she didn’t want to stop until she finished the whole book!! Afterwards, I told her we would celebrate by going out to eat. She quickly ran to her bedroom to obtain money from her piggy bank insisting that she wanted to buy ME dinner. Why? Because I taught her how to read. It was a homeschooling highlight!!! May the Lord bless you for the part you played in it all!!
Warmly,
Marla Tomchuk

Hello,
I just wanted to share our exciting news: Lucas and I completed Reading Made Easy last week which means that all three of our boys have completed the program! I have to admit, I got a little teary-eyed as we concluded Gideon’s story for that final time. Each one of our boys is an excellent, voracious reader. My heartfelt thanks to Valerie Bendt and Jane Lambert (Five in a Row) for helping to instill such a great love for reading in each one of them.
Thanks to you two lovely ladies!
Love,
Nikki

Hi Valerie,
Thank you for your wonderful book. My daughter, Lauren, (who will be 5 in June) has completed Reading Made Easy and is a great reader now! She would love to receive the reader that I have seen mentioned on the FIAR boards. She has decided that it will be her job to use Reading Made Easy to teach her baby sister to read when her time comes!
Many thanks,
Dawn Chandler-Holtz

Hi,
We have had such a wonderful experience with Reading Made Easy. I was a 2nd grade teacher and have taught my share of reading and I feel like there are so many homeschooling resources that I wish I’d known about as a P.S. teacher. Reading Made Easy tops that list!! Reading Made Easy has made learning to read so easy for my daughter and has been fun!! It was not an overwhelming time investment for me and we were able to continue spending most of our reading times reading REAL books instead of worrying about lots of heavy instruction time. I am so thankful to Five in a Row and my friends that also teach Five in a Row for introducing me to Reading Made Easy. What a blessing! My daughter, Natalie is only 5 1/4 years old and is reading like a whiz. For the last portion of this book we only read each lesson once and blazed right through. It’s like once it “clicked” it all came so easily. It’s astounding! My husband and I are amazed daily and enjoy hearing her little voice read to us!
Thank you for Reading Made Easy!
Jennifer Davis

Valerie,
Eli finished Reading Made Easy yesterday! Yahoo! He’s doing great! Ethan sure got a lot out of Reading Made Easy too just by listening in. Ethan has struggled with reading, and I really think just sitting in on Eli’s lessons and doing some of the activities has really made a difference for him! I might add that for a brand-new homeschooling mom I appreciated the gentleness and pure ease of the lessons in Reading Made Easy. I was confident to teach what you planned in each lesson and could see the natural progression of lessons. Thanks Valerie!
Blessings,
Oney

Dear Valerie,
I am so pleased to announce that we have finally completed your book Reading Made Easy. I am so thrilled at my sons joy of reading, I just cannot thank you enough!
I have read your book Unit Studies Made Easy and have recently got our feet wet with our first unit study outside of Five in a Row. My boys are 4 and almost 7. I have to force myself not to do too much and just enjoy learning with them. I am a bit hesitant in the language arts area so I took your advise and purchased the red book for Learning Language Arts Through Literature. I trust that I can incorporate this easily into our unit studies.

I am truly inspired by what you have accomplished and by your approach to real learning.
I would so love to give my son your little reader “The Picnic Ants” if the offer is still available? He so loved the story of Gideon!
Thank you so very much,
HIS~
Kara

Hello,
I just wanted to tell you that last week my 7 yr old son finished Reading Made Easy. This is my second son to read through the whole book. We are satisfied customers. Thank you for writing it!
Sharon

Thank you so much Valerie!
Overall, we really have enjoyed Reading Made Easy. When I write out the cards at the end of the lesson, rather than marking them myself my son wanted to do that and then I check his markings. I guess that is one thing we do that is a little different. I don’t know if it is because I read to him a lot before we started RME, but he has not struggled at all with it and continues to amaze me with what he can read.
I appreciate your guidance on where to go next.
Thank you!
Kim Moss

Valerie,
My daughter Kara is 4 lessons from finishing RME! We have loved it so much!! She is reading so well and I am so proud of her!! I had heard on the FIAR boards once that you send a little Easy Reader that you have written to kids who have finished your program. Is this something you still do?

I would love something like that for my daughter if you do. Thank you so much for writing this program. I recommend it to everyone I know and can’t wait to start using it again with my preschool age daughter.
Thanks!
Amy Rabon

Dear Valerie,
My daughter and I are almost done using Reading Made Easy. She loves the stories and really enjoys making her own books. How do I continue after Reading Made Easy and do you have a hard copy of Gideon’s Gift?
Mom in Colorado

Dear Valerie,
Here is the photo from the FPEA conference of you and my daughter Elizabeth. It was very nice to meet you. Elizabeth and I enjoyed “Reading Made Easy” very much, especially the story of Gideon. Thank you writing your books!
Karen

Dear Valerie,
I just wanted to let know you a few things.
One is I have or am teaching all of my children to read using Reading Made Easy. One child just doesn’t pick a up a book and read even though she is constantly making up stories. She was the first one I taught to read using your book. I thought perhaps I would try something different, like the Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise, which is very phonetic and maybe that would make more of a reader out of my boys. Well both of my sons couldn’t stand it and they kept asking for your book back to learn to read. Even though they are twins, one has been just racing through it learning to read, the other is taking his time but doing well.

It is some of the best money I have ever spent and I bought a dented copy either from you or the Lambert’s over at Five in a Row. The boys clamor for sight word bingo and I had to play several games on Saturday. It has been very interesting to watch them go through this book. One loves the cards and making them into sentences and the other likes reading the stories.

Your Unit Studies Made Easy has been read several times by myself and is quite highlighted. I have enjoyed your writings so much. Thank you for all your hard work. Any new articles you have written lately?

My favorite quote is the one by your father or father in law, about homeschooling takes a “quiet determination.”
Christy in Michigan

Dear Valerie,
I have been using your Reading Made Easy program with my daughter. I started her in it in kindergarten and used it for some of 1st grade. At one point, I don’t remember when, I purchased a “cool” phonics program which was rather expensive and used it for a few months. However, neither my daughter nor I liked it at all, so we went back to your book. Now she is in 2nd grade and we are finally finishing the lessons. Since I didn’t do it straight through, I don’t know at what point it is intended to be completed. Is it a 2-year program?

I also have daughter in 1st grade and she has been doing the lessons since kindergarten but is only on lesson 80. Again, we have not done it as intended due to “life” interrupting the flow of our school days. There were several days at the end of last year and at the beginning of this semester in which we didn’t do reading lessons, only phonics workbooks (which they could do alone).

Anyway, my question for you is this: do you have a recommendation for what to do after your program is completed? I have so loved your approach to teaching reading and my girls have enjoyed the cute stories and pictures. I like that they begin to read so quickly at the beginning and that within just a few lessons they have so many words under their belt. Now that we are finished, I’m clueless as to how to continue when we begin 3rd grade next year. Also, my 1st grader will complete the book just after school begins next year.
I appreciate any advice you can offer. Thank you for your contribution to the education of my children.
Sincerely,
Vicki

Hi Valerie,
Just want to let you know how wonderful Reading Made Easy was for us. My son, now 6 yrs, started Reading Made Easy three years ago. He liked it at the beginning, but then lost interest with it. We left it for a few months but still reviewing the sight words occasionally. We found that when we went back to it, he has actually progressed. This went on for quite a few times, as you can see, it took us three years. I am proud to say that he has finally finished Reading Made Easy and is loving to read. Thank you very much for sharing your method with us,
Audrey

Dear Valerie,
Many months ago I contacted you about some of your books and let you know how much my daughter was enjoying Reading Made Easy. Well we were just about to the end back in May and didn’t follow up on what happened to Gideon when school ended and trips began. All summer long her reading has just taken off and her nose has been in a book the whole time! This is so exciting to see!! We began our school year yesterday and she insisted on finding out what happened to Gideon and his contest. Literally, she only needed to read the last lesson. In the end, she couldn’t wait for me and grabbed up the manual and read the full text to herself. I thought you might enjoy the encouragement of seeing her so drawn in to the story!

Today was my 5yo’s second day of RME. We were doing lesson number 2 with the aaa sound and I asked him for the examples of words that begin with the aaa sound. I’m practicing good wait time thinking for sure he’ll eventually come up with apple. His first choice? Aslan (we’ve been reading the Narnia series a lot lately) and his second choice was Asmodeus (the evil serpent from the Redwall series of books)! No apples for this guy!

The last time I contacted you, you asked me to let you know when my daughter completed the program. She is now officially finished! By the way, I often see people looking for more programmed material after RME. Since my daughter is reading fluently, I figure she is finished with formal instruction. My plan is to have her read like crazy and work on grammar and spelling. To me, phonics instruction provides the mechanics to begin reading fluently. Once a reader is fluent, phonics becomes obsolete. Is this what you have in mind for kids who complete the program with success?
Thanks again for a great program!
Heather Woodie

Hello Valerie,
I just wanted to take a second to tell you thank you so much for emailing these flashcards to me! I am printing them up today to start using with my daughter right away. I have been making my own flashcards for the words/sounds she has difficulty with, but these are *so* much nicer. Having them done in the same font and look as the words in Reading Made Easy is wonderful, and the pictures that go with the words are so cute.

I recommend RME to people all the time because I think it is one of the very best programs out there. I have used several different approaches/programs over the years with my kids, and what I like about RME is that it not only teaches my daughter to read, it also fosters a closer relationship between us as we work together on the program daily. I think perhaps that is because your program is gentle and fun for the child. She says reading is her favorite subject! We just move through the program at her pace, sometimes faster and sometimes slower. She is always excited when I tell her to get her reading book! (The Word Worms are a huge hit.)
Anyway, I am so happy to have flashcards now, and I wanted to tell you thank you very much. 🙂
Warmly,
Jennifer Strange